Chapter

Gamblers, Fools, Victims, or Wizards? The British Investor in the Public Mind, 1850–1930

Ranald C. Michie

in Men, Women, and Money

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199593767
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728815 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199593767.003.0007
Gamblers, Fools, Victims, or Wizards? The British Investor in the Public Mind, 1850–1930

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This chapter explores differences in the way that individual investors were perceived in Britain from around the 1870s until the 1930s. In the late nineteenth century, widening investment opportunities attracted a growing number of individuals into share ownership. The increasing diversity of opportunities provided by the growing number of joint-stock companies was matched by the expansion in size and diversity of the investing public. Balancing the risks of investment with adequate protection of the individual was an ever present concern for governments and institutions. The financial press offered advice on how to invest whilst contemporary novels frequently included discussion about the risks and returns that individuals who ventured into the stock market faced. Individual investors were viewed as gamblers or financial wizards if investments succeeded or as fools or victims if they did not.

Keywords: share ownership; investors; financial press; novels; institutional regulation; risk; attitudes

Chapter.  14061 words. 

Subjects: Business History

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