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A Call for Judgment: Sensible Finance for a Dynamic Economy Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 7, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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"Events have raised large questions about the academic theories supporting the concept that our heavily 'engineered' financial markets are self-disciplined and efficiently allocate capital. Amar Bhidé's skeptical analysis should stimulate basic reconsideration."--Paul Volcker, chairman of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board and former chairman of the Federal Reserve


"This great book, Amar Bhidé's third in a decade, is an essential and distinct contribution in our hour of need. It first reformulates how modern capitalism does what it does best--innovation. Then, in high gear, it shows us how our capitalism has been brought down by a thousand cuts: the idea that rational investors always know precisely what they're doing, the perversion of the banking industry, the errors of deregulation and the striking errors in some new regulations. A Call for Judgment is not a cry for some auto da fé on Wall Street but rather a brilliant and reasoned plea for a basic revamp of our capitalist institutions so as to regain the dynamism of old."--Edmund S. Phelps, McVickar Professor of Political Economy and Director of the Center on Capitalism and Society, Columbia University, and 2006 Nobel laureate in Economics


"A Call for Judgment is an intellectual firecracker--full of wisdom, common sense, and hard-hitting reform proposals. Few other writers, if any, can match Amar Bhidé's deep knowledge of economic theory and historical detail with his first-hand experience in both entrepreneurship and real-world finance. It's hard to imagine a more useful analysis or guide for what must now be done."--Thomas K. McCraw, Straus Professor of Business History, Emeritus, Harvard Business School, author of Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction


"A Call for Judgment presents many interesting insights on necessary innovations in the world of today and tomorrow. Amar Bhidé prompts also some conclusions for improving the rules and ways for future banking-supervision in the United States. This book is a very positive contribution to a necessary debate."--Hans Tietmeyer, former president, Deutsche Bundesbank


"Amar Bhidé's analysis of the economic crisis that exploded on us a few years ago is extremely informative and thought provoking. He writes from an experience both in business, where he could see what was going on around him, and in academia, where he has had the time to study and reflect on what happened and why. Bhidé's discussion of what we need to do to avoid a recurrence is illuminating and persuasive."--Richard R. Nelson, George Blumenthal Professor of International and Public Affairs, Business, and Law, Emeritus, Columbia University and winner of the 2006 Honda Prize and co-author of An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change


About the Author


Amar Bhidé, Schmidheiny Professor at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, has served as Glaubinger Professor of Business at Columbia University, a consultant at McKinsey & Company and a proprietary trader at E.F. Hutton. Bhidé is a founding member of the Center on Capitalism and Society, editor of Capitalism and Society, and has written about the financial crisis in the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Forbes. Author of The Venturesome Economy, The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses, and Of Politics and Economic Reality, Bhidé received a doctorate and an MBA with high distinction from the Harvard Business School.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 18189th edition (October 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199756074
  • ASIN: B008PH36K6
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,432,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Since October 2008, many have written about the financial meltdown that sparked the Great Recession. Most books and articles were about "what" happened; very few attempted to write about "why" it happened.

These "what" and "why" attempts informed me but I learned little to draw lessons for corrective actions and for the future. These authors were like the proverbial blind men trying to describe the elephant by touching/feeling its different parts. Additionally these authors were academicians, journalists and financial engineers who wrote from limited perspectives of their own domain expertise or experience, mostly in finance, economics and financial journalism. These authors provided subjective views of a vested or inadvertent participant in the creation of the financial bubble.

I needed a detailed, objective view to learn about why financial meltdown came about and how it could be avoided in the future. Amar Bhidé's Call for Judgment went a long way in satiating that thirst.

Amar Bhidé is Schmidheiny Professor at Fletcher School, and has served as Glaubinger Professor of Business at Columbia University. His book is expansive in its scope.

It has broad content, drawing from scholarship and research in Economics, Finance, Government Regulation, Quantitative Sciences, and Innovation. Bhidé uses his deep knowledge of theory and practice in these seemingly disconnected disciplines to support and tear apart deeply rooted contentions and practices.

Additionally, it is expansive in its time horizons. Bhidé is a credible business researcher and historian. He goes as far back as is necessary, sometimes several centuries, to provide details that evolved and contributed to our current situation.
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Format: Hardcover
Professor Bhide is absolutely correct in his prescription for ending the current big banking business and spurring creation of smaller banks. Smaller banks that are more focused on the lending and not speculating in investment securities or selling insurance, can provide much needed boost to small businesses throughout America.

The giant banking enterprises of today have lost touch with lending (their primary function) and have instead focused on offering a whole host of investment and insurance services. The repeal of Glass Steagall in 1999 allowed traditional banks to do investment banking. Banks thereby engaged in high "risk-high-reward" bets tied to mortgages and eventually those bets led to their downfall in 2008.

As a CPA, I see so many businesses hindered by lack of lending. The big banks are simply unable to look beyond highly inefficient quantitative measures of creditworthiness. In addition to quantitative metrics, lending of the past focused on qualitative aspects of borrowers-expertise, experience, industry, competitive advantage etc. The large scale banking of today simply has no room for qualitative judgments as loans have become commodities that are sold on Wall Street.

A return to the basics of lending should help more businesses and individuals qualify for loans and get our moribund economy going. I strongly support Dr. Bhide's call for reinstatement of Glass Steagall, whereby commercial banks are restricted to only accepting deposits and making loans. In Mr. Bhide's words, "we need to separate utility banking from casino banking.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an important book which should be read by everyone who wants to better understand how finance impacts society. Prof. Bhide's argument is really one of where knowledge lies, who should make decisions, and how having those best placed to make them will enhance society. He persuasively outlines why decentralized judgment and using prices allows for better decisions and greater innovation. The book then provides a strong critique of much of modern finance. Finally, Prof. Bhide presents a logical proposal for reform. Well written, comprehensive and pulls form a wide variety of sources. This is an important book for anyone interested in how our financial system affects our lives and what can be done to improve it.
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Format: Hardcover
Decentralized decision making is essential to capitalism. Entrepreneurial inspiration and innovation can advance society faster than the slow march of a centralized, government-planned economy. But like government bureaucracies that become unmanageably large, oversized banks also can impede progress. Simply allowing market forces to determine the size and scope of the big banks is debatable public policy, but bank mergers have led to centralization and to the mechanization of lending, thus adding systemic risk to the US banking system. This far-reaching book includes a rich history of this industry's development and a detailed account of its destabilizing role in the 2008 financial panic. Amar Bhidé - a business professor and a trader -describes more than he prescribes, and his prescription is as controversial as it is compact: Limit severely what banks can do. getAbstract recommends the book to readers seeking a deeper understanding of how financial institutions drive, and sometimes derail, the entire economy.
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