The impact of capital markets on every aspect of business and daily life at the dawn of the 21st century - and how those markets have evolved since antiquity - is explored in this illustrated volume. A chronological narrative explains the origins of market economies in the ancient world, tracing the evolution of markets from the Greek agora and medieval fairs to the first joint stock companies, and detailing the rise of today's commodity and financial markets. Accompanying this text are 17 highly visual features; each is devoted to a type of market transaction, from cash on the barrelhead to the most sophisticated speculation in derivatives. These features take the reader from the world of bartering to those of the commodity trader, government finance, and business investments in industries ranging from transportation to entertainment, aerospace, and the Internet. The illustrations emphasize the financial market's practical and profound effects on businesses' and workers' production of goods and services. Also included are 100 biographies of men and women who have reshaped the international marketplace, from John Jacob Astor to Victoria Claflin Woodhall.