Economic History Books
This pocket-sized and fully illustrated book is packed full of information that will help you crack the world of money and understand the economic theories that have shaped the world and the way we all live.
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Providing accessible accounts of everything from how Keynesian models work to the ways in which inflation affects interest rates, this is a book for anyone who is interested in finance but needs a little guidance getting their head around the more complex side of it.
Among the global finance issues covered are recessions, economic forecasting and globalisation.
India is poised to become one of the world's three largest economies in the next generation and to overtake China as the world's most populous country by 2032. Well before then India's incipient nuclear deterrent will have acquired intercontinental range and air, sea and land capabilities. India's volatile relationship with its nuclear-armed neighbour, Pakistan, may prove to be the source of the world's next major conflict. And if you call anyone- from your bank to rail enquiries- your query may well be dealt with by a graduate in Gujarat. Any way one looks at it, India's fate matters. Edward Luce, one of the most incisive and talented journalists of his generation, assesses the forces that are forging the new nation. Cutting through the miasma that still clouds thinking about India, this extraordinarily accomplished book takes the measure of a society that is struggling to come to grips with modernity. Drawing on historical research, existing literature and his own unparalleled access as the New Delhi-based, South Asia correspondent of the FT, this is a book that will enthral as well as educate and will remain the definitive book on the country for many years.
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Why are some countries rich and others poor? In 1500, the income differences were small, but they have grown dramatically since Columbus reached America. Since then, the interplay between geography, globalization, technological change, and economic policy has determined the wealth and poverty of nations. The industrial revolution was Britain's path breaking response to the challenge of globalization. Western Europe and North America joined Britain to form a club of rich nations by pursuing four polices-creating a national market by abolishing internal tariffs and investing in transportation, erecting an external tariff to protect their fledgling industries from British competition, banks to stabilize the currency and mobilize domestic savings for investment, and mass education to prepare people for industrial work. Together these countries pioneered new technologies that have made them ever richer. Before the Industrial Revolution, most of the world's manufacturing was done in Asia, but industries from Casablanca to Canton were destroyed by western competition in the nineteenth century, and Asia was transformed into 'underdeveloped countries' specializing in agriculture. The spread of economic development has been slow since modern technology was invented to fit the needs of rich countries and is ill adapted to the economic and geographical conditions of poor countries. A few countries - Japan, Soviet Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, and perhaps China - have, nonetheless, caught up with the West through creative responses to the technological challenge and with Big Push industrialization that has achieved rapid growth through investment coordination. Whether other countries can emulate the success of East Asia is a challenge for the future.
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Why did the 1917 American Red Cross Mission to Russia include more financiers than medical doctors? Rather than caring for the victims of war and revolution, its members seemed more intent on negotiating contracts with the Kerensky government, and subsequently the Bolshevik regime. In a courageous investigation, Antony Sutton establishes tangible historical links between US capitalists and Russian communists. Drawing on State Department files, personal papers of key Wall Street figures, biographies and conventional histories, Sutton reveals: the role of Morgan banking executives in funneling illegal Bolshevik gold into the US; the co-option of the American Red Cross by powerful Wall Street forces; the intervention by Wall Street sources to free the Marxist revolutionary Leon Trotsky, whose aim was to topple the Russian government; the deals made by major corporations to capture the huge Russian market a decade and a half before the US recognized the Soviet regime; and, the secret sponsoring of Communism by leading businessmen, who publicly championed free enterprise. "Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution" traces the foundations of Western funding of the Soviet Union. Dispassionately, and with overwhelming documentation, the author details a crucial phase in the establishment of Communist Russia. This classic study - first published in 1974 and part of a key trilogy - is reproduced here in its original form. (The other volumes in the series include "Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler" and a study of Franklin D. Roosevelt's "1933 Presidential election in the United States").
