Lords Of Finance

Author: Liaquat Ahamed
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1440697965
Size: 35.47 MB
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Lords Of Finance from the Author: Liaquat Ahamed. 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

Author: Liaquat Ahamed
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781594201820
Size: 29.64 MB
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Lords Of Finance from the Author: Liaquat Ahamed. 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.

Lords Of Finance

Author: Liaquat Ahamed
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0434015415
Size: 21.54 MB
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Lords Of Finance from the Author: Liaquat Ahamed. With a keen sense of history and compelling narrative skills, Liaquat Ahamed gives us a vivid and dramatic account of four men whose actions led to the world economic collapse of the late 1920s. Many of us presume that the Great Depression resulted from a confluence of inexorable forces beyond any one person's or government's control. In fact, as economist Liaquat Ahamed explains, it was decisions taken by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of the economic meltdown. Meet the neurotic and enigmatic Montagu Norman of the Bank of England; the xenophobic and suspicious Emile Moreau of the Banque de France; the arrogant yet brilliant Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank; and the dynamic Benjamin Strong of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. These men were as prominent then as Alan Greenspan and Hank Paulson are in our time. Lords of Financebrings a fresh perspective on the origins of financial crises and an arresting reminder that its individuals who lie at the heart of global catastrophe.

The Alchemists

Author: Neil Irwin
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101605804
Size: 75.53 MB
Format: PDF
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The Alchemists from the Author: Neil Irwin. 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.

Tower Of Basel

Author: Adam LeBor
Publisher: PublicAffairs
ISBN: 1610393813
Size: 34.21 MB
Format: PDF
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Tower Of Basel from the Author: Adam LeBor. Tower of Basel is the first investigative history of the world’s most secretive global financial institution. Based on extensive archival research in Switzerland, Britain, and the United States, and in-depth interviews with key decision-makers—including Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve; Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England; and former senior Bank for International Settlements managers and officials—Tower of Basel tells the inside story of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS): the central bankers’ own bank. Created by the governors of the Bank of England and the Reichsbank in 1930, and protected by an international treaty, the BIS and its assets are legally beyond the reach of any government or jurisdiction. The bank is untouchable. Swiss authorities have no jurisdiction over the bank or its premises. The BIS has just 140 customers but made tax-free profits of $1.17 billion in 2011–2012. Since its creation, the bank has been at the heart of global events but has often gone unnoticed. Under Thomas McKittrick, the bank’s American president from 1940–1946, the BIS was open for business throughout the Second World War. The BIS accepted looted Nazi gold, conducted foreign exchange deals for the Reichsbank, and was used by both the Allies and the Axis powers as a secret contact point to keep the channels of international finance open. After 1945 the BIS—still behind the scenes—for decades provided the necessary technical and administrative support for the trans-European currency project, from the first attempts to harmonize exchange rates in the late 1940s to the launch of the Euro in 2002. It now stands at the center of efforts to build a new global financial and regulatory architecture, once again proving that it has the power to shape the financial rules of our world. Yet despite its pivotal role in the financial and political history of the last century and during the economic current crisis, the BIS has remained largely unknown—until now.

America S Bank

Author: Roger Lowenstein
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101614129
Size: 63.97 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
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America S Bank from the Author: Roger Lowenstein. 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.

The Battle Of Bretton Woods

Author: Benn Steil
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691149097
Size: 18.31 MB
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The Battle Of Bretton Woods from the Author: Benn Steil. Reveals how the blueprint for the post-World War II economic order was actually drawn.

The Man Who Knew

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0698170016
Size: 59.82 MB
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The Man Who Knew from the Author: Sebastian Mallaby. 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.

The Match King

Author: Frank Partnoy
Publisher: Profile Books
ISBN: 1847651380
Size: 68.88 MB
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The Match King from the Author: Frank Partnoy. The story opens with the purchase of a 9mm Browning at a small Paris gun shop by a man named Ivar Kreuger. The next morning, the world's leading bankers nervously waited to ask Ivar about some forged Italian bonds. Hours later, his dead body was discovered and the largest financial empire of the era collapsed. This book traces Ivar's meteoric rise from the obscurity of provincial Sweden, to become a construction mogul and then a global business oligarch. Ivar acquired match monopolies throughout the world and usurped J. P. Morgan to become the leading lender to foreign governments. His financial innovations resonate today. A self made media figure, he discovered and promoted Greta Garbo but also advised politicians, including President Hoover. Was he a financial genius or merely a schemer? Did he really stage his own suicide? This book brings back to life one of the greatest swindlers of all times.

Volcker

Author: William L. Silber
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 1608193764
Size: 22.86 MB
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Volcker from the Author: William L. Silber. Over the course of nearly half a century, five American presidents-three Democrats and two Republicans-have relied on the financial acumen, and the integrity, of Paul A. Volcker. During his tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, when he battled the Great Inflation of the 1970s, Volcker did nothing less than restore the reputation of an American financial system on the verge of collapse. After the 2008 financial meltdown, the nation turned again to Volcker to restore trust in a shaky financial system: President Obama would name his centerpiece Wall Street regulation the Volcker Rule. Volcker's career demonstrated that a determined central banker can prevail over economic turmoil-so long as he can resist relentless political pressure. His resolve and independent thinking-sorely tested by Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan-laid the foundation for a generation of economic stability. Indeed, William L. Silber argues, it was only Volcker's toughness on monetary policy that "forced Reagan to be Reagan" and to rein in America's deficit. Noted scholar and finance expert Silber draws on hours of candid personal interviews and complete access to Volcker's personal papers to render dramatic behind-the-scenes accounts from Volcker's career at the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve: secret negotiations with European ministers; confrontations with the White House; crisis conferences with Wall Street titans, and even tense boardroom rebellions within the Fed itself. Filled with frank commentary from Volcker himself-including why he was personally irked with the "Volcker Rule" label-this will be the definitive account of Volcker's indispensable role in American economic history.