Paper Promises: Money, Debt and the New World Order Paperback – 6 Sep 2012
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Bold and confident ... Coggan covers the terrain with characteristic calmness and objectivity, avoids over-simplification, and laces his arguments with his trademark erudition ... The alphabet soup of acronyms, from SIVs to CDO Squareds, is blissfully lacking ... Finally, the book is free from the shrieking ideology that afflicts virtually all contemporary debates over money. Indeed, it offers a clear explanation of the fresh ideological divisions that have arisen over how to deal with the crisis ... the book should be taken very seriously (Financial Times)
This book stands way above anything written on the present economic crisis (Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of 'The Black Swan')
The most illuminating account of the financial crisis to appear to date ... [written] with a lucidity that enables him to convey deep insights without a trace of jargon ... [a] thought-stirring book (John Gray New Statesman)
A remarkable book from one of the most respected economics journalists on the planet. Every page brings a fresh insight or a new surprise. A delight (Tim Harford, author of 'The Undercover Economist')
Fascinating and authoritative, with the rigour and depth to satisfy an economist and the accessibility and pace to engage the layperson ... If everyone read Coggan's book we might just be a little more circumspect if and when the next burst of irrational exuberance overtakes the economy (Management Today)
A masterful history of financial crises (Independent)
By far the best analysis of the "new normal" (David Stevenson Financial Times)
An excellent book ... a smart and witty analysis of the current economic storm, set in the context of the history of money (David Wighton The Times)
Coggan is ... an exceptional banking and economic historian (Irish Examiner)
Coggan traces 'history's tug of war between monetary shortage and excess' in this engaging and timely book about the current financial crisis.... Thoughtful and thorough (Publishers Weekly)
Intriguing (Irish Independent)
Coggan ... deserves his Best Communicator award: he moves the story along at a fast and flowing pace, combined with the ability to find the short phrase that summarizes in simple language the kernel of many complex economic ideas ... demonstrates a comprehensive awareness of the major academic debates in economics and economic history ... deserves to be one of the three books you read from the vast literature spawned by the recent crisis (John Gent LSE blog)
A very good and sensible introduction to the history of the recent economic crisis, with an emphasis on debt and also historical perspective (Tyler Cowen Blog)
About the Author
Philip Coggan is the Buttonwood columnist of the "Economist." Previously, he worked for the "Financial Times" for twenty years, most recently as investment editor. Among his books are "The Money Machine," a guide to the city of London that is still in print in the UK after twenty-five years, and "The Economist Guide to Hedge Funds."
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Top Customer Reviews
Debt is the subject of this book. Debt is a "promise to pay back", sounds simple. But modern debts are promise to pay back in promises to pay back (as fiat money is also a form of debt). This makes the economic system very complex. Money these days can be created by central banks with a click of a mouse. Creating money may cause inflation, but it may be vital to help the economy function property or to help avoid mass bankruptcies in our society. Money is the store of value as well as the medium of exchange, we need to find a balance between the two functions. The futures of debtors and creditors of the world are tied together. And debt is not only the fault of the borrowers, but also a fault of the lenders. All this has implications of the global economy. This book addresses these issues flawlessly.
To sum up, a wonderfully researched book. Acknowledges ides from all political and economic spectrum. One of the most enjoyable reads (went through the book in 18 hours, and could not put it down). I recommend it to everyone interested in issues facing the global economy.
Philip Coggan starts at the very basics, with an explanation of what money is, and of various monetary systems that have been tried out in the past, from whales' teeth to gold to paper money, and also the pros and cons of each. By placing the current crisis in context, our overall understanding of what is happening in 2011 becomes clearer. He also answers many questions I had wondered about for years but had been too afraid to ask.
The author writes with an outstanding simplicity and clarity. If you are not familiar with the ins and outs of the current crisis, this would be a great place to start. And if you are familiar, you will benefit from reviewing the crisis in its context.
Having read previous books in the financial and monetary sector, Paper Promises compares favorably in the sense that it is truly the best of all worlds.
The first part of the book is a financial and monetary history in every sense worthy of Niall Ferguson's Ascent of Money, coupled with a monetary analysis every bit as astute as the works of Barry Eichengreen, but much more readable.
Despite the length of the book, Coggan leaves no stone unturned. The collapse of the Gold Standard, Bretton Woods, and the 2008 and subsequent sovereign debt crisis are all covered appropriately within this volume.
Rather than just been a simple chronological sweep of finance, phenomena such as bubbles, inflation, and monetary practices such as quantitative easing are all explained.
One is hardly left wanting for more, as most questions one is left asking after the events of recent years receive explanation.
As a book that, among many other things, focuses on the value of money, Paper Promises in itself is superb value for money, and an important asset for the investment portfolio of any economics enthusiast.
Despite its familiarity, money remains "a nebulous concept". Fortunately, Coggan is not a nebulous author, and in this clearly written guide he coordinates detail and theory in terms that this non-economist could (just about) follow. It's worth persevering through the intellectual vertigo and the numerical indigestion provoked by trade figures and debt ratios, especially given how crucial these issues are to all our lives. However, just as there there are no easy answers, there is no happy ending. Promises will be broken, and the result will be economic turmoil, as both debtors and creditors suffer. "The global economy is changing; for many in the West, it will not be for the better." Many of us might welcome a new order, but we should be aware that, "like so many of the goods sold in Western supermarkets, it will be made in China".
Coggan balances abstruse talk of the Triffin dilemma and the trilemma of currency policy (how do we juggle fixed exchange rates, free capital movements and interest rates?) with the kind of historical detail that we can all grasp (John Law hiring tramps to boost confidence in his emerging markets fund).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Eric Berne wrote a good book called Games People Play. Nations and Governments, I learnt from this book, play games with money. Read morePublished 5 months ago by William Cohen
Loved the writing style and anecdotes, particularly at the start. History parts were fascinating. Only drawback is publication date means the story and conclusions are already a... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
Yawn. I could write this book in one sentence. Money is worthless. That is literally the argument of the book.Published 23 months ago by Lobgod Piepsam
This simple book uses a series of simple historical cases to explain what money or currency really is, which forms the key fundamental bases of the modern financial market. Read morePublished on 4 Mar. 2014 by Cedric
Very readable book that gives both the history of money and explains the current situation. Not a bright outlook for the future though.Published on 28 Dec. 2013 by Stephen E. Stroud
This is one of the best books I have ever read about economics. The author combines evidence with theory to let you easily grasp his point as understand current and historical... Read morePublished on 29 Oct. 2013 by bart
It was great to see that what we are living through now is nothing new, and even though we think we are better than previous generations, the tools around money and finance have... Read morePublished on 7 Oct. 2013 by JB
I read this as part of my attempt to understand where the world is going. It helped that understanding. Read morePublished on 6 July 2013 by Mr. A Howie
One of the best books on the current global financial crisis. Definitely a recommended read for anyone interested in politics and economics. Read morePublished on 24 April 2013 by M. Van Deer Spuy
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