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on 30 July 2017
Since the banking crisis in 2007 and the eurozone crisis in 2010, both of which have made me poorer, I've started to take an interest in global politics and economics, and this book has really helped me. There's a brilliant interview with the author by London Real that you can watch for fee on YouTube. If you just read this book and 'the ascent of money' by Nial Ferguson you'll have a much better understanding of what's going on in the world.

If you're even remotely interested in the global economy, or want to understand what's going on in the world with regard to money this book is a great eye opener. One of the most interesting books I've ever read and I can't recommend it highly enough.
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on 29 December 2015
I found this a highly readable account of some of the possible outcomes of the policies adopted by major central banks in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007/08. How likely any of these outcomes are and too what extent the book was written to be a bestseller rather than a serious study I couldn't say. Rickards' makes much of the era of the classic gold standard (1870-1914) as a period of high growth and benign deflation, both of which he seems to attribute to the gold standard. I found myself suspicious of this - the same period was one in which, in both the USA and Europe colonial expansion and the appropriation of the land of native peoples provided abundant and virtually free resources. Surely this would provide at least as good an explanation of that growth as the nature of the monetary system? It was this that left me questioning to what extent facts had been shaped to fit Rickards' argument as opposed to Rickards' argument being shaped by facts. That's not to say that the argument isn't worth listening to and thinking about. I've long believed that if a significant portion of the oil producers decided to request payment in something other than US$ and Rickards shows just how and why such a thing may happen.
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on 7 June 2013
Currency Wars is without a shadow a doubt both a scholarly and imaginitive work. Rickards touches on a much discussed theme in modern economics, the increasing stress and viability of the dollar. In some ways this work is similar to Barry Eichengreen's Exorbitant Privilege, however Rickards looks at a more global scale of currency collapses, and provides both historical precedents, and possible scenarios in which the dollar could collapse.
Additionally, the book contains some decent critiques of economic schools of thought, such as Keynesianism, Monetarism, and Financial Economics, as well as a decent critique of complexity theory. While not simply an economic text book, Rickards provides his own critique and insights to the strength and failings of these approaches.
Currency Wars provides a decent history of monetary policy, and an ample divination of what could come if decent policy is not implemented, and mistakes of the past are not learned from.
The only criticism I have of Currency Wars is the opening. The war games introduction is too wordy, and filled with details that the readers of the book did not intend to read.
On the whole, an excellent and thought provoking book. More suited for those already familiar with economics, but accessible to all provided it is read carefully and terms are referenced.
I can only hope that this finds its way onto the desks of Ben Bernanke and Barack Obama.
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on 11 September 2013
James Rickards mind opening book reveals in one easily accessible volume the International function and Geo-political implications of fiat money. The book challenges contemporary Neo-Classical theory on the role, function and importance of currency.

To the uninitiated there is only one kind of debt, arising from individuals or organizations borrowing money from each other, yet there is another entirely different kind of debt, a debt between economic or currency regions, known as a balance of payment. In simple terms, when a country imports more than it exports, it relies on another country/region to do the work whilst it receives the benefit, this shows up in its balance of payments as a negative trade balance, i.e. the country now owes a certain amount of its currency to the surplus country. In the not so recent past, such imbalances were addressed through various Gold Standard Systems. Today we are told no such controls are necessary. For some countries this works just fine, notably the United States and Britain, but for the majority of countries it is a route to disaster, as they inevitably experience a run on their currency and need to ask the IMF and other International institutions to provide funds to bridge their balance of payments gap. We all know what happens then!

How much currency can a country create, and to what extent will this currency retain its relative value. This seems to be an interesting question.

"Currency Wars" sets out the historical changes to the International monetary system leading up to the present day. It reveals its weaknesses and speculates as to its future. It is certain that one-day change will come and the dominant world powers will need to find ways to stay competitive without relying on the dominance of their currencies and the power of their armies. The question remains, when it all comes crashing down, will it happen slowly or all of a sudden.
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on 19 December 2016
Currency wars is a very good book. It gives a good historical perspective to the monetary system we find ourselves in today. It also provides a good analyss of the financial crisis. I found the sections on the impact of VAR and complex systems very interesting. All in all a very good book and would highly recommend it to anyone fed up of mainstream financial news and analysis and other bulls*** from the Keynes and monetarists schools of thought.
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on 23 June 2013
Typically we expect wars to be fought on the battle field, involving soldiers, guns and tanks. Mr. James Rickards shows that the next war may be fought in the dealing rooms and the central bank offices. His book is a warning towards the political and security agencies not only to focus on conventional arms.

Currency wars? Nil novo sub sole. The latest financial crisis triggered already the third version in less than a hundred years. The set up of central banks as a lender of last resort (but at the expense of Joe Sixpack's savings) and the end of the gold standard created chaos in the financial system.

After Keynes gave politicians an excuse to misinterpret his theory and to let go budget discipline, central banks (Bernanke, Draghi, etc.) created monetary disorder by printing money without any backing. Keeping in mind how difficult it is to get the genie back in the bottle regarding public spending, the author is as pessimistic that monetary policy will ever be redirected for the better. His concluding piece of advice: put your money in hard assets like gold and land! At least decent food for thought...
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on 23 May 2015
Brilliant book by an insider in the field. Not to be read lightly as you may have nightmares about what is going to happen to your pension. But certainly allows you to see clearly what is happening out there today. Sad that no-one sees fit to run courses for ordinary people.....
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on 3 November 2017
Excellent.
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on 3 July 2017
don't miss it
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on 13 December 2016
Tricky to read at times,perhaps because I do not usually read economics, but always interesting to read. I have learned much I did not know that has added to my understanding of history during the Great Depression.
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