Mar

10

 Benjamin Peters (Old Hutch) Hutchinson was a legendary wheat speculator at the Board of Trade. At one time he was worth 10 million dollars. A few bad trades later, failed corners etc, he was forced to sell his seat for $900. A year before his debacle, he wrote a very compelling article describing the virtues and benefits of speculation.

Old Hutch's piece reminds me of the Chair's elegant "Speculator as a Hero" written for the WSJ back in the 80s. While the old man's article is a bit dated(1891), it's still a good appetizer for the elusive meal of a lifetime. Much more detail on the life of Hutchinson here. Beyond his personal biograph, some of this details the lot of old, broken down speculators. All in all, there is some excellent material here……One agrees with the Chair that most of the good works on markets and speculation were written over 100 years ago.

Old Hutch's 7 page article showed that he had a very clear grasp of the market. One wonders if hubris is what took him down. One can only speculate.


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  1. Michael C. Ng on March 13, 2017 1:17 pm

    Little do the general public know, banks and insurance companies, which are crucial to our lives, are in the speculation business. Each time the bank lend their money out, they are speculating that they could in aggregate make a positive return net of loan losses. Each time an insurance company collect premium, they are speculating that the payout event will only happened X percent of time. They make educated and statistically sound bet, and as a result, we are able to get mortgages and drive our cars in peace.

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