In 1920-1921, Woodrow Wilson and Warren G. Harding met a deep economic slump by seeming to ignore it, implementing policies that most twenty-first century economists would call backward. Confronted with plunging prices, wages, and employment, the government balanced the budget and, through the Federal Reserve, raised interest rates. No “stimulus” was administered, and a powerful, job-filled recovery was under way by late 1921. Yet by 1929, the economy spiraled downward as the Hoover administration adopted the policies that Wilson and Harding had declined to put in place.
In The Forgotten Depression, James Grant “makes a strong case against federal intervention during economic downturns” (Pittsburgh Tribune Review), arguing that the well-intended White House-led campaign to prop up industrial wages helped turn a bad recession into America’s worst depression. He offers examples like this, and many others, as important strategies we can learn from the earlier depression and apply today and to the future. This is a powerful response to the prevailing notion of how to fight recession, and “Mr. Grant’s history lesson is one that all lawmakers could take to heart” (Washington Times).
The last decades of the nineteenth century were a volatile era of rampantly corrupt politics. It was a time of both stupendous growth and financial panic, of land bubbles and passionate and sometimes violent populist protests. Votes were openly bought and sold in a Congress paralyzed by the abuse of the House filibuster by members who refused to respond to roll call even when present, depriving the body of a quorum. Reed put an end to this stalemate, empowered the Republicans, and changed the House of Representatives for all time.
The Speaker’s beliefs in majority rule were put to the test in 1898, when the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor set up a popular clamor for war against Spain. Reed resigned from Congress in protest.
A larger-than-life character, Reed checks every box of the ideal biographical subject. He is an important and significant figure. He changed forever the way the House of Representatives does its business. He was funny and irreverent. He is, in short, great company. “What I most admire about you, Theodore,” Reed once remarked to his earnest young protégé, Teddy Roosevelt, “is your original discovery of the Ten Commandments.”
After he resigned his seat, Reed practiced law in New York. He was successful. He also found a soul mate in the legendary Mark Twain. They admired one another’s mordant wit. Grant’s lively and erudite narrative of this tumultuous era—the raucous late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—is a gripping portrait of a United States poised to burst its bounds and of the men who were defining it.
The Marathas were a yeoman warrior group from the western Deccan that rose to prominence during the rule of the Adil Shahi dynasty and Ahmadnagar Sultanate. The empire was founded by Shivaji Bhosle, who formally crowned himself Chhatrapati ("Emperor") with Raigad as his capital in 1674, and successfully fought against the Mughal Empire. The Maratha Empire waged war for 27 years with the Mughals from 1681 to 1707, which became the longest war in the history of India. Shivaji, pioneered "Shiva sutra" or Ganimi Kava (guerrilla tactics), which leveraged strategic factors like demographics, speed, surprise and focused attack to defeat his bigger and more powerful enemies. After the death of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the empire expanded greatly under the rule of the Peshwas. The empire at its peak stretched from Tamil Nadu in the south, to Peshawar (modern-day Pakistan) on the Afghanistan border in the north, and Bengal and Andaman Islands in east. In 1761, the Maratha army lost the Third Battle of Panipat to Abdali’s Afghan Durrani Empire, which halted their imperial expansion. Ten years after Panipat, young Madhavrao Peshwa reinstated the Maratha authority over North India. In a bid to effectively manage the large empire, he gave semi-autonomy to the strongest of the knights, which created a confederacy of Maratha states. In 1775, the British East India Company intervened in a succession struggle in Pune, which became the First Anglo-Maratha War. Marathas remained the preeminent power in India until their defeat in the Second and Third Anglo-Maratha wars (1805–1818), which left the British East India Company in control of most of India.
Investors can prosper from small mistakes because they teach valuable lessons, but large mistakes (blunders) wipe out large amounts of capital and ruin lives. Blunders result in lost opportunities, children not going to college, or retirement being postponed or permanently abandoned. Severe losses can produce depression, failed marriages, and even suicide.
How do investors stumble into blunders? They are not prepared, and they are ill-informed. They invest in inappropriate investments, and their timing is bad. They listen to bad forecasts by economists, portfolio managers, CEOs, journalists, and security analysts. Just because an investment product exists does not mean it should be bought. Some investments like mortgage bonds and variable annuities are structurally flawed and too dangerous for average investors.
Blunders occur as a result of misleading statements by the media. They also occur due to scams. Investors are way too gullible and greedy. The investment landscape is treacherous, and it is important for investors to pay attention and employ healthy amounts of skepticism. Investors must employ less emotion and more reason. Investing is not a hobby!
There are many resources to guide investors on how to make money in investing, but there are few guides on how to avoid losing money. The information deficit in Avoiding Investment Blunders is significant. This book contains detailed guidance and occasional colorful examples of the author’s missteps and the mistakes of others.
Investment blunders are, therefore, financial disasters that must be avoided at all cost. Investment blunders usually only happen once per person per lifetime. This book will help ensure that blunders do not happen at all!
The British forces consisted of H. M. 27th, 58th, 78th, and 81st Regiments of the Line, the Provisional Light Infantry and Grenadier Battalions, the Corsican Rangers, Royal Sicilian Volunteers, and the Regiment of Sir Louis de Watteville, &c., the whole being commanded by Major-General Sir John Stuart, to whose personal staff I had the honour to be attached.
This small body of troops, which mustered in all only 4,795 rank and file, was destined by our ministry to support the Neapolitans, who in many places had taken up arms against the usurper, Joseph Buonaparte, and to assist in expelling from Italy the soldiers of his brother. Ferdinand, King of Naples, after being an abject vassal of Napoleon, had allowed a body of British and Russian soldiers to land on his territories without resistance. This expedition failed; he was deserted by the celebrated Cardinal Ruffo, who became a Buonapartist; and as the French emperor wanted a crown for his brother Joseph, he proclaimed that "the Neapolitan dynasty had ceased to reign"—that the race of Parma were no longer kings in Lower Italy—and in January 1806 his legions crossed the frontiers. The "lazzaroni king" fled instantly to Palermo; his spirited queen, Carolina (sister of the unfortunate Marie Antoinette), soon followed him; and the usurper, Joseph, after meeting with little or no resistance, was, in February, crowned king of Naples and Sicily, in the church of Sancto Januario, where Cardinal Ruffo of Scylla, performed solemn mass on the occasion. All Naples and its territories submitted to him, save the brave mountaineers of the Calabrias, who remained continually in arms, and with whom we were destined to co-operate.
When our anchors plunged into the shining sea, it was about the close of a beautiful evening—the hour of Ave Maria—and the lingering light of the Ausonian sun, setting in all his cloudless splendour, shed a crimson glow over the long line of rocky coast, burnishing the bright waves rolling on the sandy beach, and the wooded mountains of Calabria, the abode of the fiercest banditti in the world.