On needs, wants, and Black Friday

Black Friday wasn’t always about rampant consumerism

Another year, another Black Friday, come and gone. There didn’t seem to be too many viral Black Friday videos, but I’m sure some will surface. Nice.

The first Black Friday in the U.S. had nothing to do with shopping, but did share the greed. On September 24, 1869, the price of gold plummeted after the Federal Government caught wind of a plot to corner the market on the New York Gold Exchange by speculators Jay Gould and James Fisk.

black_friday_1869
Photograph of the Bulletin Board in the Gold Room at N.Y. Sept. 24, 1869

 

Gould and Fisk sought to profit from the Federal Government’s issuance of fiat dollars (the U.S. was on the gold standard, fiat dollars were not backed by gold) to finance Reconstruction after the Civil War. The general consensus was that the government would later redeem the fiat dollars with gold. Read more ruminating