Historic Patriotism and Investing
People invest their money for a variety of reasons. If you’d ask my clients why they invest, a few responses would likely be “to make money”, “to retire” or “for my family’s future security”. Investments that allow investors to align their values with their wallets have grown in popularity with things like socially responsible or values-based investments. History is also laden with patriotism as a fundamental motive to position capital.
In the United States, patriotic investing can be traced all the way back to the Civil War Soldier Bonds of 1865, for both the Confederate States and the United States. In 1917, War Bonds were issued as “Liberty Bonds” by the US Government to help pay for World War I. The bombing of Pearl Harbor triggered a nationalistically devoted investing effort into war bonds to help finance World War II. Patriotic values were the socially responsible reason of those times for investing in the debt securities, as their rates of return were below market rate.
My own family, being Polish immigrants, invested in 1920 issue 20 Year Republic of Poland Bonds. These bonds appear to have been marketed to Polish American communities in the US at a time when Poland needed money. Loyalty and Polish patriotism appear to again have been the socially responsible motivation of the time. Unfortunately, Poland stopped making payments on the bonds in 1939 as evidenced by the coupons that are still attached to the bond itself, and the bond’s par was never redeemed.
Throughout time, people have invested their money for many reasons, including patriotism, by investing in one’s own country or country of heritage.
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