Morals and Markets

Author: Viviana A. Rotman Zelizer
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231545428
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Life insurance—the promise of an insurer to pay a sum upon a person's death in exchange for a regular premium—is a bizarre enterprise. How can we monetize human life? Should we? What statistics do we use, what assumptions do we make, and what behavioral factors do we consider? First published in 1979, Morals and Markets Is a pathbreaking study exploring the development of life insurance in the United States. Viviana A. Rotman Zelizer combines economic history and a sociological perspective to advance a novel interpretation of the life insurance industry. The book pioneered a cultural approach to the analysis of morally controversial markets. Zelizer begins in the mid-nineteenth century with the rise of the life insurance industry, a contentious chapter in the history of American business. Life insurance was stigmatized at first, denounced in newspapers and condemned by religious leaders as an immoral and sacrilegious gamble on human life. Over time, the business became a widely praised arrangement to secure a family's future. How did life insurance overcome cultural barriers? As Zelizer shows, the evolution of the industry in the United States matched evolving attitudes toward death, money, family relations, property, and personal legacy.

Regulated Lives

Author: Timothy L. Alborn
ISBN: 9781442639966
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Regulated Lives explores the British life insurance industry's changing assessments of the values and risks of human life between 1800 and 1914. Timothy Alborn's unique study uses insurance practices to demonstrate how Victorian ideas about the lived experience altered both to accommodate and resist elements of modernity such as statistical thinking, medicalization, and capitalist bureaucracy. The nature of Victorian life insurance companies meant that their customers were both consuming subjects and objectified abstractions. Policyholders were active consumers of a product as well as passive objects which were evaluated for 'risk' in the objective and homogenizing terms determined by the industry. By examining how salesmen, actuaries, and doctors utilized their differing conceptions of what the various aspects of people's lives meant, Regulated Lives suggests that the very complexity of modern commercial and social institutions produces space where individuality can flourish.

The Development of International Insurance

Author: Robin Pearson
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 131732353X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Despite their economic and social importance, there are relatively few book-length studies of national insurance industries. This collection of nine essays by a group of international experts redresses this balance; providing an extensive geographical and thematic spread, linked via an extensive introduction.

A Financial History of the United States From Christopher Columbus to the Robber Barons 1492 1900

Author: Jerry W. Markham
Publisher: M.E. Sharpe
ISBN: 9780765607300
Format: PDF
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The first comprehensive financial history of the United States in more than thirty years. Accessible to undergraduate level readers, it focuses on the growth and expansion of banking, securities, and insurance from the colonial period right up to the incredible growth of the stock market during the 1990s and the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. The author traces the origins of American finance to the older societies of Europe and Northern Africa, and shows how English merchants transferred their financial systems to America. He explains how financial matters dominated the founding and development of the colonies, and how financial concerns incited the Revolution. And he shows how the Civil War began the transformation of America from a small economy largely dependent on foreign capital into a complex capitalist society. From the Civil War, the nation's financial history breaks down into periods of frenzied speculation, quiet growth, periodic panics, and furious periods of expansion, right up through the incredible growth of the stock market during the 1990s.