Kindleberger C. (1991) An early manic episod

December 25, 2009

Kindleberger, Charles P. (1991) The economic Crisis of 1619 and 1623. The Journal of Economic History, 51/1 : 149-175.


Introduction

The early European 17th century has commonly been described as the troublesome transition from a medieval to a modern economy (p.149). The multi-layered crisis of 1619-23 is a perfect embodiment of the woes of the time. However, the author’s “interest in that crisis does not concern its potential role as a catalyst of modern economies, but rather its function in the mechanism for the spread of a primarily financial crisis from one part of Europe to another” (p.150). Read the rest of this entry »


Flandreau M. et al. (2009) The question was not how to develop finance

August 30, 2009

Flandreau, Marc, Christophe Galimard, Clemens Jobst and Pilar Nogués-Marco (2009) “The bell-jar: commercial interest rates betwee two revolutions” in The Origin and Development of Financial Markets and Institutions. From the Seventeenth Century to the Present, eds. Jeremy Atack and Larry Neal, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 161-208.

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An earlier version of this paper is available here.

For institutionalist economists as well as for contemporary commentators, the wealth of nations in 18th century Europe was rooted in their political system which influenced the level of interest rates and thus trade (p.165). The confidence investors had in the government’s credit was thus seen as critical (tellingly John Law’s primary aim was to bring interest rates down; p.166). Read the rest of this entry »


Web shopping: Lucas, Skidelsky, Statistics, Protectionism, and Male Purses (!)

August 7, 2009

The very first object on display—the oldest in the collection—proves that man bags are nothing new. It is a 16th-century pouch made of creamy white kid skin. The surface is decorated with rosettes and 18 tiny pockets of the same soft leather. It was probably made for a travelling merchant. At the time men’s clothes did not have pockets, and the bag provided a quickly accessible sorting system for multiple currencies, each pocket reserved for the coins of a particular city.

That’s it for now. I can’t wait to read Ben’s opinion on the WEHC in Utrecht.


Web shopping: Schwartz’s view of the Fed’s monetary policy

July 22, 2009
Professor Schwartz

Professor Schwartz

Recently Michael Hirsh interviewed monetary historian Anna Schwartz for Newsweek. She doesn’t sound happy at all about the state of monetary policy in the face of the financial crisis. Excerpts:

Anna Schwartz is 93 and has been working at the same place since 1941. She’s that rarity in economics, or indeed any field: a living legend from another era who hasn’t lost a step mentally and who grasps everything that’s going on around her in the present. Or at least she seems to—but more on that later. Schwartz is one of the most renowned monetary scholars in the world. She’s the woman who authored, with Milton Friedman, The Monetary History of the United States—the book that launched the free-market counterattack against Keynesianism in the early ’60s. And now, as she surveys the wreckage of the last two years, Schwartz has one thought: if only Milton were here. “Ever since his death I have lamented the fact that he has not been around to express his views on what’s going on,” she told me the other day at her mid-Manhattan office at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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On Peter L. Bernstein

July 6, 2009

Peter L. Bernstein

I recently found out about Peter L. Bernstein (1919-2009), a popular American economist and financial historian. I must confess I haven’t read any of his books, but will surely read them after having learned from his life.

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Web shopping: Paul Samuelson, Christina Romer

July 1, 2009

Paul Samuelson

Conor Clarke, an economic and financial journalist working at TheAtlantic.com, interviewed Professor Paul Samuelson. Here is part 1 and part 2. This interview is interesting, for Samuelson offers his personal views on the economic policy’s response to the crisis. Samuelson asserts an interesting recommendation for economists: do study economic history.

Q: Very last thing. What would you say to someone starting graduate study in economics? Where do you think the big developments in modern macro are going to be, or in the micro foundations of modern macro? Where does it go from here and how does the current crisis change it?

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Web shopping: On “Taking Stock”

June 17, 2009

Marketplace is an American Public Media production that caught my attention some months ago, due to the quality of the contents.

Now, courtesy of Felix Salmon, I found out that Marketplace has a special series, Taking Stock, where economists give their point of view on the current economic situation.

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