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.
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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In Global Imbalances and the Lessons of Bretton Woods, Barry Eichengreen takes issue with the argument that today's international financial system is largely analogous to the Bretton Woods System of the period 1958 to 1973. Then, as now, it has been argued, the United States ran balance of payment deficits, provided international reserves to other countries, and acted as export market of last resort for the rest of the world. Then, as now, the story continues, other countries were reluctant to revalue their currencies for fear of seeing their export-led growth slow and suffering capital losses on their foreign reserves. Eichengreen argues in response that the power of historical analogy lies not just in finding parallels but in highlighting differences, and he finds important differences in the structure of the world economy today. Such differences, he concludes, mean that the current constellation of exchange rates and payments imbalances is unlikely to last as long as the original Bretton Woods System. Two of the most salient differences are the twin deficits and low savings rate of the United States, which do not augur well for the sustainability of the country's international position. Such differences, he concludes, mean that the current constellation of exchange rates and payments imbalances is unlikely to last as long as the original Bretton Woods System. After identifying these differences, Eichengreen looks in detail at the Gold Pool, the mechanism through which European central banks sought to support the dollar in the 1960s. He shows that the Pool was fragile and short lived, which does not bode well for collective efforts on the part of Asian central banks to restrain reserve diversification and support the dollar today. He studies Japan's exit from its dollar peg in 1971, drawing lessons for China's transition to greater exchange rate flexibility. And he considers the history of reserve currency competition, asking if it has lessons for whether the dollar is destined to lose its standing as preeminent international currency to the euro or even the Chinese renminbi.
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The Company of Strangers shows us the remarkable strangeness, and fragility, of our everyday lives. This completely revised and updated edition includes a new chapter analyzing how the rise and fall of social trust explain the unsustainable boom in the global economy over the past decade and the financial crisis that succeeded it. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, history, psychology, and literature, Paul Seabright explores how our evolved ability of abstract reasoning has allowed institutions like money, markets, cities, and the banking system to provide the foundations of social trust that we need in our everyday lives. Even the simple acts of buying food and clothing depend on an astonishing web of interaction that spans the globe. How did humans develop the ability to trust total strangers with providing our most basic needs?
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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Today's wide economic gap between the postindustrial countries of the West and the poorer countries of the third world is not new. Fifty years ago, the world economic order -- two hundred years in the making -- was already characterized by a vast difference in per capita income between rich and poor countries and by the fact that poor countries exported commodities (agricultural or mineral products) while rich countries exported manufactured products. In Trade and Poverty, leading economic historian Jeffrey G. Williamson traces the great divergence between the third world and the West to this nexus of trade, commodity specialization, and poverty. Analyzing the role of specialization, de-industrialization, and commodity price volatility with econometrics and case studies of India, Ottoman Turkey, and Mexico, Williamson demonstrates why the close correlation between trade and poverty emerged. Globalization and the great divergence were causally related, and thus the rise of globalization over the past two centuries helps account for the income gap between rich and poor countries today.
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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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The world is a better place than it used to be. People are healthier, wealthier, and live longer. Yet the escapes from destitution by so many has left gaping inequalities between people and nations. In The Great Escape, Angus Deaton--one of the foremost experts on economic development and on poverty--tells the remarkable story of how, beginning 250 years ago, some parts of the world experienced sustained progress, opening up gaps and setting the stage for today's disproportionately unequal world. Deaton takes an in-depth look at the historical and ongoing patterns behind the health and wealth of nations, and addresses what needs to be done to help those left behind. Deaton describes vast innovations and wrenching setbacks: the successes of antibiotics, pest control, vaccinations, and clean water on the one hand, and disastrous famines and the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the other. He examines the United States, a nation that has prospered but is today experiencing slower growth and increasing inequality. He also considers how economic growth in India and China has improved the lives of more than a billion people. Deaton argues that international aid has been ineffective and even harmful. He suggests alternative efforts--including reforming incentives to drug companies and lifting trade restrictions--that will allow the developing world to bring about its own Great Escape. Demonstrating how changes in health and living standards have transformed our lives, The Great Escape is a powerful guide to addressing the well-being of all nations.
In this volume, Albert Hirschman reconstructs the intellectual climate of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to illuminate the intricate ideological transformation that occurred, wherein the pursuit of material interests--so long condemned as the deadly sin of avarice--was assigned the role of containing the unruly and destructive passions of man. Hirschman here offers a new interpretation for the rise of capitalism, one that emphasizes the continuities between old and new, in contrast to the assumption of a sharp break that is a common feature of both Marxian and Weberian thinking. Among the insights presented here is the ironical finding that capitalism was originally supposed to accomplish exactly what was soon denounced as its worst feature: the repression of the passions in favor of the "harmless," if one-dimensional, interests of commercial life. To portray this lengthy ideological change as an endogenous process, Hirschman draws on the writings of a large number of thinkers, including Montesquieu, Sir James Steuart, and Adam Smith. Featuring a new afterword by Jeremy Adelman and a foreword by Amartya Sen, this Princeton Classics edition of The Passions and the Interests sheds light on the intricate ideological transformation from which capitalism emerged triumphant, and reaffirms Hirschman's stature as one of our most influential and provocative thinkers.
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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.
The 2010 English-language edition of Christian Marazzi's The Violence of Financial Capitalism made a groundbreaking work on the global financial crisis available to an expanded readership. This new edition has been updated to reflect recent events, up to and including the G20 summit in July 2010 and the broad consensus to reduce government spending that emerged from it. Marazzi, a leading figure in the European postfordist movement, argues that the processes of financialization are not simply irregularities between the traditional categories of wages, rent, and profit, but rather a new type of accumulation adapted to the processes of social and cognitive production today. The financial crisis, he contends, is a fundamental component of contemporary accumulation and not a classic lack of economic growth. Marazzi shows that individual debt and the management of financial markets are actually techniques for governing the transformations of immaterial labor, general intellect, and social cooperation. The financial crisis has radically undermined the very concept of unilateral and multilateral economico-political hegemony, and Marazzi discusses efforts toward a new geomonetary order that have emerged around the globe in response. Offering a radically new understanding of the current stage of international economics as well as crucial post-Marxist guidance for confronting capitalism in its newest form, The Violence of Financial Capitalism is a valuable addition to the contemporary arsenal of postfordist thought. This edition includes the glossary of the esoteric neolanguage of financial capitalism-"Words in Crisis," from "AAA" to "toxic asset"-written for the first English-language edition, and offers a new afterword by Marazzi.
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.