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The Financial Crisis - Who is to blame ? Paperback – 30 Jul 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 229 pages
  • Publisher: Polity; 1 edition (30 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074565164X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745651644
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 350,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Howard Davies is a Chair of the British Government's Airport Policy Review and of Phoenix insurance group. He also is a Professor of Practice at the French School of Political Science in Paris (Sciences Po). He was the Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science from 2003 until May 2011. Prior to this appointment he was chairman of the UK Financial Services Authority from 1997 to 2003.

From 1995 to 1997 he was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, after three years as the Director General of the Confederation of British Industry. Earlier in his career he worked in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Treasury, Mckinsey and Co, where he spent five years, and as Controller of the Audit Commission.

He has been an independent Director of Morgan Stanley Inc since 2004, and chairs the Risk Committee. He also chairs the Risk Committee at Prudential PLC, whose board he joined in 2010. He is a member of the Regulatory and Compliance Advisory Board of Millennium LLC, a New York-based hedge fund. He has also been a member of the International Advisory Council of the China Banking Regulatory Commission since 2003 and, from 2012, is Chairman of the International Advisory Council of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

In 2006 he edited and introduced The Chancellor's Tales (Polity Press) on British economic policy from 1975 to 2000. In 2008 he jointly authored Global Financial Regulation: The Essential Guide (Polity Press) with David Green. Banking on the Future: The Fall and Rise of Central Banking, on central banks, also by Davies and Green, was published in April 2010 by Princeton University Press. His latest book, 'The Financial Crisis: Who is to blame?' was published by Polity Press in July 2010.

Product Description


"Balanced, succinct, authoritative and remarkably comprehensive."
The Times

"In this eminently readable account of the current crisis, Howard Davies writes with a wealth of experience."
The Oldie

"Financial crisis is a many–headed hydra and unravelling its causes a Herculean task. In The Financial Crisis: Who is to Blame?, Howard Davies makes significant progress."
Times Higher Education

"An admirable summary of issues for normal people who have a life outside finance."
Evening Standard

"Davies′ expertise and nuance regarding the crisis shines through and provides a fascinating account of a situation we shall hopefully never see again."
Business Destinations

"An excellent primer."
Financial World

"It′s hard to think of anyone better qualified than Howard Davies to evaluate the competing arguments about what caused the worst financial crisis and recession since the 1930s."
Robert Peston, Business Editor for BBC News

"Davies offers the most comprehensive post–mortem yet of the Great Crisis –– essential reading for those who are trying to fix a still precarious post–crisis world."
Stephen S. Roach, Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia

"Howard Davies′ lucid and panoramic account of the financial crisis and the reasons for it is crisply and entertainingly written. It is a great primer for anyone hoping to understand how a complex set of causes united to lead to the near–collapse of global finance in 2008."
John Gapper, Associate Editor and Chief Business Commentator, Financial Times

About the Author

Howard Davies is the director of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The way that Howard Davies describes the financial crisis, MaCavity must have caused it. One by one he exonerates the 38 potential culprits he identifies and can come up with no better conclusion than it was basically the fault of the politicians. (He comes close to contradicting himself over 'light touch regulation' in this regard). Davies describes the work as "opinionated" in the summary chapter but a little more willingness to come to a conclusive view would have been welcome. Perhaps he wished to avoid the obvious conclusion of the books title -- although the graphic designer has done his best with the layout to avoid the obvious jibe: The Financial Crisis: Who is to Blame? Howard Davies.

Davies also has a touching faith that the best guarantee of financial stability was that bankers had the interest of their shareholders at heart -- this belief is hard to sustain when the calamitous record of British bankers' overseas adventurism is scrutinised: Crocker (Midland); First Jersey National (NatWest); Household (HSBC); AMRO (NatWest again). Or when Loyd Blankstein opines that -- forget the shareholders -- he is "doing God's work"

But for all its failure to finger a particular perpetrator, this book is a very useful, concise and informed review of the myriad causes of the problem; engagingly and interestingly written it avoids jargon ( for the most part -- although the editor commits a howler on p189) and obscurity and sets out the facts very well. Unfortunately it misses the target it sets itself in the title.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you had to seek one person to clearly dissect the nature of the current financial crisis the name of Sir Howard Davies would come to the fore. He is a big brain, someone who can speak with authority, a real old clever clogs who has been there, done it and has a very smart CV to prove it. Currently the Director of the London School of Economics, he was the first Chairman of the controversial Financial Services Authority (FSA) between 1997-2003, also the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England from 1995 to 1997 and prior to this had served for three years as Director General of the Confederation of British Industry and was of course the previous Controller of the now defunct Audit Commission when it was power in the land. And it is that Auditors skill that he brings to this slim but crisply written volume which points to a range of culprits to answer his fundamental question who is to blame for this almighty mess which this week sees our Irish cousins on the verge of collapse.

Davies's chapter headings tell a story in their own right. Thus we have the "Rich get richer, the poor borrow", "The blind man and the elephant - US regulation" and a "Plague of locusts- hedge fund management". In 38 chapters some of which are very pithy others very complex he examines all the key protagonists in the crisis ranging from the banks, light touch regulation, derivatives, the credit ratings industry to the role paid by greed and especially pay and incentives.

Being the former head of the FSA his primary concern which is raised up front in the book is the key question "why did regulators maintain a weak hands off approach" as all around them indulged in reckless casino banking which saw the manual marked risk management completely shredded.
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By Brian R. Martin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The financial crisis that began in 2007, triggered by the sub-prime mortgage market in the USA, was the worst for eighty years and has resulted in far-reaching consequences for the global economic that still continue. Not surprisingly, this has generated considerable activity in economic and political circles aimed at investigating the causes of the disaster and, for some, identifying the culprits. About the only thing that economists agree on is the key importance of high levels of leverage, at both personal and corporate level. But there is a bewildering list of possible causes and suspects, often contradictory, for how this arose including: the creation of massive imbalances between the oil-producing countries and China on the one hand and Western countries, principally the USA, on the other; growing income inequalities in the developed countries, again principally the USA; the unrestrained growth of the financial sector with too little regulation, or too much government intervention, depending on your point of view; the existence of hedge funds and other vastly more complex financial vehicles; the short-term greed of bankers and a reward system that encouraged reckless investment strategies. Economics has a long way to go before it can be called a science.

This wide-ranging book by Howard Davies, until recently the Director of the London School of Economics, has its origins in material prepared for a course of lectures at the LSE, but it is in no sense a textbook. In it he briefly reviews each of the many suggested causes in a clear simple way that is understandable to non-economists. Sometimes it is obvious what Davies' own views are, but sometimes he simply presents the arguments for and against, leaving the reader to make up their own mind.
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