One of my correspondents, Brett Christophers of Uppsala University, just asked me which books I’d read on the history of finance that had helped me think about the financial present in a new way. (He has a superb book out early next year, Banking Across Boundaries, about the role of banks in the economy over time, and the links between financialisation and globalisation. It will be an essential read for anyone wanting to understand the deeper roots of the financial crisis.)
Anyway, here is the list that came to mind replying to Brett’s email this morning. Other suggestions will be welcome.
Liaquat Ahmed’s Lords of Finance – the monetary policy debates of the 1930s, and a page-turner (really!)
This Time is Different, Reinhardt and Rogoff.
I have high hopes for Jonathan Levy’s Freaks of Fortune, about risk-taking in 19th century American capitalism
Niall Ferguson’s The Cash Nexus: Money and Politics in Modern History alongside David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years – a contrast between a conservative historian and a progressive anthropologist
Benjamin Friedman, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth – why growth enables democracy and liberty
Benjamin Roth The Great Depression: A Diary – a contemporary diary from the 1930s mid-west, and a vivid reminder of how long it will take to emerge from the present stagnation
Roger Backhouse and Bradley Bateman, Capitalist Revolutionary, the best modern revisiting of Keynes.
Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics by Daniel Stedman Jones, a political scientist traces the multi-decade project that enabled a particular ideological perspective to come to dominate public policy.