It turns out that the burgeoning regional and overseas trade also drove Pre-Industrial innovations in the growing towns—especially after 1500 when stretched from Asia to the Americas. Clearly, a financial revolution preceded the Industrial Revolution. In Amsterdam, in the early 1600s, the Dutch invented the first joint stock company (Ferguson 130-133). The Dutch East India Company held a monopoly on the trade of cloves, mace, and nutmeg from the “spice islands” in Southeast Asia (today known as Indonesia). It was the first company to be financed by selling stock to the public, making stockholders partial owners. In a special new marketplace, stockholders could also sell their investment to somebody else. This Dutch “stock market,” the first in the world, further emboldened and empowered big companies willing to take risks to trade overseas.


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