The Triple Crisis Blog has given its regular bloggers a week off, but not before asking them for some recommendations on some of the best books of the last decade on finance, development, and the environment. Here are some on the financial crisis. Read the full entry to see why they chose their picks. Please comment and suggest your own favorites.
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us by John Quiggin
Capital Market Liberalization and Development by Jose Antonio Ocampo and Joseph Stiglitz
States and the Reemergence of Global Finance: From Bretton Woods to the 1990s by Eric Helleiner
Capital Rules: The Construction of Global Finance by Rawi Abdelal
Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash by Charles Morris
Free Fall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy by Joseph Stiglitz
Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed
False Profits: Recovering from the Bubble Economy by Dean Baker
Michael Lewis. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. W.W. Norton and Company, 2010.
“It is the best book on the crisis because it exposes the degree of financial chicanery that led to absurd wasteful speculation and the housing bubble. It was far more than long lens economists realized, or than the Fed did for that matter. Economists, however, seem too arrogant to bother with in-the-trenches reporting. They thus often oversimplify the crisis as a mere housing bubble or an abstract speculative bubble, perhaps based on income inequality.”
John Quiggin. Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us. Princeton University Press, 2010.
“A great book for students of economics or for anyone seeking to understand the ideological foundations of numerous powerful–though dangerous– ideas that continue to inspire misguided policymakers (such as the efficient markets hypothesis, general equilibrium, trickle down economics, privatization).”
Jose Antonio Ocampo and Joseph Stiglitz. Capital Market Liberalization and Development. Oxford University Press USA, 2008.
“Capital market liberalization has been a key battle in the debate on globalization for much of the previous two decades. Many developing countries, often at the behest of international financial institutions such as the IMF, opened their capital accounts and liberalized their domestic financial markets as part of the wave of liberalization that characterized the 1980s and 1990s and in doing so exposed their economies to increased risk and volatility. Now with even the IMF acknowledging the risks inherent in capital market liberalization, the central intellectual battle over the effects of capital market liberalization has for the most part ended. Though this new understanding of the consequences of capital market liberalization is reshaping many policy discussions among academics and international institutions, ideological and vested interests remain.”
Eric Helleiner. States and the Reemergence of Global Finance: From Bretton Woods to the 1990s. Cornell University Press, 1994.
Rawi Abdelal. Capital Rules: The Construction of Global Finance. Harvard University Press, 2009.
“Eric Helleiner gives the clearest historical account of how the world moved from restricted capital flows in the 1950s to open and integrated financial markets by the 1980s. He takes readers through the emergence of the “embedded liberal order,” the challenges it faced in the 1960s, and its denouement in the 1970s and 1980s. Combining economic and political analysis, Helleiner shows how the neoliberal order that has emerged is not a turnaway from the state but rather dependent on the state for its deployment and operation. Privatization, deregulation, and openness, he argues, mark less the withdrawal of the state than its redeployment in support of a pro-market position. Rawi Abdelal’s book builds upon Helleiner’s, explaining why the neoliberal order took the form it did. For Abdelal, what is most striking about the current open financial order is the number of rules it has. Far from seeing a “flat” world where economic forces run roughshod over powerless governments, Abdelal sees a rule-governed world where globalization has a French, not an American, accent. He argues that a group of French politicians operating within the “more state than market” institutions of the European Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the IMF constructed the rules for global capital, institutionalizing on a global level the types of practices usually associated with the state on sovereign and domestic levels.”
Charles Morris. Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash. PublicAffairs, 2008.
“Easily the best early analysis of the problems.”
Joseph Stiglitz. Free Fall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy. W. W. Norton & Company, 2010.
“Very valuable, with firm understandings of many aspects of the crisis, the bailout, and the downturn.”
Liaquat Ahamed. Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World. Penguin Press HC, 2009.
“A solid secondary-source history of financial errors since the 1920s that resonate today.”
Dean Baker. False Profits: Recovering from the Bubble Economy. PoliPoint Press, 2010.
“Published this year, and is one of the best on the financial crisis. Right on the money, concise and highly readable.”