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We think we know what's coming. But is it already too late? "How the West Was Lost" is a wake-up call for all of us. Dambisa Moyo argues that during the last fifty years the most advanced countries on earth have squandered their advantage through fatally flawed policies: obsessing over property, ravenously consuming and building up debt instead of investing. Here Moyo outlines solutions that could help stem the tide. By rethinking many of the things we take for granted, she shows, it may yet be possible for the West to get back into the race.
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Niall Ferguson's bold, pithy and insightful analysis of the degeneration of the West. The decline of the West is something that has long been prophesied. Symptoms of decline are all around us today: slowing growth, crushing debts, aging populations. But what exactly is amiss with Western civilization? The answer, Niall Ferguson argues, is that our institutions - the intricate frameworks within which a society can flourish or fail - are degenerating. Representative government, the free market, the rule of law and civil society were once the four pillars of West European and North American societies. In our time, however, these institutions have deteriorated. The Great Degeneration is a powerful indictment of an era of negligence and complacency. While the Arab world struggles to adopt democracy, and while China struggles to move from economic liberalization to the rule of law, the West is frittering away the institutional inheritance of centuries. To arrest the decline, Ferguson warns, will take heroic leadership and radical reform. Reviews: "A refreshing perspective on the economic decline of advanced countries and the origins of the crisis". (Samuel Brittan, Financial Times). "A compelling and cogently argued work". (Times Higher Education). About the author: Niall Ferguson is one of Britain's most renowned historians. He is the author of Paper and Iron, The House of Rothschild, The Pity of War, The Cash Nexus, Empire, Colossus, The War of the World, The Ascent of Money, High Financier and Civilization. He has written and presented six highly successful television series for Channel Four: Empire, American Colossus, The War of the World, The Ascent of Money, Civilization and China: Triumph and Turmoil.
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The idea of world leaders gathering in the midst of economic crisis has become all-too familiar. But the summit at Bretton Woods in 1944 was the only time countries from around the world have agreed to overhaul the structure of the international monetary system. And, what's more, they were successful - it was the closest to perfection the world's economy has ever been, and arguably the demise of the Bretton Woods system is behind our present woes. This was no dry economic conference. The delegates spent half the time at each other's throats, and the other half drinking in the hotel bar. The Russians nearly capsized the entire project. The French threatened to walk out, repeatedly. John Maynard Keynes had a heart attack. His American counterpart was a KGB spy. But this summit could be instrumental in preventing World War Three. Drawing on a wealth of unpublished accounts, diaries and oral histories, this brilliant book describes the conference in stunning colour and clarity. Bringing to life the characters, events and economics and written with exceptional verve and narrative pace,this is an extraordinarily accomplished work of history from a talented new writer.
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From the Orwell Prize shortlisted author of Freedom for Sale, The Rich is the fascinating history of how economic elites from ancient Egypt to the present day have gained and spent their money. Starting with the Romans and Ancient Egypt and culminating with the oligarchies of modern Russia and China, it compares and contrasts the rich and powerful down the ages and around the world. What unites them? Have the same instincts of entrepreneurship, ambition, vanity, greed and philanthropy applied throughout? As contemporary politicians, economists and the public wrestle with the inequities of our time - the parallel world inhabited by the ultra-wealthy at a time of broader hardship - it is salutary to look to history for explanations. This book synthesises thousands of years of human behaviour and asks the question: is the development of the globalised super-rich over the past twenty years anything new?
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As the prevailing winds of the global economy have changed, so Britain has been buffeted from boom to bust and back again. But how much is our country's economic landscape shaped by the huge forces of international capital - and the hope that 'something will turn up' - and how much by the individual men and women at the heart of our economic policy? David Smith forged his career as Britain's leading economic journalist during the country's traumatic transition from the 'workshop of the world' in the Midlands where he grew up, to an economy built on the sometimes shaky foundations of services and the City. Something Will Turn Up is his account of the chancellors, prime ministers, Bank of England governors and senior officials he has encountered and interviewed over the last five decades, and their impact on the realities of modern British life since the war. Smith leads us through the mire of government policy and long-term trends with wit and clarity to paint a vivid, personal picture of how we got to now - and where we might go from here.
