A brilliant examination of the origins of our investors' democracy. Ott reveals how participation in financial markets became the embodiment of citizenship. Beautifully written and rigorously researched, she makes clear that our contemporary entanglement with finance is nothing new. (Stephen Mihm, author of A Nation of Counterfeiters)
An excellent and pathbreaking analysis of the struggle to find in "shareholder democracy" a remedy for the inequality and social and political discontent that has troubled American society since the industrial revolution began. (Steve Fraser, author of Every Man a Speculator)
Ott's stunning book provides much needed history to a modern America that takes mutual funds, 401ks, and stock options for granted. With imaginative research, sophisticated analysis, and engaging writing, Ott astutely reveals the benefits and costs of becoming a nation of stockholders. (Lizabeth Cohen, author of A Consumers' Republic)
Julia Ott has written an important book for our times, after a financial crisis has us wondering if our financial markets, in their current form, really promote individual wellbeing as they should. We have to learn from the past, and invent a new and better capitalism for the future. (Robert Shiller, author of Irrational Exuberance)
In the 21st century the savings of Americans are highly dependent on returns from stock- market investments that are buffeted by speculation and subject to manipulation by insiders. In this timely and outstanding book, Ott documents how Americans were initially lured into this dependence and provides key insights for understanding why. (William Lazonick, author of Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy?)
Ott’s account is superb, full of subtle insights and surprising interactions between state actors in desperate need of finance, financiers in desperate need of political legitimacy, and a wide range of private citizens and civil society actors--women’s groups, even labor unions--caught in between. (Jonathan Levy Public Culture 2011-11-22)
Julia Ott has written an informative and insightful study of a surprisingly neglected topic…This brief account cannot do justice to the rich texture of Ott’s argument, which contains a wealth of detail, impressive depth of research, and cogent analysis…Ott has done anyone interested in the history of finance a great service. (Maury Klein Business History Review 2012-10-01)
Julia C. Ott is Assistant Professor of History at The New School for Social Research.