Monday, November 23, 2020

If a Four-Day Week is Good Enough for a Trust Company . . .

 The five-day work week is a modern construct. Back in 1871, when The New York Stock Exchange started continuous trading, the floor was open Monday through Saturday. Six years later the Saturday trading season was cut to mornings only, but Saturday morning trading persisted until 1952. 

If the six-day work week could evolve to five days, why not four? A New Zealand trust company has tried the idea – work four days, get paid for five – and the experiment went so well that the change has become permanent.

Now the consequences of Covid 19 have proponents of the four-day week hoping for a large-scale breakthrough

Could it happen? Plenty of employers seem to embrace the idea, at least until they learn they're not supposed to pay 20 percent less for 20 percent less work time. Four days work, five days pay!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

When a Trust Could Set You Free

The fall issue of "Financial History,” published by the Museum of American Finance, includes an article on the free black businesspeople of antebellum New Orleans and Charleston. 

After the American Revolution, the number of free blacks in Charleston grew. By 1820 some whites found the trend disturbing. "As a result…the state legislature passed a law prohibiting immigration and outlawing manumission. Those slaveholders still wishing to free their slaves would have to adopt more sophisticated, legally intricate estate planning devices in hopes of circumventing the 1820 law."
One universal approach adopted by many owners involved the establishment of a “trusteeship” with the creator of the trust acting as the beneficiary. The beneficiaries could then exercise emancipation rights whenever they chose. William Ellison, a free mulatto and cotton gin manufacturer with family in Charleston, “purchased” his daughter Maria in this manner in 1830. After technically purchasing her, he immediately vested her ownership in trust by “selling” her for “one cent” to Col. McCreight. The trust stipulated that though owned by McCreight, he was to allow her to reside with the Ellison family. Under the trust, William Ellison could emancipate at any time; upon his death, the agreement required that McCreight “secure her emancipation as soon as possible here or in another state.”