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In this groundbreaking book, historian Gotz Aly addresses one of modern history's greatest conundrums: How did Hitler win the allegiance of ordinary Germans? The answer is as shocking as it is persuasive. By engaging in a campaign of theft on an almost unimaginable scale-and by channeling the proceeds into generous social programs-Hitler literally 'bought' his people's consent. Drawing on secret files and financial records, Aly shows that while Jews and people of occupied lands suffered crippling taxation, mass looting, enslavement, and destruction, most Germans enjoyed a much-improved standard of living. Buoyed by the millions of packages soldiers sent from the front, Germans also benefited from the systematic plunder of conquered territory and the transfer of Jewish possessions into their homes and pockets. Any qualms were swept away by waves of governmenthandouts, tax breaks, and preferential legislation. Gripping and significant, Hitler's Beneficiaries makes a radically new contribution to our understanding of Nazi aggression, the Holocaust, and the complicity of a people.
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During the late eighteenth century, innovations in Europe triggered the Industrial Revolution and the sustained economic progress that spread across the globe. While much has been made of the details of the Industrial Revolution, what remains a mystery is why it took place at all. Why did this revolution begin in the West and not elsewhere, and why did it continue, leading to today's unprecedented prosperity? In this groundbreaking book, celebrated economic historian Joel Mokyr argues that a culture of growth specific to early modern Europe and the European Enlightenment laid the foundations for the scientific advances and pioneering inventions that would instigate explosive technological and economic development. Bringing together economics, the history of science and technology, and models of cultural evolution, Mokyr demonstrates that culture--the beliefs, values, and preferences in society that are capable of changing behavior--was a deciding factor in societal transformations. Mokyr looks at the period 1500-1700 to show that a politically fragmented Europe fostered a competitive "market for ideas" and a willingness to investigate the secrets of nature. At the same time, a transnational community of brilliant thinkers known as the "Republic of Letters" freely circulated and distributed ideas and writings. This political fragmentation and the supportive intellectual environment explain how the Industrial Revolution happened in Europe but not China, despite similar levels of technology and intellectual activity. In Europe, heterodox and creative thinkers could find sanctuary in other countries and spread their thinking across borders. In contrast, China's version of the Enlightenment remained controlled by the ruling elite. Combining ideas from economics and cultural evolution, A Culture of Growth provides startling reasons for why the foundations of our modern economy were laid in the mere two centuries between Columbus and Newton.
In Illiberal Reformers, Thomas Leonard reexamines the economic progressives whose ideas and reform agenda underwrote the Progressive Era dismantling of laissez-faire and the creation of the regulatory welfare state, which, they believed, would humanize and rationalize industrial capitalism. But not for all. Academic social scientists such as Richard T. Ely, John R. Commons, and Edward A. Ross, together with their reform allies in social work, charity, journalism, and law, played a pivotal role in establishing minimum-wage and maximum-hours laws, workmen's compensation, antitrust regulation, and other hallmarks of the regulatory welfare state. But even as they offered uplift to some, economic progressives advocated exclusion for others, and did both in the name of progress. Leonard meticulously reconstructs the influence of Darwinism, racial science, and eugenics on scholars and activists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, revealing a reform community deeply ambivalent about America's poor. Illiberal Reformers shows that the intellectual champions of the regulatory welfare state proposed using it not to help those they portrayed as hereditary inferiors but to exclude them.
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A lively, inviting account of the history of economics, told through events from ancient to modern times and the ideas of great thinkers in the field What causes poverty? Are economic crises inevitable under capitalism? Is government intervention in an economy a helpful approach or a disastrous idea? The answers to such basic economic questions matter to everyone, yet the unfamiliar jargon and math of economics can seem daunting. This clear, accessible, and even humorous book is ideal for young readers new to economics and for all readers who seek a better understanding of the full sweep of economic history and ideas. Economic historian Niall Kishtainy organizes short, chronological chapters that center on big ideas and events. He recounts the contributions of key thinkers including Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, and others, while examining topics ranging from the invention of money and the rise of agrarianism to the Great Depression, entrepreneurship, environmental destruction, inequality, and behavioral economics. The result is a uniquely enjoyable volume that succeeds in illuminating the economic ideas and forces that shape our world.
