Market Manipulations: Crises, Bubbles, Robber Barons, and Corporate Saints

BUSENV 1706 - fall 

Wild (but true) business tales  

Discover how business ethics shape our society

As gunshots ring out across the factory grounds, the financier who gave the call to fire sits in his office, calmly smoking a cigar ... 

What exactly happens when you try to game the economy for your own gain? Meet the businenessmen who have used their 'savvy' change to the world — for better and far worse. Chase these scandalous villains and visionaries across history, through dramatic stories of exploitation, warfare on workers, backroom deals, and more. 

You will get to: 

  • Unveil startling corruption behind some of history’s most famous “smart businessmen” (including the namesakes of several Pittsburgh streets and landmarks.)
  • Visit Carrie Furnace National Heritage Area and the site of one of the most violent disputes in U.S. labor history, the Battle of Homestead.
  • Analyze economic patterns from disasters past, and compare them to today: How much has changed? What could we change? ... And should we be worried? 

Open to all majors. An open course from the College of Business.
Take this course if you: want to understand how and why capital drives (and controls) decisions in our society.    


I had no idea of the important role J.P. Morgan played in saving the U.S. economy—twice. We learned about these outrageous scams and exploits in American history in the economic market, and what we can generalize about the effects.

—Sam R., who took the course

Students hear about the historic working conditions at Carrie Furnace National Heritage Area.