The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy

W. W. Norton & Company
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“Mervyn King may well have written the most important book to come out of the financial crisis. Agree or disagree, King’s visionary ideas deserve the attention of everyone from economics students to heads of state.” —Lawrence H. Summers

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.

The Industrial Revolution built the foundation of our modern capitalist age. Yet the flowering of technological innovations during that dynamic period relied on the widespread adoption of two much older ideas: the creation of paper money and the invention of banks that issued credit. We take these systems for granted today, yet at their core both ideas were revolutionary and almost magical. Common paper became as precious as gold, and risky long-term loans were transformed into safe short-term bank deposits. As King argues, this is financial alchemy—the creation of extraordinary financial powers that defy reality and common sense. Faith in these powers has led to huge benefits; the liquidity they create has fueled economic growth for two centuries now. However, they have also produced an unending string of economic disasters, from hyperinflations to banking collapses to the recent global recession and current stagnation.

How do we reconcile the potent strengths of these ideas with their inherent weaknesses? King draws on his unique experience to present fresh interpretations of these economic forces and to point the way forward for the global economy. His bold solutions cut through current overstuffed and needlessly complex legislation to provide a clear path to durable prosperity and the end of overreliance on the alchemy of our financial ancestors.

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About the author

Mervyn King served as the governor of the Bank of England from 2003 to 2013. He was appointed Baron King of Lothbury in 2013, a Knight of the Garter in 2014, and is currently a professor at both New York University and the London School of Economics.

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Additional Information

Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company
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Published on
Mar 21, 2016
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780393247039
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Banks & Banking
Business & Economics / Economic History
Business & Economics / Money & Monetary Policy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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In 1971, President Nixon imposed national price controls and took the United States off the gold standard, an extreme measure intended to end an ongoing currency war that had destroyed faith in the U.S. dollar. Today we are engaged in a new currency war, and this time the consequences will be far worse than those that confronted Nixon.

 

Currency wars are one of the most destructive and feared outcomes in international economics. At best, they offer the sorry spectacle of countries' stealing growth from their trading partners. At worst, they degenerate into sequential bouts of inflation, recession, retaliation, and sometimes actual violence. Left unchecked, the next currency war could lead to a crisis worse than the panic of 2008.

Currency wars have happened before-twice in the last century alone-and they always end badly. Time and again, paper currencies have collapsed, assets have been frozen, gold has been confiscated, and capital controls have been imposed. And the next crash is overdue. Recent headlines about the debasement of the dollar, bailouts in Greece and Ireland, and Chinese currency manipulation are all indicators of the growing conflict.

As James Rickards argues in Currency Wars, this is more than just a concern for economists and investors. The United States is facing serious threats to its national security, from clandestine gold purchases by China to the hidden agendas of sovereign wealth funds. Greater than any single threat is the very real danger of the collapse of the dollar itself.

Baffling to many observers is the rank failure of economists to foresee or prevent the economic catastrophes of recent years. Not only have their theories failed to prevent calamity, they are making the currency wars worse. The U. S. Federal Reserve has engaged in the greatest gamble in the history of finance, a sustained effort to stimulate the economy by printing money on a trillion-dollar scale. Its solutions present hidden new dangers while resolving none of the current dilemmas.

While the outcome of the new currency war is not yet certain, some version of the worst-case scenario is almost inevitable if U.S. and world economic leaders fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors. Rickards untangles the web of failed paradigms, wishful thinking, and arrogance driving current public policy and points the way toward a more informed and effective course of action.




From the Hardcover edition.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. The unbelievable true story of the man who built a billion-dollar online drug empire from his bedroom—and almost got away with it
 
In 2011, a twenty-six-year-old libertarian programmer named Ross Ulbricht launched the ultimate free market: the Silk Road, a clandestine Web site hosted on the Dark Web where anyone could trade anything—drugs, hacking software, forged passports, counterfeit cash, poisons—free of the government’s watchful eye.
 
It wasn’t long before the media got wind of the new Web site where anyone—not just teenagers and weed dealers but terrorists and black hat hackers—could buy and sell contraband detection-free. Spurred by a public outcry, the federal government launched an epic two-year manhunt for the site’s elusive proprietor, with no leads, no witnesses, and no clear jurisdiction. All the investigators knew was that whoever was running the site called himself the Dread Pirate Roberts.
 
The Silk Road quickly ballooned into $1.2 billion enterprise, and Ross embraced his new role as kingpin. He enlisted a loyal crew of allies in high and low places, all as addicted to the danger and thrill of running an illegal marketplace as their customers were to the heroin they sold. Through his network he got wind of the target on his back and took drastic steps to protect himself—including ordering a hit on a former employee. As Ross made plans to disappear forever, the Feds raced against the clock to catch a man they weren’t sure even existed, searching for a needle in the haystack of the global Internet.

Drawing on exclusive access to key players and two billion digital words and images Ross left behind, Vanity Fair correspondent and New York Times bestselling author Nick Bilton offers a tale filled with twists and turns, lucky breaks and unbelievable close calls. It’s a story of the boy next door’s ambition gone criminal, spurred on by the clash between the new world of libertarian-leaning, anonymous, decentralized Web advocates and the old world of government control, order, and the rule of law. Filled with unforgettable characters and capped by an astonishing climax, American Kingpin might be dismissed as too outrageous for fiction. But it’s all too real.
「經濟衰退停滯、市場失靈、全球性金融崩潰、民粹興起……

原來這些問題,都從你錢包裡的那張紙鈔開始。」


◆季辛吉、葛林斯潘、沃克爾、桑默斯……全球經濟、金融界領袖一致重量級推薦


「這本書很可能會拯救世界。」

——麥可.路易士(Michael Lewis),《魔球》、《大賣空》作者


「莫文.金恩的這本書,可能是關於金融危機最重要的一本著作。不論你是否同意書中觀點,金充滿遠見的觀點值得各方注意,從經濟系學生到國家元首都應該一讀。」

——勞倫斯.桑默斯(Lawrence H. Summers),著名經濟學家,美國前財政部長,哈佛前校長


劍橋大學榮譽學者、前英國央行行長及首席經濟學家莫文.金恩(Mervyn King)

深度剖析當代貨幣銀行體系的形成、運作方式與病灶

找出世界經濟失衡、長期停滯、金融風暴的成因及解方,為全球金融體系的未來尋找出路


▲全球金融與銀行體系總體檢


「我真心希望五十年後,我們的孫子不會質疑為何我們缺乏大刀闊斧推動改革以阻止危機再次發生的勇氣。」


過去的二十年,全球經濟先經歷了十年的穩定成長,改變了全球經濟與金融體系的面貌;爾後在二〇〇七至〇八年(第二個十年),遭遇了自一九三〇年大蕭條以來的全球金融與經濟危機和衰退,至今仍未完全恢復元氣。本書主要探討為什麼這樣的金融與銀行系統會遭遇危機和衰退?為什麼會對生產力與就業造成如此大的傷害?應該怎麼去預防它再次發生?並提出與檢視未來可能可以有的解決方案,嘗試為全球金融與銀行體系的健康找到方向與答案。


▲當撙節、量化寬鬆等貨幣政策都失效……深度解密金融為何大衰退、大停滯,以及如何解套


我們的金融體系已經出現問題。我們都感覺到,但莫文.金恩率先看出其中因果關係;他執掌英格蘭銀行的十年之間,經歷過金融危機的最高峰,這些經驗助他揭露資本主義社會的運作機制的深層真相。在這本《金融煉金術的終結》中,他提供了關於銀行產業的過去與未來,以及現代財政的關鍵解套之方。



出版社 臉譜 (城邦) 

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