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Today's world is the product of the late middle ages. In what is now called 'Flanders', a new kind of man emerged. A practical man, an entrepreneur, a critical man who no longer believed what church and nobility tried to tell him. He discovers the world, creates, produces and innovates. In this book young researchers take us back to the middle ages. With attention for top works of art and unknown gems. This art book has a fresh academic point of view: the economical history of the middle ages from the viewpoint of different social groups, with surprising results on cliched thoughts such as the passive countryside, the dark middle ages and the role of women in society.
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Placed as a stepping stone on the sea route between Europe and the New East, Cyprus has always been a meeting place of many cultures. Though rarely united politically through many millennia of history - and for extended periods subject to foreign rule - the island nonetheless managed to maintain specific and unique identities. This publication seeks to throw new light on important aspects of the economy of Cyprus between c. 700 BC and AD 700 through a concerted study of the transport amphorae found in and around the island. These standardised containers of fired clay were commonly used for shipping foodstuffs from their places of production to the consumers in antiquity. Completely preserved or found only in fragments, such vessels are a prime source of information about the island's exports and imports of agricultural products, and ultimately about the fluctuations in the economy of Cyprus through a crucial millennium and a half of her history. The jars thus contribute both to our understanding of the changing intensities of Cypriot connections with other centres around the Mediterranean and to the documentation of regional patterning within the island itself.
Djekhy & Son, two businessmen living 2500 years ago in the densely populated neighborhoods built around the great temple of Amun at Karnak, worked as funerary service providers in the necropolis on the western bank of the Nile. They were also successful agricultural entrepreneurs, cultivating flax and grain. In 1885, the German Egyptologist August Eisenlohr acquired a unique collection of papyri that turned out to be Djekhy's archive of mainly legal documents. Using this rich trove of evidence, augmented by many other sources, the author has painted a vivid picture of life in ancient Egypt between 570 and 534
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With its deep roots and global scope, the capitalist system seems universal and timeless. The framework for our lives, it is a source of constant change, sometimes measured and predictable, sometimes drastic, out of control. Yet what is now ubiquitous was not always so. Capitalism was an unlikely development when it emerged from isolated changes in farming, trade, and manufacturing in early-modern England. Astute observers began to notice these changes and register their effects. Those in power began to harness these new practices to the state, enhancing both. A system generating wealth, power, and new ideas arose to reshape societies in a constant surge of change. Approaching capitalism as a culture, as a historical development that was by no means natural or inevitable, Joyce Appleby gives us a fascinating introduction to this most potent creation of mankind from its origins to its present global reach.
Widely used since the mid-twentieth century, GDP (gross domestic product) has become the world's most powerful statistical indicator of national development and progress. Practically all governments adhere to the idea that GDP growth is a primary economic target, and while criticism of this measure has grown, neither its champions nor its detractors deny its central importance in our political culture. In The Power of a Single Number, Philipp Lepenies recounts the lively history of GDP's political acceptance-and eventual dominance. Locating the origins of GDP measurements in Renaissance England, Lepenies explores the social and political factors that originally hindered its use. It was not until the early 1900s that an ingenuous lone-wolf economist revived and honed GDP's statistical approach. These ideas were then extended by John Maynard Keynes, and a more focused study of national income was born. American economists furthered this work by emphasizing GDP's ties to social well-being, setting the stage for its ascent. GDP finally achieved its singular status during World War II, assuming the importance it retains today. Lepenies's absorbing account helps us understand the personalities and popular events that propelled GDP to supremacy and clarifies current debates over the wisdom of the number's rule.
