Monday, April 20, 2009

Lords of Finance, Liaquat Ahamed

The full title of this book is Lords of Finance, The Bankers who Broke the World, by Liaquat Ahamed. This is yet another book on the causes and cures of the Great Depression. This book is very readable and it shows you another aspect of the events around the Great Depression that are not usually discussed.

If you think that the people who are trying to resolve our current crisis know what they are doing, think again. If they are still arguing about the causes and cures of the Great Depression, how can anyone think that it is clear what should be done today. Although, as with any past economic crisis, the problems must be addressed by politicians and bankers in order for the economies involved to move on.

There have been a number of books about the Great Depression and Roosevelt. Conrad Black wrote a book about how Roosevelt saved capitalism. What ever else you might think about Conrad Black, he is a terrific writer. Of course, others have written about how Roosevelt prolonged the recession. The two main legacies from Roosevelt are the Glass-Steagall Act and the farm support policies. People still debate their merits; and passed and current helpfulness today.

In this book, Ahamed takes a different approach and concentrates on what would be Federal Reserve bankers today. He talks about mainly about Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, Emile Moreau of the Banque de France, Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank and Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The book is great history, if nothing else.

One of the things he brings up is the relationship between Germany and France prior to the 2nd World War. France really did not suffer in the Great Depression and Germany was in great economic turmoil from the end of the 1st World War. France was determined to get reparations from Germany because of the 1st World War. There were many Germans who begged France to help Germany recover economically, but France ignored all their pleas. The Germans felt if there was no help coming for them, then there would be some sort of revolution in Germany with bad results. How right they were.

There is a review of this book at New York Times. See an article by Ahmed at Blogs and Stories. Also, see some questions and answers at The New Yorker. To see an interview with Ahmed, see YouTube.

This book review and other books I have reviewed are on my website at Also on my website is how to find this book on Amazon if you care to purchase it. See Ahmed.

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