Lords of Finance

Lords of Finance Author Liaquat Ahamed
ISBN-10 9781440697968
Year 2009-01-22
Pages 576
Language en
Publisher Penguin
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Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize "A magisterial work...You can't help thinking about the economic crisis we're living through now." --The New York Times Book Review It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person's or government's control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions made by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of that economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades. As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, their fallibility, and the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Lords of Finance

Lords of Finance Author Liaquat Ahamed
ISBN-10 159420182X
Year 2009-01
Pages 564
Language en
Publisher Penguin
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Argues that the stock market crash of 1929 and subsequent Depression occurred as a result of poor decisions on the part of four central bankers who jointly attempted to reconstruct international finance by reinstating the gold standard.

The Alchemists

The Alchemists Author Neil Irwin
ISBN-10 9781101605806
Year 2013-04-04
Pages 448
Language en
Publisher Penguin
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When the first fissures became visible to the naked eye in August 2007, suddenly the most powerful men in the world were three men who were never elected to public office. They were the leaders of the world’s three most important central banks: Ben Bernanke of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Mervyn King of the Bank of England, and Jean-Claude Trichet of the European Central Bank. Over the next five years, they and their fellow central bankers deployed trillions of dollars, pounds and euros to contain the waves of panic that threatened to bring down the global financial system, moving on a scale and with a speed that had no precedent. Neil Irwin’s The Alchemists is a gripping account of the most intense exercise in economic crisis management we’ve ever seen, a poker game in which the stakes have run into the trillions of dollars. The book begins in, of all places, Stockholm, Sweden, in the seventeenth century, where central banking had its rocky birth, and then progresses through a brisk but dazzling tutorial on how the central banker came to exert such vast influence over our world, from its troubled beginnings to the Age of Greenspan, bringing the reader into the present with a marvelous handle on how these figures and institutions became what they are – the possessors of extraordinary power over our collective fate. What they chose to do with those powers is the heart of the story Irwin tells. Irwin covered the Fed and other central banks from the earliest days of the crisis for the Washington Post, enjoying privileged access to leading central bankers and people close to them. His account, based on reporting that took place in 27 cities in 11 countries, is the holistic, truly global story of the central bankers’ role in the world economy we have been missing. It is a landmark reckoning with central bankers and their power, with the great financial crisis of our time, and with the history of the relationship between capitalism and the state. Definitive, revelatory, and riveting, The Alchemists shows us where money comes from—and where it may well be going.

The Battle of Bretton Woods

The Battle of Bretton Woods Author Benn Steil
ISBN-10 9780691149097
Year 2013
Pages 449
Language en
Publisher Princeton University Press
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Reveals how the blueprint for the post-World War II economic order was actually drawn.

