Book picks similar to
Web of Debt by Ellen Hodgson Brown
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
Niall Ferguson - 2007
Bread, cash, dosh, dough, loot, lucre, moolah, readies, the wherewithal: Call it what you like, it matters. To Christians, love of it is the root of all evil. To generals, it’s the sinews of war. To revolutionaries, it’s the chains of labor. But in The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson shows that finance is in fact the foundation of human progress. What’s more, he reveals financial history as the essential backstory behind all history. With the clarity and verve for which he is known, Ferguson elucidates key financial institutions and concepts by showing where they came from. What is money? What do banks do? What’s the difference between a stock and a bond? Why buy insurance or real estate? And what exactly does a hedge fund do? This is history for the present. Ferguson travels to post-Katrina New Orleans to ask why the free market can’t provide adequate protection against catastrophe. He delves into the origins of the subprime mortgage crisis.
The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor
David S. Landes - 1998
Landes's acclaimed, best-selling exploration of one of the most contentious and hotly debated questions of our time: Why do some nations achieve economic success while others remain mired in poverty? The answer, as Landes definitively illustrates, is a complex interplay of cultural mores and historical circumstance. Rich with anecdotal evidence, piercing analysis, and a truly astonishing range of erudition, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations is a "picture of enormous sweep and brilliant insight" (Kenneth Arrow) as well as one of the most audaciously ambitious works of history in decades.For the paperback edition, Landes has written a new epilogue, in which he takes account of Asian financial crisises and the international tension between overconfidence and reality.
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
Charles Mackay - 1841
This Harriman House edition includes Charles Mackay's account of the three infamous financial manias - John Law's Mississipi Scheme, the South Sea Bubble, and Tulipomania.Between the three of them, these historic episodes confirm that greed and fear have always been the driving forces of financial markets, and, furthermore, that being sensible and clever is no defence against the mesmeric allure of a popular craze with the wind behind it.In writing the history of the great financial manias, Charles Mackay proved himself a master chronicler of social as well as financial history. Blessed with a cast of characters that covered all the vices, gifted a passage of events which was inevitably heading for disaster, and with the benefit of hindsight, he produced a record that is at once a riveting thriller and absorbing historical document. A century and a half later, it is as vibrant and lurid as the day it was written.For modern-day investors, still reeling from the dotcom crash, the moral of the popular manias scarcely needs spelling out. When the next stock market bubble comes along, as it surely will, you are advised to recall the plight of some of the unfortunates on these pages, and avoid getting dragged under the wheels of the careering bandwagon yourself.
A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of '08 and the Descent Into Depression
Richard A. Posner - 2009
How could it have happened, especially after all that we've learned from the Great Depression? Why wasn't it anticipated so that remedial steps could be taken to avoid or mitigate it? What can be done to reverse a slide into a full-blown depression? Why have the responses to date of the government and the economics profession been so lackluster? Richard Posner presents a concise and non-technical examination of this mother of all financial disasters and of the, as yet, stumbling efforts to cope with it. No previous acquaintance on the part of the reader with macroeconomics or the theory of finance is presupposed. This is a book for intelligent generalists that will interest specialists as well.Among the facts and causes Posner identifies are: excess savingsflowing in from Asia and the reckless lowering of interest rates by theFederal Reserve Board; the relation between executive compensation, short-term profit goals, and risky lending; the housing bubble fuelled bylow interest rates, aggressive mortgage marketing, and loose regulations; the low savings rate of American people; and the highly leveraged balance sheets of large financial institutions.Posner analyzes the two basic remedial approaches to the crisis, which correspond to the two theories of the cause of the Great Depression: the monetarist--that the Federal Reserve Board allowed the money supply to shrink, thus failing to prevent a disastrous deflation--and the Keynesian--that the depression was the product of a credit binge in the 1920's, a stock-market crash, and the ensuing downward spiral in economic activity. Posner concludes that the pendulum swung too far and that our financial markets need to be more heavily regulated.Read Richard Posner's blog, and his latest article in The Atlantic.
This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly
Carmen M. Reinhart - 2009
Each time, the experts have chimed, "this time is different"--claiming that the old rules of valuation no longer apply and that the new situation bears little similarity to past disasters. With this breakthrough study, leading economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff definitively prove them wrong. Covering sixty-six countries across five continents, This Time Is Different presents a comprehensive look at the varieties of financial crises, and guides us through eight astonishing centuries of government defaults, banking panics, and inflationary spikes--from medieval currency debasements to today's subprime catastrophe. Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, leading economists whose work has been influential in the policy debate concerning the current financial crisis, provocatively argue that financial combustions are universal rites of passage for emerging and established market nations. The authors draw important lessons from history to show us how much--or how little--we have learned. Using clear, sharp analysis and comprehensive data, Reinhart and Rogoff document that financial fallouts occur in clusters and strike with surprisingly consistent frequency, duration, and ferocity. They examine the patterns of currency crashes, high and hyperinflation, and government defaults on international and domestic debts--as well as the cycles in housing and equity prices, capital flows, unemployment, and government revenues around these crises. While countries do weather their financial storms, Reinhart and Rogoff prove that short memories make it all too easy for crises to recur. An important book that will affect policy discussions for a long time to come, This Time Is Different exposes centuries of financial missteps.
Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises
Charles P. Kindleberger - 1978
Since its introduction in 1978, this book has charted and followed this volatile world of financial markets. Charles Kindleberger's brilliant, panoramic history revealed how financial crises follow a nature-like rhythm: they peak and purge, swell and storm. Now this newly revised and expanded Fourth Edition probes the most recent "natural disasters" of the markets--from the difficulties in East Asia and the repercussions of the Mexican crisis to the 1992 Sterling crisis. His sharply drawn history confronts a host of key questions. Charles P. Kindleberger (Boston, MA) was the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT for thirty-three years. He is a financial historian and prolific writer who has published over twenty-four books.
The Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Fail
Ray Dalio - 2021
A few years ago, renowned investor Ray Dalio began noticing a confluence of political and economic conditions he hadn’t encountered before in his fifty-year career. They included large debts and zero or near-zero interest rates in the world’s three major reserve currencies; significant wealth, political, and values divisions within countries; and emerging conflict between a rising world power (China) and the existing one (US). Seeking to explain the cause-effect relationships behind these conditions, he began a study of analogous historical times and discovered that such combinations of conditions were characteristic of periods of transition, such as the years between 1930 and 1945, in which wealth and power shifted in ways that reshaped the world order. Looking back across five hundred years of history and nine major empires—including the Dutch, the British, and the American—The Changing World Order puts into perspective the cycles and forces that have driven the successes and failures of all the world’s major countries throughout history. Dalio reveals the timeless and universal dynamics that were behind these shifts, while also offering practical principles for policymakers, business leaders, investors, and others operating in this environment.
SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes And Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
Steven D. Levitt - 2009
Now, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner return with SuperFreakonomics, and fans and newcomers alike will find that the freakquel is even bolder, funnier, and more surprising than the first.Four years in the making, SuperFreakonomics asks not only the tough questions, but the unexpected ones: What's more dangerous, driving drunk or walking drunk? Why is chemotherapy prescribed so often if it's so ineffective? Can a sex change boost your salary?SuperFreakonomics challenges the way we think all over again, exploring the hidden side of everything with such questions as:How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa?Why are doctors so bad at washing their hands?How much good do car seats do?What's the best way to catch a terrorist?Did TV cause a rise in crime?What do hurricanes, heart attacks, and highway deaths have in common?Are people hard-wired for altruism or selfishness?Can eating kangaroo save the planet?Which adds more value: a pimp or a Realtor?Levitt and Dubner mix smart thinking and great storytelling like no one else, whether investigating a solution to global warming or explaining why the price of oral sex has fallen so drastically. By examining how people respond to incentives, they show the world for what it really is – good, bad, ugly, and, in the final analysis, super freaky.Freakonomics has been imitated many times over – but only now, with SuperFreakonomics, has it met its match.
Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea
Mark Blyth - 2013
In contrast, they have advanced a policy of draconian budget cuts--austerity--to solve the financial crisis. We are told that we have all lived beyond our means and now need to tighten our belts. This view conveniently forgets where all that debt came from. Not from an orgy of government spending, but as the direct result of bailing out, recapitalizing, and adding liquidity to the broken banking system. Through these actions private debt was rechristened as government debt while those responsible for generating it walked away scot free, placing the blame on the state, and the burden on the taxpayer. That burden now takes the form of a global turn to austerity, the policy of reducing domestic wages and prices to restore competitiveness and balance the budget. The problem, according to political economist Mark Blyth, is that austerity is a very dangerous idea. First of all, it doesn't work. As the past four years and countless historical examples from the last 100 years show, while it makes sense for any one state to try and cut its way to growth, it simply cannot work when all states try it simultaneously: all we do is shrink the economy. In the worst case, austerity policies worsened the Great Depression and created the conditions for seizures of power by the forces responsible for the Second World War: the Nazis and the Japanese military establishment. As Blyth amply demonstrates, the arguments for austerity are tenuous and the evidence thin. Rather than expanding growth and opportunity, the repeated revival of this dead economic idea has almost always led to low growth along with increases in wealth and income inequality. Austerity demolishes the conventional wisdom, marshaling an army of facts to demand that we austerity for what it is, and what it costs us.
