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The Bank of England: 1950s to 1979 (Studies in Macroeconomic History) Hardcover – July 20, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0521192828 ISBN-10: 052119282X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Macroeconomic History
  • Hardcover: 920 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (July 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052119282X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521192828
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,467,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Forrest Capie has written an invaluable work of impeccable historical scholarship. Not only do we now have a scrupulously researched and beautifully written history of the Bank of England from Attlee to Thatcher, a work of reference that all students of financial history will come to revere. We also gain some fascinating insights into the way an earlier generation grappled with the problems of financial regulation, inflation, asset bubbles, and banking crises." - Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History, Harvard University, and William Ziegler Professor, Harvard Business School

"Outstanding scholarship . . . well written . . . and showing a fine independence of judgment." - Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach

"Forrest Capie brings the sure hand of an economist to the task of describing the intellectual confusion that besieged the Bank of England as it tried to establish its role as a central bank responsible for easing the British economy through the difficult adjustments required between 1950 and 1979. But he also displays his talent as an historian in depicting the drama of the personal conflicts, compromises, and eventual triumphs that occurred within the leadership of the Bank as they confronted first the constraints of fixed exchange rates with capital controls while dealing with the demands of the Treasury, and then the collapse of both fixed exchange rates and capital controls in the 1970s. A compelling saga of the world's oldest central bank as it tested various paths leading toward an effective role in financial globalization." - Larry Neal, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"Forrest Capie provides what will certainly be the definitive account of the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street's varying fortunes though the second third of the 20th century. The history is brought to life by its numerous portraits of the principal actors and its clear-eyed judgments on their work. A magnificent achievement." - Robert Pringle, Founder and Chairman of Central Banking Publications

"A masterful, well-contextualised account of the Bank at the summit of its traditional responsibilities and the peak of its personnel. Authoritative and meticulous yet accessible and colourful, it is an indispensable addition to postwar financial and economic history. Along with forerunner volumes by Clapham, Sayers and Fforde, Capie's study is destined to become a classic." - Richard Roberts, Director, Centre for Contemporary British History, King's College, London

"Forrest Capie... has not only written a meticulously researched, scholarly account of the history of 'the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street' from Attlee to Thatcher, but he has produced a cogent analysis of how the bank managed the exchange rate and administered monetary policy controls before the banking instability and the raging inflation of the 1970s saw its powers curtailed. A potentially dry subject is enlivened by Mr Capie's insights on the personal conflicts and compromises among the bank's leaders as they grappled with the challenges of the day." - The Economist Intelligence Unit

"This thorough and interesting account is an indispensable reference for anyone who would understand the Bank of England, or more generally the theories, institutions, and politics of British economic policies before the changes that followed 1979." - John H. Wood, Wake Forest University,

Book Description

This history of the Bank of England takes its story from the 1950s to the end of the 1970s. This period probably saw the peak of the Bank's influence and prestige, as it dominated the financial landscape. But economic policy was a failure, and sluggish output, banking instability, and rampant inflation characterized the 1970s.

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Review for Amazon
This is a very valuable book. The historical importance of the Bank of England to discussions of evolving debates about the nature of governance and the meanings of policy and policy rationalities is clear. This was and is an institution of governance in the United Kingdom of major importance, with its role widely researched and debated. Capie's book, one of a series of official histories of the Bank, is therefore an important part of an important history. Capie himself is an economist, an established British academic, and his history - his perspective - is thus part of the history of these things - and here the reader gets both insights into the history of the Bank in the period from the 1950s to the late 1970s, and how, some 40 years later, that history is now understood.
Capie's focus is upon two main areas: first, the role of the Bank in macroeconomic policy; second, on the various debates associated with policy and its implementation. A central part of this story are the legacies in the 1970s of the many troubles of the 1960s, when governments sought to control markets that were already not able to operate freely (the exchange rate was of course fixed for much of the period) to manage the familiar problems of Britain's relative economic decline. In the early 1970s the policy set known as Competition and Credit Control freed up financial markets, marking a fundamental change in governance relations and the position of British financial markets and institutions within the national political economy.
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