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Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis Paperback – August 28, 2012
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“One of the scariest books I’ve read this year. The picture that emerges is dark yet comprehensive and satisfying.” — Bloomberg Businessweek
“One of the most urgent books of the fall.” — Mike Allen, Politico
“Let’s hope he’s wrong.” — Financial Times
“Unsettling…fascinating…a thorough analysis of how nations have manipulated their currencies…with disastrous consequences.” — Fort Worth Star-Telegram
About the Author
James Rickards is a counselor, investment banker, and risk manager with over thirty years' experience in capital markets. He advises the Department of Defense, the U.S. intelligence community, and major hedge funds on global finance, and served as a facilitator of the first ever financial war games conducted by the Pentagon. A frequent guest on CNBC, CNN, Fox, C-SPAN, Bloomberg TV, and NPR, Rickards also lectures at Northwestern University and at the School of Advanced International Studies.
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The author explains well that in recent decades, global economy grew in complexity due to globalization, and how central banks and short term political decisions, endanger us all and pave the way to the next economic crisis.
The main theme of the book is that the world is already heading toward a full-blown currency war which will bring even harsher economic turmoil to the world economy than the one we experienced in the last three years since the housing bubble burst in the U.S.
Rickards explores in depth, basing his arguments on past currency wars such as the one after WW1 between several European countries and the U.S., and why currency wars are a lose-lose situation. In short, Rickards's main argument is that countries around the world are devaluing their currencies in order to boost their exports (domestically produced goods and services will be cheaper for foreigners) thereby increasing their GDP. However, such actions will frequently be met by mutual currency devaluation by other countries or by some protectionist policy such as tariffs. Therefore, countries will gain a temporary advantage until other countries retaliate, the end result of which will be: inflation brought on from currency devaluation, protectionism and the halt of free trade, thus - wealth destruction. And in a worst case scenario, an outright military conflict.
As was mentioned above, I found Rickards's thesis to be well argued and backed with plenty of historical facts. To sum up, this book just has it all, great and engaging writing, fascinating economic history, and shrewd analysis of the current and coming global crisis.
Drawbacks? This is an esoteric, complex arena of discussion. I have much more formal "economics" training than most, and I was scratching my head on a number of occasions. This is certainly not a flaw of this book. It was well written, and as clearly written as the subject matter allowed. But, it is a step or two above light evening reading.
Two highlights: I found the author's integration of "chaos" or "Complexity Theory" a fascinating and somewhat surprising approach to the stated problem of the book. In so doing, he has opened up what may prove to be a very fruitful avenue for further explanation and critique.
A second highlight and fascinating window on the problem was the author's personal experiences around military "war-gaming" using currency manipulations as a strategy. Really illustrates the problem well.
Admittedly, I do not understand all the intricacies of national and international banking. But the chapters on currency manipulation as a military strategy, and the chapter on "Complexity Theory" are alone worth the read. Having said that, the rest of the book is still very well structured and written. A must read for anyone seriously interested in really understanding the current global financial situation. If you are like me, you will come away from this book with a few good answers - but also many more questions than you started with. But they will be really good questions!
Most recent customer reviews
In the end you understand something about curency war