The Secrets Of The Federal Reserve
Eustace Clarence Mullins - 1952
government bank; it IS NOT controlled by Congress; it IS a privately owned Central Bank controlled by the elite financiers in their own interest. The Federal Reserve elite controls excessive interest rates, inflation, the printing of paper money, and have taken control of the depression of prosperity in the United States.
A Little History of Economics
Niall Kishtainy - 2017
This clear, accessible, and even humorous book is ideal for young readers new to economics and for all readers who seek a better understanding of the full sweep of economic history and ideas. Economic historian Niall Kishtainy organizes short, chronological chapters that center on big ideas and events. He recounts the contributions of key thinkers including Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, and others, while examining topics ranging from the invention of money and the rise of agrarianism to the Great Depression, entrepreneurship, environmental destruction, inequality, and behavioral economics. The result is a uniquely enjoyable volume that succeeds in illuminating the economic ideas and forces that shape our world.
Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet
Jeffrey D. Sachs - 2008
Sachs-one of the world's most respected economists and the author of The New York Times bestseller The End of Poverty- offers an urgent assessment of the environmental degradation, rapid population growth, and extreme poverty that threaten global peace and prosperity. Through crystalline examination of hard facts, Sachs predicts the cascade of crises that awaits this crowded planet-and presents a program of sustainable development and international cooperation that will correct this dangerous course. Few luminaries anywhere on the planet are as schooled in this daunting subject as Sachs, and this is the vital product of his experience and wisdom.
Economic Facts and Fallacies
Thomas Sowell - 2007
These include many beliefs widely disseminated in the media and by politicians, such as mistaken ideas about urban problems, income differences, male-female economic differences, as well as economics fallacies about academia, about race, and about Third World countries. One of the themes of Economic Facts and Fallacies is that fallacies are not simply crazy ideas but in fact have a certain plausibility that gives them their staying power-and makes careful examination of their flaws both necessary and important, as well as sometimes humorous. Written in the easy-to-follow style of the author's Basic Economics, this latest book is able to go into greater depth, with real world examples, on specific issues.
The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System
James Rickards - 2014
Deciding upon the best course to follow will require comprehending a minefield of risks, while poised at a crossroads, pondering the death of the dollar.”The international monetary system has collapsed three times in the past hundred years, in 1914, 1939, and 1971. Each collapse was followed by a period of tumult: war, civil unrest, or significant damage to the stability of the global economy. Now James Rickards, the acclaimed author of Currency Wars, shows why another collapse is rapidly approaching—and why this time, nothing less than the institution of money itself is at risk. The American dollar has been the global reserve currency since the end of the Second World War. If the dollar fails, the entire international monetary system will fail with it. No other currency has the deep, liquid pools of assets needed to do the job. Optimists have always said, in essence, that there’s nothing to worry about—that confidence in the dollar will never truly be shaken, no matter how high our national debt or how dysfunctional our government. But in the last few years, the risks have become too big to ignore. While Washington is gridlocked and unable to make progress on our long-term problems, our biggest economic competitors—China, Russia, and the oilproducing nations of the Middle East—are doing everything possible to end U.S. monetary hegemony. The potential results: Financial warfare. Deflation. Hyperinflation. Market collapse. Chaos. Rickards offers a bracing analysis of these and other threats to the dollar. The fundamental problem is that money and wealth have become more and more detached. Money is transitory and ephemeral, and it may soon be worthless if central bankers and politicians continue on their current path. But true wealth is permanent and tangible, and it has real value worldwide.The author shows how everyday citizens who save and invest have become guinea pigs in the central bankers’ laboratory. The world’s major financial players — national governments, big banks, multilateral institutions — will always muddle through by patching together new rules of the game. The real victims of the next crisis will be small investors who assumed that what worked for decades will keep working. Fortunately, it’s not too late to prepare for the coming death of money. Rickards explains the power of converting unreliable money into real wealth: gold, land, fine art, and other long-term stores of value. As he writes: “The coming collapse of the dollar and the international monetary system is entirely foreseeable... Only nations and individuals who make provision today will survive the maelstrom to come.”
The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World
Alan Greenspan - 2007
What would have once meant a crippling shock to the system was absorbed astonishingly quickly, partly due to the efforts of the then Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Alan Greenspan. The post 9/11 global economy is a new and turbulent system - vastly more flexible, resilient, open, self-directing, and fast-changing than it was even twenty years ago. The Age of Turbulence is an incomparable reckoning with the nature of this new world - how we got here, what we're living through, and what lies over the horizon, for good or ill, channelled through Greenspan's own experiences working in the command room of the global economy for longer and with greater effect than any other single living figure.