America s Bank

America s Bank Author Roger Lowenstein
ISBN-10 9781101614129
Year 2015-10-20
Pages 368
Language en
Publisher Penguin
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A tour de force of historical reportage, America’s Bank illuminates the tumultuous era and remarkable personalities that spurred the unlikely birth of America’s modern central bank, the Federal Reserve. Today, the Fed is the bedrock of the financial landscape, yet the fight to create it was so protracted and divisive that it seems a small miracle that it was ever established. For nearly a century, America, alone among developed nations, refused to consider any central or organizing agency in its financial system. Americans’ mistrust of big government and of big banks—a legacy of the country’s Jeffersonian, small-government traditions—was so widespread that modernizing reform was deemed impossible. Each bank was left to stand on its own, with no central reserve or lender of last resort. The real-world consequences of this chaotic and provincial system were frequent financial panics, bank runs, money shortages, and depressions. By the first decade of the twentieth century, it had become plain that the outmoded banking system was ill equipped to finance America’s burgeoning industry. But political will for reform was lacking. It took an economic meltdown, a high-level tour of Europe, and—improbably—a conspiratorial effort by vilified captains of Wall Street to overcome popular resistance. Finally, in 1913, Congress conceived a federalist and quintessentially American solution to the conflict that had divided bankers, farmers, populists, and ordinary Americans, and enacted the landmark Federal Reserve Act. Roger Lowenstein—acclaimed financial journalist and bestselling author of When Genius Failed and The End of Wall Street—tells the drama-laden story of how America created the Federal Reserve, thereby taking its first steps onto the world stage as a global financial power. America’s Bank showcases Lowenstein at his very finest: illuminating complex financial and political issues with striking clarity, infusing the debates of our past with all the gripping immediacy of today, and painting unforgettable portraits of Gilded Age bankers, presidents, and politicians. Lowenstein focuses on the four men at the heart of the struggle to create the Federal Reserve. These were Paul Warburg, a refined, German-born financier, recently relocated to New York, who was horrified by the primitive condition of America’s finances; Rhode Island’s Nelson W. Aldrich, the reigning power broker in the U.S. Senate and an archetypal Gilded Age legislator; Carter Glass, the ambitious, if then little-known, Virginia congressman who chaired the House Banking Committee at a crucial moment of political transition; and President Woodrow Wilson, the academician-turned-progressive-politician who forced Glass to reconcile his deep-seated differences with bankers and accept the principle (anathema to southern Democrats) of federal control. Weaving together a raucous era in American politics with a storied financial crisis and intrigue at the highest levels of Washington and Wall Street, Lowenstein brings the beginnings of one of the country’s most crucial institutions to vivid and unforgettable life. Readers of this gripping historical narrative will wonder whether they’re reading about one hundred years ago or the still-seething conflicts that mark our discussions of banking and politics today. From the Hardcover edition.

Animal Spirits

Animal Spirits Author George A. Akerlof
ISBN-10 9781400834723
Year 2010-02-01
Pages 264
Language en
Publisher Princeton University Press
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The global financial crisis has made it painfully clear that powerful psychological forces are imperiling the wealth of nations today. From blind faith in ever-rising housing prices to plummeting confidence in capital markets, "animal spirits" are driving financial events worldwide. In this book, acclaimed economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller challenge the economic wisdom that got us into this mess, and put forward a bold new vision that will transform economics and restore prosperity. Akerlof and Shiller reassert the necessity of an active government role in economic policymaking by recovering the idea of animal spirits, a term John Maynard Keynes used to describe the gloom and despondence that led to the Great Depression and the changing psychology that accompanied recovery. Like Keynes, Akerlof and Shiller know that managing these animal spirits requires the steady hand of government--simply allowing markets to work won't do it. In rebuilding the case for a more robust, behaviorally informed Keynesianism, they detail the most pervasive effects of animal spirits in contemporary economic life--such as confidence, fear, bad faith, corruption, a concern for fairness, and the stories we tell ourselves about our economic fortunes--and show how Reaganomics, Thatcherism, and the rational expectations revolution failed to account for them. Animal Spirits offers a road map for reversing the financial misfortunes besetting us today. Read it and learn how leaders can channel animal spirits--the powerful forces of human psychology that are afoot in the world economy today. In a new preface, they describe why our economic troubles may linger for some time--unless we are prepared to take further, decisive action.

The End of Alchemy

The End of Alchemy Author Mervyn King
ISBN-10 9781408706121
Year 2016-03-03
Pages 448
Language en
Publisher Hachette UK
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The past twenty years saw unprecedented growth and stability followed by the worst financial crisis the industrialised world has ever witnessed. In the space of little more than a year what had been seen as the age of wisdom was viewed as the age of foolishness. Almost overnight, belief turned into incredulity. Most accounts of the recent crisis focus on the symptoms and not the underlying causes of what went wrong. But those events, vivid though they remain in our memories, comprised only the latest in a long series of financial crises since our present system of commerce became the cornerstone of modern capitalism. Alchemy explains why, ultimately, this was and remains a crisis not of banking - even if we need to reform the banking system - nor of policy-making - even if mistakes were made - but of ideas. In this refreshing and vitally important book, former governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King - an actor in this drama - proposes revolutionary new concepts to answer the central question: are money and banking a form of Alchemy or are they the Achilles heel of a modern capitalist economy?

