Finance and Philosophy: Why We're Always Surprised

Finance and Philosophy: Why We're Always Surprised

by Alex J. Pollock
Finance and Philosophy: Why We're Always Surprised

Finance and Philosophy: Why We're Always Surprised

by Alex J. Pollock


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"Pollock tells us all we need to know about money and banking, risk and uncertainty, debt and temptation, and science and economics. He delights as he instructs.”—James Grant, founder and editor, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer

Finance and Philosophy provides a concise and witty account of how bankers and financial regulators think, of the alleged causes of the cycles of booms and busts, of the implicit and often un-thought-out assumptions shaping retirement finance, fiat money, corporate governance. Pollock deftly shows how poorly bankers have measured the risk their banks have been exposed to. With candor and clarity, he uncovers the persistent and unavoidable uncertainty inherent in the business of banking. We learn that a banker’s confidence in his ability to measure banking risk accurately is the lure which has repeatedly led to bank failures. Pollock has a modest and compelling suggestion: Acknowledge the unavoidability of ignorance with respect to financial risk, and, in the light of this ignorance of the future, act moderately.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781589881303
Publisher: Dry, Paul Books, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/23/2018
Pages: 183
Sales rank: 605,548
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Alex J. Pollock is a distinguished senior fellow at the R Street Institute in Washington, DC. Before joining R Street, he was a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute from 2004 to 2015, and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago from 1991 to 2004. Mr. Pollock focuses on financial policy issues, including financial cycles, housing finance, banking systems, central banking, government-sponsored enterprises, uncertainty and risk, retirement finance, corporate governance, and financial crises with their ensuing political responses. He is the author of Boom and Bust: Financial Cycles and Human Prosperity, as well as numerous articles and Congressional testimony. Mr. Pollock is a director of CME Group; Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation; and the Great Books Foundation, where he was Chairman of the Board 2006-2014; and is a past-president of the International Union for Housing Finance. He is a graduate of Williams College, the University of Chicago, and Princeton University.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Fundamental Uncertainty

Chapter 2 Inevitable Mistakes

Chapter 3 Bubbles and “Liquidity”

Chapter 4 Temptation

Chapter 5 Economics is Not a Science

Chapter 6 Usually a Banking Crisis Somewhere

Chapter 7 Governments’ Dilemma

Chapter 8 Remember the 1980s!

Chapter 9 The Most Dangerous Financial Institution in the World

Chapter 10 Silver, Gold and Money

Chapter 11 Faith vs. Skepticism

Chapter 12 National Governments and Debt

Chapter 13 Municipal Governments and Debt

Chapter 14 Finance and the Life Cycle

Chapter 15 Wonderful Trend and Troublesome Cycle

Chapter 16 The Cincinnatian Doctrine

Chapter 17 Philosophers vs. Philosopher-Kings

Chapter 18 Virtue and Finance

Compendium of Aphorisms

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