Tue Sep 18, 2012, 02:15 PM
dixiegrrrrl (33,981 posts)
Fun read: Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
very readable, not a dry econ tome in the slightest.
I happen to like history, biography and economics topics, this has it all in one book.
You get a bit of social history, financial history, biographies, all in context of the Depression.
Cold comfort to recognize how our current mess is much like the mess our grandparents and great-grandparents went thru.
About events leading up to and culminating in the Great Depression as told through the personal histories of the heads of the Central Banks of the world's four major economies at the time:
Benjamin Strong Jr. of the New York Federal Reserve,
Montagu Norman of the Bank of England,
Émile Moreau of the Banque de France,
and Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank.
The book won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for History.
Here are the first 3 paragraphs from the introduction to give a flavor of how it reads:
ON AUGUST 15, 1931, the following press statement was issued: “The Governor of the Bank of England has been indisposed as a result of the exceptional strain to which he has been subjected in recent months. Acting on medical advice he has abandoned all work and has gone abroad for rest and change.” The governor was Montagu Collet Norman, D.S.O.—having repeatedly turned down a title, he was not, as so many people assumed, Sir Montagu Norman or Lord Norman. Nevertheless, he did take great pride in that D.S.O after his name—the Distinguished Service Order, the second highest decoration for bravery by a military officer.
Norman was generally wary of the press and was infamous for the lengths to which he would go to escape prying reporters—traveling under a false identity; skipping off trains; even once, slipping over the side of an ocean vessel by way of a rope ladder in rough seas. On this occasion, however, as he prepared to board the liner Duchess of York for Canada, he was unusually forthcoming. With that talent for understatement that came so naturally to his class and country, he declared to the reporters gathered at dockside, “I feel I want a rest because I have had a very hard time lately. I have not been quite as well as I would like and I think a trip on this fine boat will do me good.”
The fragility of his mental constitution had long been an open secret within financial circles. Few members of the public knew the real truth—that for the last two weeks, as the world financial crisis had reached a crescendo and the European banking system teetered on the edge of collapse, the governor had been incapacitated by a nervous breakdown, brought on by extreme stress. The Bank press release, carried in newspapers from San Francisco to Shanghai, therefore came as a great shock to investors everywhere.
if you are feeling disillusioned, perhaps you need to ask why you had illusions in the first place
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