Published on January 15, 2023
An article from Human Progress
While many major cities were left in ruins after World War II, New York gained new global prominence, even surpassing London’s central position in international financial markets. It soon became the home of Wall Street, the world’s largest and most influential stock exchange, and changed finance forever. Wall Street is often considered both the symbol and the geographic center of capitalism.
Today, New York City is the most populous city in the United States with more than 8 million people. And with more than 20 million people, the New York metropolitan area is one of the most densely populated megacities in the world.
In the American psyche, New York represents an opportunity. Ellis Island was a historic gateway for many immigrants to the country during the 19th century.e and XXe centuries, and New York remains a popular destination for immigrants to the United States. In fact, it is perhaps the most “linguistically diverse” city in the world, with hundreds of languages spoken within its territory.
New York has also traditionally been home to ambitious Americans of all faiths in writing, theater, business, fashion, media, investment banking, and more. is where they travel to make a name for themselves in various fields. Those who succeed often stay in the area. New York has more billionaire residents than any other city. The metropolis has many nicknames: the city that never sleeps, the Big Apple, Gotham, the capital of the world (popularized by the author. Charlotte’s WebEB White), the largest city in the world and around, just a city.
It is difficult to overestimate the cultural and economic importance of New York. The city is a popular tourist destination, home to the famous Statue of Liberty, the magnificent Empire State Building, the famous Broadway theater district, and the buzz of Times Square, home to the world-famous balloon release on New Year’s Eve. Thus, New York was named the most photographed city in the world. It is estimated that if the New York metropolitan area were a country, it would have the eighth largest economy in the world (a rank currently held by Italy). The city is also a research center, home to more than a hundred colleges and universities, including New York University, Columbia University, and Rockefeller University.
The geography of the city may have meant it to be a commercial center. Located on one of the world’s largest natural harbors, where New York stands today was a logical place for human settlement. The area was originally inhabited by the Lenape people and other Native American tribes. They used the natural waterways for fishing, trade, and warfare with neighboring tribes. The first European to visit the site was the Italian Giovanni da Verrazzano, who explored the region in 1524 in the service of the French. He christened the region “New Angoulême” in honor of the French king François Ier (called François). d’Angoulême before he ascended the throne of France) and went fast.
Then in 1609 came the English explorer Henry Hudson (the name of Hudson’s Bay). He left very quickly, but not before he saw a large number of beavers. Beaver skins were a valuable commodity. News of Hudson’s discovery spread quickly, prompting the Dutch to establish several fur trading posts in the area in the early 17th century.e century Among them was the colony located in present-day Manhattan, initiated by the Dutch West India Company in 1624. In 1626, the Dutch built Amsterdam Fort, which was to serve as the core of the city until the fort was demolished in 1790. The city was appropriately named New Amsterdam and served as the capital of the native Dutch colonies collectively called New Holland. Even today, several neighborhood names of Dutch origin survive, notably Harlem and Brooklyn (from Breukelen).
Although it ended in a Dutch victory, the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665–1667) saw the British take control of the city as part of a treaty. In return, the British gave Suriname, a small nutmeg-producing island in present-day Indonesia, and an area called Run to the Dutch. At the time, the Dutch seemed to be doing better than the British: nutmeg was highly prized and the island complex that included the Rune was popular in Europe, while New Amsterdam was relatively obscure. According to Australian historian Ian Burnet, “Few people would have believed that a small trading village on the island of Manhattan would become the modern metropolis of New York.”
After the exchange, New Amsterdam was quickly renamed New York after the title of Duke of York from the brother of the King of England. It was he who led the campaign to conquer the city during the war. The city grew rapidly. In 1700, the population of New York was about 5,000. At the time of American independence in 1776, New York had a population of about 25,000. In 1800, the city had a population of about 60,000. Boosted by immigration, it was over 3 million in 1900.