The Next Economic Disaster

The Next Economic Disaster Author Richard Vague
ISBN-10 0812247043
Year 2014-07-10
Pages 91
Language en
Publisher
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In this illuminating and provocative work, Richard Vague argues that the rapid expansion of private debt—rather than public spending—is what constrains economic growth and triggers economic calamities like the financial crisis of 2008.

The Art of Making Money

The Art of Making Money Author Jason Kersten
ISBN-10 9781101060162
Year 2009-06-11
Pages 304
Language en
Publisher Penguin
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Read Jason Kersten's posts on the Penguin Blog. The true story of a brilliant counterfeiter who "made" millions, outwitted the Secret Service, and was finally undone when he went in search of the one thing his forged money couldn't buy him: family. Art Williams spent his boyhood in a comfortable middle-class existence in 1970s Chicago, but his idyll was shattered when, in short order, his father abandoned the family, his bipolar mother lost her wits, and Williams found himself living in one of Chicago's worst housing projects. He took to crime almost immediately, starting with petty theft before graduating to robbing drug dealers. Eventually a man nicknamed "DaVinci" taught him the centuries-old art of counterfeiting. After a stint in jail, Williams emerged to discover that the Treasury Department had issued the most secure hundred-dollar bill ever created: the 1996 New Note. Williams spent months trying to defeat various security features before arriving at a bill so perfect that even law enforcement had difficulty distinguishing it from the real thing. Williams went on to print millions in counterfeit bills, selling them to criminal organizations and using them to fund cross-country spending sprees. Still unsatisfied, he went off in search of his long-lost father, setting in motion a chain of betrayals that would be his undoing. In The Art of Making Money, journalist Jason Kersten details how Williams painstakingly defeated the anti-forging features of the New Note, how Williams and his partner-in-crime wife converted fake bills into legitimate tender at shopping malls all over America, and how they stayed one step ahead of the Secret Service until trusting the wrong person brought them all down. A compulsively readable story of how having it all is never enough, The Art of Making Money is a stirring portrait of the rise and inevitable fall of a modern-day criminal mastermind. Watch a Video

The Man Who Knew

The Man Who Knew Author Sebastian Mallaby
ISBN-10 9780698170018
Year 2016-10-11
Pages 800
Language en
Publisher Penguin
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The definitive biography of the most important economic statesman of our time Sebastian Mallaby's magisterial biography of Alan Greenspan, the product of over five years of research based on untrammeled access to his subject and his closest professional and personal intimates, brings into vivid focus the mysterious point where the government and the economy meet. To understand Greenspan's story is to see the economic and political landscape of the last 30 years--and the presidency from Reagan to George W. Bush--in a whole new light. As the most influential economic statesman of his age, Greenspan spent a lifetime grappling with a momentous shift: the transformation of finance from the fixed and regulated system of the post-war era to the free-for-all of the past quarter century. The story of Greenspan is also the story of the making of modern finance, for good and for ill. Greenspan's life is a quintessential American success story: raised by a single mother in the Jewish émigré community of Washington Heights, he was a math prodigy who found a niche as a stats-crunching consultant. A master at explaining the economic weather to captains of industry, he translated that skill into advising Richard Nixon in his 1968 campaign. This led to a perch on the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and then to a dazzling array of business and government roles, from which the path to the Fed was relatively clear. A fire-breathing libertarian and disciple of Ayn Rand in his youth who once called the Fed's creation a historic mistake, Mallaby shows how Greenspan reinvented himself as a pragmatist once in power. In his analysis, and in his core mission of keeping inflation in check, he was a maestro indeed, and hailed as such. At his retirement in 2006, he was lauded as the age's necessary man, the veritable God in the machine, the global economy's avatar. His memoirs sold for record sums to publishers around the world. But then came 2008. Mallaby's story lands with both feet on the great crash which did so much to damage Alan Greenspan's reputation. Mallaby argues that the conventional wisdom is off base: Greenspan wasn't a naïve ideologue who believed greater regulation was unnecessary. He had pressed for greater regulation of some key areas of finance over the years, and had gotten nowhere. To argue that he didn't know the risks in irrational markets is to miss the point. He knew more than almost anyone; the question is why he didn't act, and whether anyone else could or would have. A close reading of Greenspan's life provides fascinating answers to these questions, answers whose lessons we would do well to heed. Because perhaps Mallaby's greatest lesson is that economic statesmanship, like political statesmanship, is the art of the possible. The Man Who Knew is a searching reckoning with what exactly comprised the art, and the possible, in the career of Alan Greenspan. From the Hardcover edition.

