No doubt most of you will be heading to the beach for part of the summer holidays. Here are a couple of books that look like a good read. I will be back on the blog in the middle of January.
Paper Promises: Money, Debt and the New World Order [Paperback] by Phillip Coggan
In today’s financial climate, we are all, naturally, obsessed by debt. In almost every aspect of our life we experience it – on our credit cards, mortgages, bank loans and student loans. But where has this debt come from? How does it work? What is any money really worth? And what promises do we need to believe to keep the whole system afloat?
In this fascinating look at money through the ages – including our own unstable future – award-winning financial journalist Philip Coggan examines the flawed structure of the global finance systems as they exist today, and asks, with deeper imbalances that the world is currently facing, what’s actually at stake. Amazon.co.uk
Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What It Means for the World [Hardcover] by Dambisa Moyo.
Commodities permeate virtually every aspect of modern daily living, but for all their importance—their breadth, their depth, their intricacies, and their central role in daily life—few people who are not economists or traders know how commodity markets work. Almost every day, newspaper headlines and media commentators scream warnings of impending doom–shortages of arable land, clashes over water, and political conflict as global demand for fossil fuels outstrips supply. The picture is bleak, but our grasp of the details and the macro shifts in commodities markets remain blurry.
Winner Take All is about the commodity dynamics that the world will face over the next several decades. In particular, it is about the implications of China’s rush for resources across all regions of the world. The scale of China’s resource campaign for hard commodities (metals and minerals) and soft commodities (timber and food) is among the largest in history. To be sure, China is not the first country to launch a global crusade to secure resources. From Britain’s transcontinental operations dating back to the end of the 16th century, to the rise of modern European and American transnational corporations between the mid 1860’s and 1870’s, the industrial revolution that powered these economies created a voracious demand for raw materials and created the need to go far beyond their native countries. Amazon.com
How Do We Fix This Mess?: The Economic Price of Having it All, and the Route to Lasting Prosperity [Hardcover] by Robert Preston
In Robert Peston’s new book he explains in his characteristically straightforward way how the world got itself into the current economic mess – and how we might get out of it.
‘How do we fix this mess? I don’t know. But don’t stop reading now. Perhaps if we have a clearer understanding of what went wrong, we’ll have a better idea of what needs to be done. This book is a map of what needs to be fixed.’
The record-breaking unbroken growth between 1992 and 2008 wasn’t the economic miracle that it seemed. It was based on a number of dangerous illusions – most notably that it didn’t matter that the UK and US year after year consumed more than they earned.
But we couldn’t go on increasing our indebtedness forever. The financial crash of 2007/8 and the subsequent economic slump in much of the west was the moment when we realised we had borrowed more than we could afford to repay. Amazon.co.uk