New York City gained central importance in the post-war period. The Germans never followed through on their plan to bomb it, thinking the operation was too costly. Thus, spared the protective expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, New York emerged from World War II not only unscathed, but prosperous and ready to dominate business and culture.
By the late 1940s, New York had become the world’s largest manufacturing center, with 40,000 factories, one million workers, and the world’s busiest port handling 150 million tons of cargo annually. New York suddenly became the city of choice for many major international companies, including Standard Oil, General Electric and IBM. The nickname “Headquarters City” was added to the collection of Metropolis nicknames. Even the newly formed United Nations had its headquarters in New York (built in 1947-1952).
In 1947, British writer JB Priestley recalled:
“Forty years ago, New York was an American city, but today’s glittering cosmopolis belongs to the world, if the world does not belong to it.”
The city inherited Paris’s role as the center of the art and fashion world. New York is a haven for foreign artists fleeing war-torn Europe, such as the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), and a creative hotbed for revolutionary American artists such as Jackson Pollock (1912-1956). The city’s musical influence also grew rapidly, from the influential performances of classical music by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall to bebop, a new form of music that was born in Harlem nightclubs and took the world by storm.
Above all, the city was at the center of post-war globalization. British writer Beverly Nichols described the state of the metropolis in 1948 as follows:
“We had a feeling that New York is a big international city where all corners of the world go. London used to be like that, but we’ve long forgotten that, Hispanos and Isotas [voitures de luxe d’Espagne et d’Italie, respectivement] it had slipped down Piccadilly so many years ago that tropical fruit glittered in Bond Street windows. Coming from this sort of London in America, New York once seemed merely American; not characteristic of the continent, perhaps, above all America. Now it was the center of the world. »
New York thus became the new internationalized financial capital of the world and home to the world’s two largest stock exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange and later National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ).
From its humble beginnings in 1792, when 24 brokers signed the Buttonwood Treaty, establishing a securities trading operation in the city, the New York Stock Exchange thrived in the face of adversity. The American Civil War (1861-1865) helped expand the financial district by promoting securities trading, and the stock exchange moved to 11 Wall Street in 1865. But that was World War II. is of unparalleled global importance.
Among the financial innovations of postwar New York were credit cards. In 1946, a banker named John Biggins came up with the idea of creating credit cards that could be used at various stores in Brooklyn, New York. Merchants could deposit receipts at Flatbush National Bank in Biggins, which then bill cardholders.
In 1989, an iconic bronze statue known as the Charging Bull or Wall Street Bull was erected. Financial circle Manhattan to represent capitalism and prosperity. (a pun on the term “bull market” referring to positive market trends).
As a symbol of capitalism, Wall Street became the target of the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street protest movement in 2011. Protesters were concerned about economic inequality, fearing that the prosperity created by the market system would not be widespread. In fact, Gordon Gekko types are not the only beneficiaries of the financial markets. Wall Street plays an indispensable role in everything from facilitating the retirement of ordinary Americans through 401(k) plans to funding promising innovations that expand the economic pie and raise living standards. As my former colleague and securities attorney Thaya Brook Knight puts it:
“Basically, that’s what Wall Street does: it makes sure that companies that do good things get the money they need to keep doing that work. Do you love your smartphone? Does it make your life easier? The company that makes this phone got the money with the help of Wall Street to develop the product and sell it in the store where you buy it. When a company wants to expand, produce new products, or improve old products, it needs money, often by selling stocks or bonds. This helps those businesses, the wider economy and consumers in general. »
New York City remains the world’s top financial center and the heart of the American financial industry, so much so that “Wall Street” has become shorthand for financial capitalism itself. Although many still consider Wall Street to be the financial center of the world, new technologies have made investing increasingly decentralized. Today, anyone can buy and sell stocks from the comfort of their own home using their smartphones and online forums. Play Wall Street can compete with traders literally Wall Street. However, anyone who shares in the economic benefits of the financial industry has New York City to thank for taking banking to new heights. This is rightfully our twenty-eighth Progress Center.
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