A Paper World: Before Finances Went Digital


A collection of financial papers gathered from the desk of a man who lived in the mid-twentieth century provides us with a unique entry point into understanding the history of banking. Paper made the democratization of banking possible in the twentieth century. Paper facilitated finances and provided security to those who worried about remembering transactions. Credits and debits are abstractions, but when put to paper they were more easily manageable as concrete items that could be passed around, bought, and sold like other commodities. This case study helps us to think about how something so simple, so mundane as paper was an essential invention that sparked further innovations in the banking and financial markets.

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