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Money, Greed, and Risk: Why Financial Crises…
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Money, Greed, and Risk: Why Financial Crises and Crashes Happen

by Charles R. Morris

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812931734, Hardcover)

Imagine the American republic of the 19th century: at the beginning, a sparsely populated agrarian nation where the president, Thomas Jefferson, fords rivers on horseback to make it to his own inauguration; at the end of the century, it's a land of densely populated cities, teeming with factories and linked by a network of railroads. This extraordinary transition--and all the economic upheavals that went along with it--is described in the opening chapters of Money, Greed, and Risk, and provides the historical context for a broader look at how booms and busts happen. Charles Morris tells the story of American financial markets by looking at its larger-than-life characters: Nicholas Biddle (the first U.S. central banker), Jay Gould (a much-hated financial genius who patched together a network of rail lines), steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, oil baron John D. Rockefeller, and, of course, J.P. Morgan, who made America the world's banker. By the time these men had all passed from public life, the U.S. economy had changed from a primitive system that could be bent to the will of a single financier, such as Morgan, to a sophisticated, highly regulated, world-dominating conglomeration of massive corporations.

Then along came Michael Milken and things changed again. Morris makes this chronicle entertaining and enlightening, although the reader is expected to have some previous knowledge of finance and history. He finds connections where we don't expect them--for example, linking the leverage tactics of junk-bond king Milken to early-19th-century "wildcat" bankers. He also makes it easy to understand the accordion-like expansions and contractions in the world's developing economies. Once you've read this book, you'll feel as if you've seen everything before. --Lou Schuler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:43 -0400)

Discusses financial cycles, the influence of the American financial system, the causes of the current economic situation, globalization, and financial geniuses.

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