Lords of Finance

Lords of Finance

The Bankers Who Broke the World

Downloadable Audiobook - 2009
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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 the economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades.In Lords of Finance, we meet the neurotic and enigmatic Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, the xenophobic and suspicious Émile Moreau of the Banque de France, the arrogant yet brilliant Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, and Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, whose façade of energy and drive masked a deeply wounded and overburdened man. After the First World War, these central bankers attempted to reconstruct the world of international finance. Despite their differences, they were united by a common fear---that the greatest threat to capitalism was inflation---and by a common vision that the solution was to turn back the clock and return the world to the gold standard.For a brief period in the mid-1920s, they appeared to have succeeded. The world's currencies were stabilized, and capital began flowing freely across the globe. But beneath the veneer of boomtown prosperity, cracks started to appear in the financial system. The gold standard that all had believed would provide an umbrella of stability proved to be a straitjacket, and the world economy began that terrible downward spiral known as the Great Depression.As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, the Great Depression and the year 1929 remain the benchmark for true financial mayhem. Offering a new understanding of the global nature of financial crises, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, of their fallibility, and of the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong.
Publisher: Old Saybrook : Tantor Media, 2009
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781400191796
Branch Call Number: OverDrive Audiobook
Characteristics: 1 sound file : digital
Additional Contributors: Hoye, Stephen
OverDrive, Inc

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StarGladiator
Nov 23, 2013

"In this historical study, Ahamed, a professional money manager, sums up the causes of the Great Depression as a series of economic policy blunders that could have been avoided." No, Andrew Mellon, US Treasury secretary for three consecutive administrations, set in motion certain policies which would benefit the uber rich, to the detriment of working people and the poor in America. Add to this the securitization ( in this case transforming debt into stocks, instead of securities as they do in today's meltdown), coupled with tax cuts in the form of Prohibition (no longer able to tax alcoholic beveriges, which severely hampered revenues) and you have economic chaos. Yes, the author is correct on some of the complements on Keynes, but his reframing of financial history is unacceptable. The Federal Reserve (created by the legislation of 1913) acted back then, as it does today, only on behalf of the banksters. Mellon's oil companies reaped great profits from the oil depletion allowance (also instituted in 1913), for many years earning more from that than profits from their operations.

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