Fragile by Design

Fragile by Design Author Charles W. Calomiris
ISBN-10 9781400849925
Year 2014-02-23
Pages 584
Language en
Publisher Princeton University Press
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Why are banking systems unstable in so many countries—but not in others? The United States has had twelve systemic banking crises since 1840, while Canada has had none. The banking systems of Mexico and Brazil have not only been crisis prone but have provided miniscule amounts of credit to business enterprises and households. Analyzing the political and banking history of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil through several centuries, Fragile by Design demonstrates that chronic banking crises and scarce credit are not accidents. Calomiris and Haber combine political history and economics to examine how coalitions of politicians, bankers, and other interest groups form, why they endure, and how they generate policies that determine who gets to be a banker, who has access to credit, and who pays for bank bailouts and rescues. Fragile by Design is a revealing exploration of the ways that politics inevitably intrudes into bank regulation.

High Financier

High Financier Author Niall Ferguson
ISBN-10 9780141975849
Year 2012-10-25
Pages 576
Language en
Publisher Penguin UK
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In this groundbreaking biography, based on more than 10,000 hitherto unavailable letters and diary entries, Niall Ferguson returns to his roots as a financial historian to tell the story of the extraordinary Siegmund Warburg. A refugee from Hitler's Germany, Warburg rose to become the dominant figure in the post-war City of London and one of the architects of European financial integration. Seared by events in the 1930s, when the long-established Warburg bank was first almost destroyed by the Depression and then 'Aryanized' by the Nazis, Warburg was determined that his own bank would learn from the past and contribute to the economic recovery of Britain, the unity of Western Europe and the birth of globalization. Siegmund Warburg was a complex and ambivalent man, as much a psychologist, politician and actor-manager as a banker. In High Financier Niall Ferguson reveals Warburg's idiosyncracies but above all he recaptures the meticulous business methods and strict ethical code that set Warburg apart from the mere speculators and traders who inhabit today's financial world.

China Shakes The World

China Shakes The World Author James Kynge
ISBN-10 9780297856931
Year 2010-12-30
Pages 288
Language en
Publisher Hachette UK
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Authoritative and fully up-to-date account by leading China expert on China's economic rise and how it will affect the world The new China, the nation that in 25 years has changed beyond all recognition is becoming an industrial powerhouse for the world. James Kynge shows not only the extraordinary rise of the Chinese economy, but what the future holds as China begins to influence the world. On the eve of the British industrial revolution some 230 years ago, China accounted for one third of the global economy. In 1979, after 30 years of Communism, its economy contributed only two per cent to global GDP. Now it is back up to five per cent, and rising. Although China is already a palpable force in the world, its re-emergence is only just starting to be felt. Kynge shows China's weaknesses - its environmental pollution, its crisis in social trust, its weak financial system and the faltering institutions of its governments - which are poised to have disruptive effects on the world. The fall-out from any failure in China's rush to modernity or simply from a temporary economic crash in the Chinese economy would be felt around the world.

Hall of Mirrors

Hall of Mirrors Author Barry Eichengreen
ISBN-10 9780199392001
Year 2014-12-20
Pages 520
Language en
Publisher Oxford University Press, USA
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"A brilliantly conceived dual-track account of the two greatest economic crises of the last century and their consequences"--