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Confusion de confusiones: ethics and options on seventeenth-century stock exchange markets


The Spanish wording in the title is borrowed from a book by Joseph de la Vega published in Amsterdam in 1688. The book consists of a series of dialogues between a philosopher, a merchant and a shareholder, and is usually recognised as being one of the first analytical attempts to describe the different kinds of financial operations taking place in Amsterdam at the end of the seventeenth century. This paper tries to provide new textual evidence for a better understanding of the importance of Vega's book, both in the form of a detailed description of options and futures markets and as an appraisal of decision-making processes in a context of risk and uncertainty. It also considers some of the ethical implications of the individual strategies associated with the gambling and speculation activities taking place at that time on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Financial History Review.

Volume (Year): 9 (2002)
Issue (Month): 02 (October)
Pages: 109-123

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Handle: RePEc:cup:fihrev:v:9:y:2002:i:02:p:109-123_00
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