|Joint Stock Company|
|Research Points Needed||240|
|Leads To||Limited Liability Company|
A joint stock company is owned and capitalised by many people, who can trade their stake in the company.
Joint stock companies allow a business to raise money quickly. The people who provide the money have shares in any subsequent profits and own the enterprise even if they do not manage it. They can sell their stake in the company as they see fit, for whatever price they can get, so creating a stock market. Shareholder investment reduces the construction cost of industrial and mining buildings, and boosts the growth of national wealth.
Historically, joint stock companies are the basis of a capitalist economic system, but have always had dire results for some investors. The easy profits to be made in trading stocks and shares encourage rampant speculation that may be entirely unconnected to the actual value of what is being traded. Stocks have also been “talked up” and sold unfairly by unscrupulous investors. The South Sea Bubble of 1711 in Britain and the Mississippi Company Bubble of 1721 in France both resulted from what would, today, be termed criminal insider dealing and insanely greedy speculation by too many eager “marks”. However, when used honestly, the stocks-and-shares system remains a fine way of raising capital to do business while compensating those whose money is at risk.
+10 town wealth to every region is a very large increase: most buildings, in comparison, only give a small increase to town wealth, and only to one specific region. Researching Joint Stock Company is particularly beneficial for factions controlling many regions.
The second benefit of Joint Stock Company (10% discount toward building industrial buildings) is of a more immediate nature, and arguably just as useful. Higher tier industrial buildings are extremely costly, so a 10% discount can easily save thousands of gold. The bonus applies to mines, manufactories, and gunsmiths.
Finally, research of Joint Stock Company allows Merchant Houses to be upgraded into Banking Houses, the third and final tier of commercial buildings. Such buildings provide a tremendous boost to town wealth of a region, and also generates a small boost to town wealth for every region, greatly helping improve a faction's finances in the long run.