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Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalization Hardcover – December 7, 2010

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


'"Brown's] book is gripping because his matter-of-fact recounting of the early months of the crisis conveys the dilemmas and angst of polictymakers as they tried to handle the biggest economic drama in decades… The book conveys well Brown's sense of history, the rapid pace of change in the global economy and the failures of unfettered markets to manage things on their won. But it also conveys his moral sensibilities. He was a finance Minster who realized that finance was not an end in itself; that the true gauge of an economy was how it affected the well-being of its citizens. He was concerned about unemployment, not just inflation…. What is clear from this book is that Brown knew what needed to be done and tried to do it at a time when others were paralysed, captured by the financial community, or deluded by their past mistakes into trying to underestimate the severity of the crisis that their policies has helped create." --Joseph Stiglitz, Financial Times

"When the economic crisis erupted in 2008-9, Brown, like Churchill in 1940, was the right man in the right place at the right time. He'd had 10 years as chancellor of the exchequer. He'd read widely and thought deeply about economics, finance, globalization. He was the one national leader who came to the crisis with a plan and the authority to push it through...This is his story of how he did it, told soberly, clearly, compellingly. It is not a defence of his premiership, but his personal account of a heroic moment in it. He does not claim credit for "saving the world", but lets the story speak for itself, and praises the contribution of his own team and the other world leaders. It is an interrupted story, because he did not survive long enough politically to finish the job. Since he left the scene efforts to co-ordinate recovery policies have fallen to pieces. This is the measure of his achievement – and the hole that his departure left." --Robert Skidelsky, The Guardian

About the Author

  Gordon Brown served as British Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party from 2007 to 2010. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1997 to 2007, making him the longest-serving Chancellor in modern history. Brown's time as Chancellor was marked by major reform of Britain's monetary and fiscal policy and sustained investment in health, education, and overseas aid. As Prime Minister, his tenure coincided with the recent financial crisis, and he was one of the first to initiate calls for global financial action; his administration also simultaneously introduced a range of rescue measures within the country. Brown has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Edinburgh, and he spent his early career working as a television journalist. He has been a Member of Parliament since 1983. He is married to Sarah Brown, a charity campaigner, and the couple has two young sons.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451624050
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451624052
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Gordon Brown is the real thing, a politician with a world-class intellect and competence to match. We should have more politicians like him in this country. It took just a few pages of reading to realize that this is going to be a very interesting read. Yes, Brown puts himself in a favorable light. Do you know a politician that doesn't? What was very impressive to me was the statistics that he used. We have great problems in this country when our politicians speak because it is very difficult to trust the numbers that they used. They are simply always suspect.

The difference between this book and the 3 dozen others that have been written about the financial crisis of 2008 is that Gordon Brown was there, right in the midst of it. He was talking to all the players involved whether they were other world leaders, finance ministers, or in our country, Bush, Bernanke, Paulsen, Summers, or Geithner. He quotes the people involved and pulls no punches.

Brown builds an excellent framework for understanding the GLOBAL ECONOMY. Actually, it's the best explanation I have seen in writing in years. The book is endlessly fascinating and if you want to know how the world is going to develop over the next generation, Brown probably lays out the scenario as well as anything you are going to see in print.

He also believes that the crisis is not over yet, and that unless we intervene now, we are simply setting ourselves up for another crisis. Here are a few of the salient, and most interesting points made in this book:

* The global financial system simply FROZE. We were in danger of the ATM machines not working. Wages wouldn't be paid and we were going to slide right into another GREAT DEPRESSION. Anybody think we should not have intervened.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By AS on December 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book isn't a political memoir of Brown's time as prime minister but rather an analysis of the crash and proposals for moving beyond it from someone who was 'there at the time'.

Although light on personal details there are some poignant glimses in to family life at Number 10 during key moments of the crisis (and immense personal stress).

Some parts are pretty technical but, compared to other books on the subject, it clearly benefits from being written by a politician rather than an academic economist.

It's quite a good read, but take my advice and skip the 15 tedious pages of acknowledgements: go straight to the action on page one instead.
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Gia Maisashvili on December 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Former prime minister describes and explains the crisis so clearly and gives an interesting frame work for policy makers as well as everyone interested in politics, economics, history, future of our societies.
This narrative walks the reader through the extraordinary stressful environment of modern governance and decision making at the highest level. He himself was the coolest head at the time of global crisis and wisest statesman around at the moment the cool was in a very short supply. This book is a brilliant study of modern governance and economic policy making. It's a pity that he is out of government. But hope that his knowledge and talent could be used for the benefit of us all. He is very solid and full of substance but unfortunately not very charismatic that today's style rather substance driven 24 hour cable news cycle world requires. I hope he writes more, lectures more and stays active.
Read this book that is already a required reading at many great universities, Kennedy school of government at Harvard University for one. I run the leadership school in Tbilisi, Georgia and students will be using it as a study in crisis leadership. I recommend this book to anybody in any leadership position; you will do yourselves a great favor. You will learn lot about government, setting an agenda, awareness of an ego of lots of prima donnas, and dealing in a pressure cooker environment at highest decision making. I ran against the presidency of Georgia and used many of Gordon Brown's ideas and concepts that you find here. Now that I live here in the US in political exile, I still use it to teach students as well as people in corporate America. He is a pragmatic idealist and that is the future of progressive politics.Congratulations Mr. Prime Minister and thanks
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on March 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ex-Chancellor, ex-Prime Minister, Gordon Brown claims not to know what the City does: he writes that after Lehman's went bust, "I was furious to discover that other major banks too were recklessly using their customers' own money to speculate." Does he think we are so stupid as to believe that he was so naïve?

Again, he writes that, until 2008, we "had not fully appreciated that moral norms were not constraining the behaviour of those competing across complex and interlocked global entities that covered both shadow and formal banking systems." Yet Brown had been calling (fruitlessly) for constraining `moral norms' for years.

In 2008-9, global GDP fell by 5 per cent. More than 25 per cent of US and EU industrial capacity is idle. In the USA, wages have fallen, long-term unemployment is at a record high, 26 per cent of teenagers are jobless and 18.9 million families are receiving food stamps. 47 million people are jobless in the highly industrialised countries, 200 million in all the industrialised countries. Brown admits that on current policies, unemployment will stay high for the next few years. Global poverty is growing, as are globalisation's other consequences: `climate change, financial instability, inequality, and risks to security ...'

He claims, "this global problem does not offer simple national solutions" and "cannot be resolved without coordinated action." He asserts, "By committing huge resources to investment in its industries, China has been unable to substantially expand the income of its citizens", less than a page after he had noted, "In the past three decades 400 million Chinese people have escaped extreme poverty and millions have joined the middle classes.
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