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Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises, Sixth Edition Paperback – September 27, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; Sixth Edition, Revised Edition edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674017455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230365353
  • ASIN: 0230365353
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Robert Aliber has produced superb update of the classic book by Charles Kindleberger which remains as relevant as ever." —Martin Wolf, Financial Times
 
"Underneath the hilarious anecdotes, the elegant epigrams, and the graceful turns of phrase, Kindleberger is deadly serious. The manner in which humans beings earn their livings is no laughing matter to him, especially when they attempt to do so at the expense of one another. As he so effectively demonstrates, manias, panics, and crashes are the consequence of an economic environment that cultivates cupidity, chicanery, and rapaciousness rather than a devout belief in the Golden Rule." —Peter L. Bernstein
 
"Professor Kindleberger has the welcome gifts of carrying lightly an immense weight of learning and of always using his imagination in deciding how to deploy it. These gifts are as evident as ever in his latest book." —W. Ashworth, Economic History Review
 
"Manias, Panics and Crashes is a scholarly account for the way that mismanagement of money and credit has led to financial explosions over the centuries." —Richard Lambert, Financial Times

"Charles Kindleberger has written, with great polish and style, an analysis of the stages of financial crises over the last two and a half centuries." —Patrick Minford, Economic Journal

"Alas, both the need for a book such as Manias, Panics and Crises, and the scale and coverage of its material, keep on increasing, almost exponentially. So much has happened in the last few years that this is now Bob Aliber’s book, as much as, perhaps more, than Charles Kindleberger’s. Aliber has maintained, indeed, enhanced, the prior high standards that Kindleberger set. The analysis, (giving pride of place to Minsky and to the role of credit expansion in driving asset price bubbles), and the judgement (that allowing Lehman Bros to fail was a disaster and that harping on the cliché of ‘too big to fail’ obscures proper assessment) are both first class. This is an entertaining and easily accessible book, filled with fascinating historical vignettes, and one that everyone from the experts to newcomers to the field should read and would profit greatly by doing so." —Charles Goodhart, London School of Economics

About the Author

Charles P. Kindleberger (1910 – 2003) was the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT for 33 years. He was a financial historian and prolific writer who has published 30 books.
 
Robert Aliber is Professor Emeritus of International Economics and Finance at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, where he has been a faculty member since 1965. His books include The New International Money Game, (Palgrave Macmillan) now in its seventh edition, as well as the book Your Money and Your Life.

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Customer Reviews

This is a very dry and boring book for you to read, at this moment I only read the half book.
steven meng
This is the best book on financial history I have ever read, by the greatest economic historian of the 20th century.
Shiraz Allidina
This book is a too comprehensive review of every little problem major economies have experienced over many years.
John W Newton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By AdamSmythe on September 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book provides an analytical treatment of the process of speculation and monetary expansion that has sometimes led to a variety of historical crises. These major crises don't necessarily occur frequently within a human lifespan, so it is important to study these historical episodes in order to gain a better understanding of some of their common characteristics. It was written by "literary economist" Charles Kindleberger through the first four editions in 1978, 1989, 1996 and 2000, and subsequently updated by Robert Aliber in the fifth and (this) sixth edition in 2005 and 2011. Kindleberger passed away in 2003 at age 92. Specifically, Kindleberger and Aliber identify and discuss common attributes of the speculation and crisis cycle using material from lots of historical episodes. This is not a chronological story of crisis after crisis, like Charles MacKay's classic 19th century work, "Memoirs of Extraordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds," which I recommend. Rather, it is a highly readable discussion of the processes in play, with observations and analyses developed from a wide variety of historical crises.

My reference to Kindleberger as a "literary economist" means two things: First, Kindleberger has focused on a discussion of key theoretical concepts in a language (clear English) that the intelligent lay reader can understand, not on the more widely used language of mathematical economics and econometrics that is so common in the field today. Second, in addition to writing in English rather than math, Kindleberger writes in a sufficiently engaging and interesting style that it shouldn't put you to sleep. Indeed, this is a very interesting work that addresses some of the most irrational bubbles in history (see below).
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By David Merkel on November 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is the first book that I have reviewed twice. I reviewed the third edition of the book previously, but I am reviewing the sixth edition now.

Kindleberger places the manias, panics, and crashes on a common grid, to see their similarities, In it he draws on a number of common factors:

* Loose monetary policy
* People chase the performance of the speculative asset
* Speculators make fixed commitments buying the speculative asset
* The speculative asset's price gets bid up to the point where it costs money to hold the positions
* A shock hits the system, a default occurs, or monetary policy starts contracting
* The system unwinds, and the price of the speculative asset falls leading to
* Insolvencies with those that borrowed to finance the assets
* A lender of last resort appears to end the cycle

The advantage over the third edition is that you get to hear about the Asian crisis LTCM, the tech bubble, Madoff, and the present crisis (banking & housing, soon to be sovereigns).

The main point for readers is to beware when monetary policy is easy, banking regulation is lax, and many seem to favor buying the asset du jour, often with leverage. What is self-reinforcing on the way up will be self-reinforcing on the way down, but with greater speed and ferocity, as bad debts have to be liquidated.

Quibbles

Hindsight is 20-20. If the US Government had rescued Lehman, something else might have proven to be "too big to rescue," that the government might allow to fail, but miss the connectedness of the institution. I do think the US Government should have been a DIP lender to troubled firms, but not a buyer of equity.

Who would benefit from this book: Most investors would benefit from this book. It will make you more skeptical of assets that seems to be doing unnaturally well; it will also make you more skeptical about catching falling knives in the market.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Dargy Badget on October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
I vastly preferred Kindleberger's earlier version of this text. Aliber seemed to suck much of the vitality out of this book by removing Kindleberger's occasional jabs at monetarism, and making sure the general narrative referenced the evolving intermediate and graduate level theory. It was as if Aliber edited the original with an eye to making it more like a textbook. Dry, convoluted, and stripped of a coherent perspective. Take a pithy and insightful comment of 50 words, then add 100 more to kill it. Kindleberger did not provide a radical critique, but his earlier version at least opened to the door to recognizing some unsavory trends. Aliber shut that door. Boo, Aliber.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By James East VINE VOICE on October 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
<Review of the 6th Edition>
Maybe not the definitive book on bubbles, speculation, and monetary expansion, but one can surely benefit from the knowledge obtained to avoid such casual financial distress to one's pocketbook. This 6th addition of Manics, Panics & Crashes is almost entirely re-written to include the relatively recent adventures and speculation in finance of the last 20 years. Beyond the exposé on the plethora of financial shenanigans over the last 300 years, a good amount of the text details the money flows during the old gold standard to assist in explaining causal reactions to the formation of bubbles and subsequent busts.

Surely many reading this review have experienced some effects described in the book, but nothing is really new as it has all been done before - just updated names for the same game (i.e. think Ponzi scheme). A worthy read for those interested in the history of financial shenanigans. However, the author's do assume you are aware of some of the classic Manics such as the Tulip Bubble and the Mississippi Company scheme. All in, is one is interested in financial history then this is an edition you would want to read.

The reader may be interested in Charles MacKay's classic "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" as a primer prior to reading this updated edition. As a side note, I was fortunate to read Extraordinary Popular Delusions nearly 20+ years ago and it saved me many headaches with the ability to spot several suspect adventures.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles MacKay

Of note: The typeset of Manias, Panics is a little tough and could have been a different font and 1/2 point larger. A little rough on older eyes.
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