The End of Alchemy
Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy
Reviewer: Andrew Sentance, Senior Economic Adviser, PwC
Something is wrong with our banking system. We all sense that, but Mervyn King knows it firsthand; his ten years at the helm of the Bank of England, including at the height of the financial crisis, revealed profound truths about the mechanisms of our capitalist society. In The End of Alchemy he offers us an essential work about the history and future of money and banking, the keys to modern finance.
Progress and Confusion
The State of Macroeconomic Policy
Reviewer: Vicky Pryce, Former Joint Head of the Government Economic Service
What will economic policy look like once the global financial crisis is finally over? Will it resume the pre-crisis consensus, or will it be forced to contend with a post-crisis "new normal"? Have we made progress in addressing these issues, or does confusion remain? In April of 2015, the International Monetary Fund gathered leading economists, both academics and policymakers, to address the shape of future macroeconomic policy. This book is the result, with prominent figures — including Ben Bernanke, Lawrence Summers, and Paul Volcker — offering essays that address topics that range from the measurement of systemic risk to foreign exchange intervention.
The Rise and Fall of American Growth
Reviewer: Ian Stewart, Chief Economist, Deloitte
In the century after the Civil War, an economic revolution improved the American standard of living in ways previously unimaginable. Electric lighting, indoor plumbing, home appliances, motor vehicles, air travel, air conditioning, and television transformed households and workplaces. With medical advances, life expectancy between 1870 and 1970 grew from forty-five to seventy-two years. Weaving together a vivid narrative, historical anecdotes, and economic analysis, The Rise and Fall of American Growth provides an in-depth account of this momentous era. But has that era of unprecedented growth come to an end?
Why Minsky Matters
An Introduction to the Work of a Maverick Economist
Reviewer: Ian Harwood, Independent Consultant
Perhaps no economist was more vindicated by the global financial crisis than Hyman P. Minsky (1919-96). Although a handful of economists raised alarms as early as 2000, Minsky's warnings began a half-century earlier, with writings that set out a compelling theory of financial instability. In Why Minsky Matters, L. Randall Wray shows that by understanding Minsky we will not only see the next crisis coming but we might be able to act quickly enough to prevent it.
The power and independence of the Federal Reserve
Reviewer: Bill Allen, Economic Consultant
The independence of the Federal Reserve is considered a cornerstone of its identity, crucial for keeping monetary policy decisions free of electoral politics. But do we really understand what is meant by "Federal Reserve independence"? Using scores of examples from the Fed's rich history, The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve shows that much common wisdom about the nation's central bank is inaccurate.
Lehman Brothers: A Crisis of Value
Reviewer: Rosemary Connell, Consultant
Using extensive documentary evidence and interviews with former Lehman employees, Oonagh McDonald reveals the decisions that led to Lehman's collapse, investigates why the government refused a bail-out and whether the implications of this refusal were fully understood. In clear and accessible language she demonstrates both the short and long term effects of Lehman's collapse.
The Silo Effect
Reviewer: Bronwyn Curtis OBE
In The Silo Effect, Gillian Tett uses an anthropological lens to explore how individuals, teams and whole organisations often work in silos of thought, process and product. With examples drawn from a range of fascinating areas - the New York Fire Department and Facebook to the Bank of England and Sony - these narratives illustrate not just how foolishly people can behave when they are mastered by silos but also how the brightest institutions and individuals can master them.
The Evolution of Everything
Reviewer: Bridget Rosewell, Volterra Partners
The New York Times bestselling author of The Rational Optimist and Genome returns with a fascinating argument for evolution that definitively dispels a dangerous, widespread myth: that we can command and control our world. Human society evolves. Change in technology, language, morality, and society is incremental, inexorable, gradual, and spontaneous.
The Price of Oil
Reviewer: David Humphreys, Principal, Daiecon Advisors
Drawing on their extensive knowledge of the oil industry, Roberto F. Aguilera and Marian Radetzki provide an in-depth examination of the price of the world's most important commodity. They argue that although oil has experienced an extraordinary price increase over the past few decades, we have now reached a turning point where scarcity, uncertain supply and high prices will be replaced by abundance, undisturbed availability and suppressed price levels.
How the Internet Became Commercial
Reviewer: Mark Cleary, Kinetic Economics
In less than a decade, the Internet went from being a series of loosely connected networks used by universities and the military to the powerful commercial engine it is today. This book describes how many of the key innovations that made this possible came from entrepreneurs and iconoclasts who were outside the mainstream—and how the commercialization of the Internet was by no means a foregone conclusion at its outset.