The sharing economy's unique customer-to-company exchange is possible because of the way in which money has evolved. These transactions have not always been as fluid as they are today, and they are likely to become even more fluid. It is therefore critical that we learn to appreciate money's elastic nature as deeply as do Uber, Airbnb, Kickstarter, and other innovators, and that we understand money's transition from hard currencies to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin if we are to access their cooperative potential. The Evolution of Money illuminates this fascinating reality, focusing on the tension between currency's real and abstract properties and advancing a vital theory of money rooted in this dual exchange. It begins with the debt tablets of Mesopotamia and follows with the development of coin money in ancient Greece and Rome, gold-backed currencies in medieval Europe, and monetary economics in Victorian England. The book ends in the digital era, with the cryptocurrencies and service providers that are making the most of money's virtual side and that suggest a tectonic shift in what we call money. By building this organic time line, The Evolution of Money helps us anticipate money's next, transformative role.
The English East India Company was one of the most powerful and enduring organizations in history. Between Monopoly and Free Trade locates the source of that success in the innovative policy by which the Company's Court of Directors granted employees the right to pursue their own commercial interests while in the firm's employ. Exploring trade network dynamics, decision-making processes, and ports and organizational context, Emily Erikson demonstrates why the English East India Company was a dominant force in the expansion of trade between Europe and Asia, and she sheds light on the related problems of why England experienced rapid economic development and how the relationship between Europe and Asia shifted in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Though the Company held a monopoly on English overseas trade to Asia, the Court of Directors extended the right to trade in Asia to their employees, creating an unusual situation in which employees worked both for themselves and for the Company as overseas merchants. Building on the organizational infrastructure of the Company and the sophisticated commercial institutions of the markets of the East, employees constructed a cohesive internal network of peer communications that directed English trading ships during their voyages. This network integrated Company operations, encouraged innovation, and increased the Company's flexibility, adaptability, and responsiveness to local circumstance. Between Monopoly and Free Trade highlights the dynamic potential of social networks in the early modern era.
Economic theory may be speculative, but its impact is powerful and real. Since the 1970s, it has been closely associated with a sweeping change around the world--the "market turn." This is what Avner Offer and Gabriel Soderberg call the rise of market liberalism, a movement that, seeking to replace social democracy, holds up buying and selling as the norm for human relations and society. Our confidence in markets comes from economics, and our confidence in economics is underpinned by the Nobel Prize in Economics, which was first awarded in 1969. Was it a coincidence that the market turn and the prize began at the same time? The Nobel Factor, the first book to describe the origins and power of the most important prize in economics, explores this and related questions by examining the history of the prize, the history of economics since the prize began, and the simultaneous struggle between market liberals and social democrats in Sweden, Europe, and the United States. The Nobel Factor tells how the prize, created by the Swedish central bank, emerged from a conflict between central bank orthodoxy and social democracy. The aim was to use the halo of the Nobel brand to enhance central bank authority and the prestige of market-friendly economics, in order to influence the future of Sweden and the rest of the developed world. And this strategy has worked, with sometimes disastrous results for societies striving to cope with the requirements of economic theory and deregulated markets. Drawing on previously untapped Swedish national bank archives and providing a unique analysis of the sway of prizewinners, The Nobel Factor offers an unprecedented account of the real-world consequences of economics--and its greatest prize.
