Robert Swift's Reading List | June 2020
Payback by Margaret Attwood
This is an excellent summary of non financial obligations or debts and why their forgiveness is so important. Not just financial debts but other obligations. Some of the most cohesive civilisations make it an imperative to forgive debts and to ‘move on’. Would we be in this financial mess with such a large number of potential fracture points if we could learn from the past?
Austerity – the History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Blythe.
Professor Blythe has the job I want. He is a Professor of International Political economy at Brown University in the USA. He has held a number of non academic jobs including being a bassist in a rock band and I believe, a cook in a Sottish restaurant, so his views have not been formed while confined to an ‘ivory tower’. Essentially very critical of policy in the last 20 years in which monetary policy has been the only tool used while fiscal policy has been forgotten. We have also argued that someone has to spend some money and those countries in fiscal surplus, with large current account surpluses should have stepped up. Even those countries with less than stellar balance sheets could have done a better job. Appalling USA infrastructure for example could have been ameliorated. What we have endured is monetary policy for rich people and the anger is only just beneath the surface. We are believers in the benefits of capitalism but what we have had in the last 20 years is not really capitalism? For more debate on this topic please do contact us!
Crashed by Adam Tooze
Whose fingerprints were on the 2008 GFC and what have we learned?
Keeping at it: the Quest for Sound Money and Good Government by Paul Volcker
Labelled as the instigator of monetarism in the 1980s which killed inflation and inflationary expectations, Paul Volcker’s stewardship of the Federal Reserve was much more than this. We have possibly forgotten what a democracy entails n terms of trade-offs but the requirements for public office demand not just ability, integrity, ethics and honesty. Enough said?
GDP: a Brief but Affectionate History by Diane Coyle
Think you know what GDP is? Think again? Think it has short term relevance to the stock market? Think again.
Millionaire by Janet Gleeson
The story of a Scottish economist who, on the run from England, persuaded the French in the late 17th Century to adopt his monetary ideas which ultimately bankrupted the French nobility, and caused France to mistakenly steer clear of the trade and financial boom in the 18th Century. The parallel with today is sobering?
Enjoy the reading!