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Nail a trader

Late 19th century satire publication, Puck Magazine, ran a cover story in 1888 advocating retribution against the largest CBOT trader of the era, Benjamin “Old Hutch” Hutchinson, after he orchestrated a corner which helped squeeze the price of wheat from 90 cents a bushel to $1.60. The illustration is pretty much a libertarian nightmare of state sponsored theft and redistribution of private property which was lawfully earned.

Written below the caricature of Old Hutch with his ear nailed against a door is written: “A Hint from Our Ancestors. They Nailed the Wheat Cornerers of the Middle Ages to the City Hall Door, and Distributed their Spoils Among the People.”

I could not find particular examples of speculators being punished through cropping (the official name for the punishment) although Victor Niederhoffer wrote in his excellent essay, The Speculator As Hero, of severe punishment of those who violated price controls during the siege or Antwerp in 1585. If anyone can find an example of speculators actually getting nailed by their ears, leave it in the comments and I’ll include it in the post.

It’s hard to watch but youtube has videos of people willingly getting their ears nailed to a post such as this one (click here). Medieval punishment techniques are an internet rabbit hole that’s tough to go down because apparently it wasn’t just a singular punishment like cropping, other brutal techniques were often combined to maximize the pain.

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