THE MERC: The Emergence of a Global Financial Powerhouse by Robert A. Tamarkin

THE MERC: The Emergence of a Global Financial Powerhouse

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A truncated history of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which reads more like jottings from a house organ than a presumably objective journalist's reportage on a consequential outpost of laissez-faire capitalism. Tamarkin (The New Gatsbys, 1985) tracks the CME only from it 19th-century roots as a midwestern egg mart through 1969, the golden anniversary of the essentially self-regulated institution's reorganization as a futures market. The foreshortened time frame leaves a lot of significant ground uncovered--most notably, perhaps, the development of foreign-currency contracts during the early 1970's and ongoing FBI enforcement actions that may or may not have put paid to double-dealing in the pits at the Chicago Board of Trade as well as at the Merc. Nor does the author offer any particularly illuminating perspectives on the vital role played by commodity and financial futures in the domestic, let alone the global, economy. In fact, his frequently fawning account of the CME's origins and first 50 years as an arena for commercial hedgers and venturesome speculators amounts to little more than a family album in which forgotten knaves are as fondly and foolishly remembered as hitherto unheralded princes and their lightweight aides. Remarkable mainly for its consistently graceless style, the text includes over 30 pages of photographs--not seen.

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 1992
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: HarperBusiness