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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.
This all being said, the weaknesses of the book really lie in sections where Rickards goes beyond reporting history to promulgating ideas of a coming collapse, much of which is based on some assumptions he makes about the importance of gold and how nations will respond to the slightest hiccup in confidence in fiat currencies like the US dollar. For example, the opening chapters are actually pretty interesting as the author lets us in on the first ever "financial war games" exercise sponsored by the US government (he got to play a major role due to research he'd done on systematic weaknesses in financial markets). The funny thing is the author tells of how he basically rigs the exercise to go in the direction he wants by commiserating with a friend over dinner (who is assigned to an opposing team) to push for a coordinated interest in launching a new gold-backed currency. The plan initially backfires and is almost not allowed by moderators until Rickards rallies support, then sells all of his team's gold to the opponent in a sort of self-sacrifice effort to make his friend's plan work after all! If anything, it shows how fragile world economics are at present where a strategic blunder by one nation could turn into absolute turmoil if other nations also make small mistakes in response.
The meat of the book is in the three sections on Currency War 1, 2 and 3. It is interesting to get a perspective also on the G20 conferences and responses to the latest financial crisis. His later chapters on the IMF and their use of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) is also enlightening and a good intro to learn more on this topic that might grow considerably in importance. I think the chapter on the hypothetical of returning to a gold standard and its implications should be taken with a grain of salt. What I did appreciate though was his response to Ben Bernanke's research on the role of gold in worsening the Great Depression. This is an important discussion he left out of his book The New Case for Gold. All in all, its a good quick read and I think you'll enjoy it.
international struggle for economic domination, and as pawns they are among the first casualties. The book offers a lively history of the debasement of all the paper currencies which has occurred as a result of the gamesmanship among nations and the ineptitude of the politicians.
The US dollar has lost 97% of its purchasing power since the Federal Reserve was established in 1913. Mr. Rickard's book offers several scenarios as to the fate of the last 3%. The recent failed Bund auction in Germany should have been a wake up call for America. But no one is paying attention!
Buy this book while the few dollars it costs still have the wherewithal to buy anything!