A Short History of Financial Euphoria

( 5 )

Overview


The world-renowned economist offers "dourly irreverent analyses of financial debacle from the tulip craze of the seventeenth century to the recent plague of junk bonds."—The Atlantic.

World-renowned economist Galbraith, the bestselling author of The Affluent Society, reviews great speculative booms of the last three centuries, including the junk-bond follies of the 1980s. With wisdom and wit, he shows how the lessons of history can help us avoid financial calamity. ...

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A Short History of Financial Euphoria

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Overview


The world-renowned economist offers "dourly irreverent analyses of financial debacle from the tulip craze of the seventeenth century to the recent plague of junk bonds."—The Atlantic.

World-renowned economist Galbraith, the bestselling author of The Affluent Society, reviews great speculative booms of the last three centuries, including the junk-bond follies of the 1980s. With wisdom and wit, he shows how the lessons of history can help us avoid financial calamity. "Entertaining in its instructiveness."--The Boston Globe.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Galbraith's entertaining, wonderfully instructive cautionary essay should be required reading for investors. His focus is ``recurrent lapses into financial dementia,'' reckless speculative episodes fueled by greed, euphoria and investors' delusion that their temporary good fortune is due to their own superior financial acumen. The renowned Harvard economist chronicles a series of ``flights into mass insanity,'' from wild speculation in tulip bulbs in 17th-century Holland through the U.S. stock market crash of 1929, the 1980s mergers-and-acquistions mania and the savings and loan scandal. Comparing these crises, he finds recurring common features, such as evasion of hard realities, new financial instruments presumed to be of stunning novelty and debt that became dangerously out of scale in relation to the underlying means of payment. His proposed remedy is ``enhanced skepticism'' on the part of investors and the public. (June)
Library Journal
No matter what your political leanings or economic beliefs might be, there is no denying that Galbraith is a brilliant writer. In this humorous and thoughtful book, he traces the investor ``herd'' mentality from Tulipomania, which gripped Holland in the 1630s, through a variety of events and up through the 1987 stock market debacle--which he accurately predicted. Galbraith analyzes the crashes that resulted from these speculative episodes, and he points out that the ``mass escape from sanity by people in pursuit of profit,'' which, in his opinion, is always the cause, is never blamed. A truly excellent book, this is highly recommended.-- C. Christopher Pavek, Putnam, Hayes & Bartlett, Inc. Information Ctr., Washington, D.C.
Booknews
A "hymn of caution" (the author's words) originally published in 1990 by Whittle Books--and still in print--as part of the Larger Agenda Series. Reprinted here with a new foreword. In this small (5.75x8.75"), slim book, its brevity compelling attention, the eminent economist chronicles the histories of several great speculative periods of the last three centuries, discussing their sad aftermaths and analyzing the peculiar pitfalls of get-rich-quick schemes. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140238563
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/1994
  • Series: Whittle Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 268,453
  • Product dimensions: 5.15 (w) x 7.85 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author


John Kenneth Galbraith was born in 1908 in Ontario, Canada. He earned a PhD at the University of California in 1934 and later took a fellowship at Cambridge, where he first encountered Keynesian economics. At different points in his life he taught at both Harvard and Princeton, and wrote more than forty books on an array of economic topics. During World War II he served as deputy head of the Office of Price Administration, charged with preventing inflation from crippling the war efforts, and also served as the US Ambassador to India during the Kennedy administration. He passed away in 2006.
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Table of Contents

Foreword to the 1993 Edition
1 The Speculative Episode 1
2 The Common Denominators 12
3 The Classic Cases, I: The Tulipomania; John Law and the Banque Royale 26
4 The Classic Cases, II: The Bubble 43
5 The American Tradition 53
6 1929 70
7 October Redux 87
8 Reprise 105
Notes on Sources 111
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Literary mini-history of financial collapses

    John Kenneth Galbraith's short, literary book on financial speculation and the inevitability of subsequent economic catastrophe contends that devastating financial collapse is built into the free-enterprise system - an idea as intriguing today as it was when this book debuted in the mid-1990s. The late famous economist ended this treatise with a chilling question: "When will come the next great speculative episode and in what venue will it recur?" Everyone now knows the answer to that question all too well. Alarmingly, according to Galbraith, the travails that capitalist economies are now grimly experiencing will recur over and over. getAbstract suggests that anyone who wants to understand the kinks in the system - and human nature - that will continue to lead to hugely devastating, economic train wrecks should read Galbraith's book.

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    Posted June 15, 2010

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