A WASHINGTON POST BOOK OF THE YEAR Stagnant wages. Feeble growth figures. An angry, disillusioned public. The early 1970s witnessed the arrival of the problems that define the twenty-first century. In An Extraordinary Time, Marc Levinson investigates how the oil crisis of the 1970s marked a radical turning point in global economics: and paved the way for the political and financial troubles of the present. Tracing the remarkable transformation of the global economy in the years after World War II, Levinson explores how decades of spectacular economic growth ended almost overnight - giving way to an era of uncertainty and political extremism that we are still grappling with. Above all, Levinson shows that we must understand the economic disaster of the 1970s if we want to overcome the problems we face today. By focusing on a pivotal but often overlooked moment in the twentieth century, An Extraordinary Time offers a crucial and timely reappraisal of our age. "A smoothly written account of the US and the world economy during the 1970s." (Wall Street Journal). "A valuable antidote to all passionately held economic ideologies." (Times Literary Supplement). "Provocative...Levinson reminds us how mesmerising the post-war boom really was. " (Washington Post). "Lucid, well-paced, and entwined with vivid sketches of economists, central bankers, and politicians." (Publishers Weekly).
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Lives of the Laureates offers readers an informal history of modern economic thought as told through autobiographical essays by twenty-three Nobel Prize laureates in Economics. The essays not only provide unique insights into major economic ideas of our time but also shed light on the processes of intellectual discovery and creativity. The accounts are accessible and engaging, achieving clarity without sacrificing inherently difficult content. This sixth edition adds four recent Nobelists to its pages: Eric Maskin, who illustrates his explanation of mechanism design with an example involving a mother, a cake, and two children; Joseph Stiglitz, who recounts his field's ideological wars linked to policy disputes; Paul Krugman, who describes the insights he gained from studying the model of the Capitol Hill Babysitting Coop (and the recession it suffered when more people wanted to accumulate babysitting coupons than redeem them); and Peter Diamond, who maps his development from student to teacher to policy analyst. Lives of the Laureates grows out of a continuing lecture series at Trinity University in San Antonio, which invites Nobelists from American universities to describe their evolution as economists in personal as well as technical terms. These lectures demonstrate the richness and diversity of contemporary economic thought. The reader will find that paths cross in unexpected ways--that disparate thinkers were often influenced by the same teachers -- and that luck as well as hard work plays a role in the process of scientific discovery. The LaureatesLawrence R. Klein * Kenneth J. Arrow * Paul A. Samuelson * Milton Friedman * George J. Stigler * James Tobin * Franco Modigliani * James M. Buchanan * Robert M. Solow * William F. Sharpe * Douglass C. North * Myron S. Scholes * Gary S. Becker * Robert E. Lucas, Jr. * James J. Heckman * Vernon L. Smith * Edward C. Prescott * Thomas C. Schelling * Edmund S. Phelps * Eric S. Maskin * Joseph E. Stiglitz * Paul Krugman * Peter A. Diamond
This collection of essays brings together historians examining social and economic crises from the thirteenth century to the twenty-first. Crisis is an almost ubiquitous concept for historians, applicable across (amongst others) the histories of agriculture, disease, finance and trade. Yet there has been little attempt to compare its use as an explanatory tool between these discrete fields of research. This volume breaks down the boundaries between traditional historical time periods and sub-disciplines of history to examine the ways in which past societies have coped with crises, and the role of crisis in generating economic and social change. Should we conceptualise a medieval agrarian or financial crisis differently from their modern counterparts? Were there similarities in how contemporaries responded to famine or outbreaks of disease? How comparable are crises within households, within institutions, or across national and international networks of trade? Contributors examine how crises have shaped economic and social life in a range of studies from the Great Depression in 1930s Latin America to the outbreak of plague in seventeenth-century central Europe, and from sheep and cattle murrain in fourteenth-century England to the Northern Rock building society collapse of 2007. A.T. BROWN is an Addison Wheeler Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Durham University. ANDY BURN is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Durham University. ROB DOHERTY is a doctoral candidate in history at Durham University. CONTRIBUTORS: Peter H. Bent, A.T. Brown, Andy Burn, Catherine Casson, Mark Casson, Samuel K. Cohn, Jr., Rob Doherty, Josette Duncan, Matthew Hollow, Pavla Jirkova, Alan Knight, John S. Lee, Cinzia Lorandini, John Martin, Ranald Michie, Anne L. Murphy, Pamela Nightingale, John Singleton, Philip Slavin, Paul Warde
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