Some seem to think that the recent devastating, greed-induced, brainless financial cock-up at an astronomical cost to the taxpayer, is unlikely to reoccur. They are so, so wrong. During the past century alone, there have been a number of financial disgraces that have impacted on society at large, the hitherto most serious being The Wall Street Crash of 1929, and the subsequent Great Depression of the 1930's. We didn't learn in the medium or long-term from any of these events, and will not do so in the future, as our actions are governed always an equal mixture of ambition, greed, and asininity. There will be another global financial melt down in the future, guaranteed for certain, so lets hope the tax-payers have very deep pockets and short memories because the perpetrators of massive monetary bankruptcies are rarely penalised with loss of liberty or bank balances.
So to "Lords Of Finance", it is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a sequence of events beyond any one person's or governments control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions taken by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of the economic meltdown, that set the scene for the terrible downward spiral leading to unruly markets and the manifestations of the very worse of human behaviour. All seems a bit familiar doesn't it?
In "Lords Of Finance", we meet the neurotic and enigmatic Montague Norman of the Bank of England, the xenophobic and suspicious Emile Moreau of the Banque de France, the arrogant yet brilliant Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, and Benjamin Strong of The Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The steps that they took to reconstruct the the world of international finance after the First World War, namely the return to the gold standard, seemed to work at first but fairly soon cracks appeared beneath the veneer of boom prosperity, and the world economy began to plummet into that period known as the Great Depression and the rest, as they say, is history.
The book was awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for history and has received a welter of acclaim for providing a compelling and convincing narrative of bungling, tortured bankers, vainly trying to reconcile conflicting personal, national and global ambitions and duties. On September 2, 2010, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke was asked by the Financial Crisis Inquiry what books or academic papers he would recommend to understand the financial crisis of 2007-2010. The only book that Bernanke recommended was"Lords Of Finance".
A superb, highly engrossing, easy to follow, thought provoking book, that alas will have little or no effect in staving off another bout of financial madness, and another, and another........