Wall Street has been many things in its day. It began as the northern defensive perimeter of a wilderness trading post, at a time when money was limited to gold and silver, and wealth was enjoyed by few. Today, it is a metaphor for the global financial market, as wealth has spread far and wide. Yet Wall Street itself continues to grow and evolve as the world's centre of financial power. How Wall Street, money and wealth reached today's extraordinary high is told in this book covering 350 years of history. And John Steele Gordon seeks answers to Adam Smith's question as to the purpose of all the toil and bustle .