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Guardians of Finance: Making Regulators Work for Us Hardcover – February 10, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; First Edition, First Printing edition (February 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262017393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262017398
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This book will become a classic for those who want to learn what was behind the global financial crisis -- not just what went wrong, but why current reforms won't work. Most important, it offers guidelines to prevent the next crisis by forcing regulators, the Guardians of Finance, to work for the public interest rather than for narrow elites.

(Nouriel Roubini, Co-Founder and Chairman, Roubini Global Economics)

This book involves a strongly, even passionately, argued attack on financial regulators for having made a mess of financial regulation, prior to 2007. It is beautifully written, and very well designed to achieve a wide audience of readers who are interested in the crisis, but are not necessarily themselves expert. It is based on great academic expertise, but wears its deep scholarship lightly, with no maths and no equations.

(Charles Goodhart, London School of Economics)

There have been plenty of books on the financial crisis. But this one is different. While acknowledging that private financiers did plenty of damage, the authors shine the spotlight on regulators across the world. They argue that the crisis did not just happen to policymakers, it happened because of them, and offer careful and well-reasoned arguments to support their case. Guardians of Finance should be read by everyone interested in the future of free enterprise.

(Raghuram G. Rajan, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business)

Financial crises are not in the interests of bankers, regulators, or politicians. Yet all three groups did nothing as the U.S. financial system headed over a cliff. Why didn't they act? Why did their counterparts in other countries, such as Ireland and Iceland, also stick their heads in the sand? Is there a way to prevent the next crisis, or do we have to rely on the same groups that brought us the ongoing disaster of 2007? Read this meticulously researched and clearly argued book, and learn the answers.

(Stephen Haber, Stanford University)

This is a timely, well-written, and nontechnical book by established experts in the field.

(R.Grossman, Choice)

For those involved in policy formulation and regulation, whether at national or international level, in government or financial institutions, this is compulsory reading.

(Richard Parlour, Central Banking Journal)

About the Author

James R. Barth is Lowder Eminent Scholar in Finance at Auburn University and Senior Finance Fellow at the Milken Institute.

Gerard Caprio Jr. is William Brough Professor of Economics and Chair of the Center for Development Economics at Williams College.

Ross Levine is the Willis H. Booth Chair in Banking and Finance at the University of California, Berkeley, and Senior Fellow at the Milken Institute.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The authors' writing are strikingly clear and explained the issue crystal clear.
marshall
The book makes a strong case of how officials are abusing their power and not working for the public at large and it suggests a way to fix the fundamental problems.
Oscar
The book makes learning about financial regulation exciting and highly enjoyable.
Eric

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By marshall on March 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I came to the topic of financial crisis with lots of misconceptions and held on to them until I read that book (actually drafts of this book) when taking a class with Prof. Caprio. Using ample evidence, the authors convincingly questioned the conventional wisdom that universal banking or financial liberalization is the ill of the problem, and debunked regulators' claim that the financial crisis is a perfect storm, not due to failed regulation. They pointed to the center of the problem--distorted incentive goes unregulated. The authors' writing are strikingly clear and explained the issue crystal clear. Highly recommend!

The only sad thing of reading the book is that one would recognize the recent reforms like macro-prudential regulations do not address the real problem--distorted incentives, and we could expect another financial crisis, more costly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Oscar on March 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow. You just don't get this information and insight from the talking heads and the politicians. This clear and readable book is written by top-notch economists who educate us about what happened in the recent financial crisis; what is happening in the financial system; and it reviews financial regulation. The book makes a strong case of how officials are abusing their power and not working for the public at large and it suggests a way to fix the fundamental problems. It really gets at the heart of the issue by examining the roots of the global financial crisis that were building since the mid-1990s, rather than just telling stories about who did what after Lehman Brothers failed. This book teaches us about what is driving the problems and with that understanding the authors' propose solutions. It is a unique advance beyond the previous literature about the recent financial crisis.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Louise on March 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Since the bursting of the real estate bubble in 2008, numerous books have been published claiming to provide the definitive narrative of what caused the financial crisis. From this milieu, Guardians of Finance stands out. The novel direction of this work cannot be overstated. The authors' diagnosis of the financial crisis pushes against the now cliche story line floating in the zeitgeist by providing an immensely detailed understanding of current and past financial regulatory regimes. One only hopes this is being read by politicians as well. The book is readable and thoughtful - not an easy task!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nate Shepard on March 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who read the newspaper through the days of the financial crisis can quote verbatim the story line blaming financiers. Levine, Barth, Caprio have chosen to raise the level of the discussion and actually search for answers. A most impressive and novel work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Beth on March 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is an important book about what was really happening and not happening "behind the scenes" during our most recent crisis. Everyone should know about the financial regulators' role - and this book makes that possible in an engaging way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By steverino on March 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Any reader of "Guardians of Finance" will be simultaneously outraged by the inadequacy of the world's financial regulatory systems and frustrated by the extreme difficulty involved in engineering a system that will mitigate future financial crises. If the message of this book is absorbed by the movers and shakers, it will be among the most important books of the past hundred years. Only time will reveal the validity of "The Sentinel" concept but intuitively it seems like a reasonable starting place.

Stephen Marburg, PhD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric on March 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic book that provides expert understanding of financial regulators' role in the recent crisis in an easy-to-read and accessible way. The book makes learning about financial regulation exciting and highly enjoyable. The intricacies of financial regulation described in the book are fascinating and often unsettling.

Guardians of Finance does not simply blame Wall Street or Main Street for the crisis. Rather, the book takes a nuanced approach, examining how poor regulatory decisions and structure created incentives that promoted actions leading to the crisis. Additionally, the authors propose a new regulatory structure to help align the behavior of financial regulators with the public interest.

The book analyzes complex problems in an informative and readable manner accessible to anyone. This is a phenomenal read for anyone who wishes to better understand the role played by financial regulators in the recent financial crisis, what went wrong, and how we can fix it.
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