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Throughout history, rich and poor countries alike have been lending, borrowing, crashing--and recovering--their way through an extraordinary range of financial crises. Each time, the experts have chimed, "this time is different"--claiming that the old rules of valuation no longer apply and that the new situation bears little similarity to past disasters. With this Throughout history, rich and poor countries alike have been lending, borrowing, crashing--and recovering--their way through an extraordinary range of financial crises. Each time, the experts have chimed, "this time is different"--claiming that the old rules of valuation no longer apply and that the new situation bears little similarity to past disasters. With this breakthrough study, leading economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff definitively prove them wrong. Covering sixty-six countries across five continents, This Time Is Different presents a comprehensive look at the varieties of financial crises, and guides us through eight astonishing centuries of government defaults, banking panics, and inflationary spikes--from medieval currency debasements to today's subprime catastrophe. Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, leading economists whose work has been influential in the policy debate concerning the current financial crisis, provocatively argue that financial combustions are universal rites of passage for emerging and established market nations. The authors draw important lessons from history to show us how much--or how little--we have learned. Using clear, sharp analysis and comprehensive data, Reinhart and Rogoff document that financial fallouts occur in clusters and strike with surprisingly consistent frequency, duration, and ferocity. They examine the patterns of currency crashes, high and hyperinflation, and government defaults on international and domestic debts--as well as the cycles in housing and equity prices, capital flows, unemployment, and government revenues around these crises. While countries do weather their financial storms, Reinhart and Rogoff prove that short memories make it all too easy for crises to recur. An important book that will affect policy discussions for a long time to come, This Time Is Different exposes centuries of financial missteps.


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Throughout history, rich and poor countries alike have been lending, borrowing, crashing--and recovering--their way through an extraordinary range of financial crises. Each time, the experts have chimed, "this time is different"--claiming that the old rules of valuation no longer apply and that the new situation bears little similarity to past disasters. With this Throughout history, rich and poor countries alike have been lending, borrowing, crashing--and recovering--their way through an extraordinary range of financial crises. Each time, the experts have chimed, "this time is different"--claiming that the old rules of valuation no longer apply and that the new situation bears little similarity to past disasters. With this breakthrough study, leading economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff definitively prove them wrong. Covering sixty-six countries across five continents, This Time Is Different presents a comprehensive look at the varieties of financial crises, and guides us through eight astonishing centuries of government defaults, banking panics, and inflationary spikes--from medieval currency debasements to today's subprime catastrophe. Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, leading economists whose work has been influential in the policy debate concerning the current financial crisis, provocatively argue that financial combustions are universal rites of passage for emerging and established market nations. The authors draw important lessons from history to show us how much--or how little--we have learned. Using clear, sharp analysis and comprehensive data, Reinhart and Rogoff document that financial fallouts occur in clusters and strike with surprisingly consistent frequency, duration, and ferocity. They examine the patterns of currency crashes, high and hyperinflation, and government defaults on international and domestic debts--as well as the cycles in housing and equity prices, capital flows, unemployment, and government revenues around these crises. While countries do weather their financial storms, Reinhart and Rogoff prove that short memories make it all too easy for crises to recur. An important book that will affect policy discussions for a long time to come, This Time Is Different exposes centuries of financial missteps.

30 review for This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly

  1. 4 out of 5

    Whitaker

    OMFG!! This was originally four stars. I was super-impressed by the fact that their conclusions were supported by data underlying the research. Guess what? That was NOT the case! When they finally agreed to release their data sets and other economists tried to replicate their results with their data, they found the following: We replicate Reinhart and Rogoff and find that coding errors, selective exclusion of available data, and unconventional weighting of summary statistics lead to serious OMFG!! This was originally four stars. I was super-impressed by the fact that their conclusions were supported by data underlying the research. Guess what? That was NOT the case! When they finally agreed to release their data sets and other economists tried to replicate their results with their data, they found the following: We replicate Reinhart and Rogoff and find that coding errors, selective exclusion of available data, and unconventional weighting of summary statistics lead to serious errors that inaccurately represent the relationship between public debt and GDP growth among 20 advanced economies in the post-war period. Our finding is that when properly calculated, the average real GDP growth rate for countries carrying a public-debt-to-GDP ratio of over 90 percent is actually 2.2 percent, not -0.1 percent as published in Reinhart and Rogoff. That is, contrary to RR, average GDP growth at public debt/GDP ratios over 90 percent is not dramatically different than when debt/GDP ratios are lower. We also show how the relationship between public debt and GDP growth varies significantly by time period and country. Overall, the evidence we review contradicts Reinhart and Rogoff’s claim to have identified an important stylized fact, that public debt loads greater than 90 percent of GDP consistently reduce GDP growth. That kind of mistake is the biggest, gravest sin there is in this type of book. For that, I'd put the book under my never-ever-to-read-ever category, except that, damnit, I've already read it. ARRRGGGHHHH!!! I want my time and money back!!!!! You can read more here and here.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    This books an A- graduate paper glorified into 400+ pages. It has impressive academic rigor, an appendices & reference list as long as the body, and charts galore. Unfortunately its written as blandly as Ben Stein speaks. I was jazzed to find this at the library, but let down. Mercifully, in the preface the authors tell us that the book is organized so you can skip to the last 4 chapters if youre interested only with The Second Great Contraction which began in the US late 2007. They warn, This book’s an A- graduate paper glorified into 400+ pages. It has impressive academic rigor, an appendices & reference list as long as the body, and charts galore. Unfortunately it’s written as blandly as Ben Stein speaks. I was jazzed to find this at the library, but let down. Mercifully, in the preface the authors tell us that the book is organized so you can skip to the last 4 chapters if you‘re interested only with “The Second Great Contraction” which began in the US late 2007. They warn, however, the precursor chapters need to be comprehended so that the current financial crises can be understood in the greater sweep of financial history. I read all the chapters. I’ll save you time by outlining the most salient points, and then we’ll call it good. These points are underscored throughout the book, but they’re not summarized like I present here. ~For at least 8 centuries, financial crisis have occurred and will continue to occur despite the overwhelming prevailing feeling that ‘This-Time-Is-Different’ ~The current global financial crisis had all the warning signs of previous crisis, but the pervasive hubris of American bankers and lawmakers thought that ‘This-Time-Is-Different’ ~Governments produce sovereign external debt and internal debt, but all countries, be they emerging markets or mature markets, will default on external debt to a greater degree than internal debt ~Mature, established markets have defaulted as many times as emerging, unstable markets ~Recovery from financial crises (whether from default, inflation, or currency debasement) follow similar trendlines regardless of the country, the size of the crisis, or the time in history ~There were as many global financial crisis in the 1980s & 1990s as there were at any other point in the last 200 years. ~The current ‘Second Great Contraction’ is every bit as severe, extensive, and global as ‘The Great Depression;’ however, the only difference today is a relatively moderate unemployment rate ~Financial crisis are not grouped around political turmoil or warfare, instead they can occur at any time in a country’s maturation ~Six factors insulated policy makers from foreseeing ‘The Second Great Contraction’ (p. 214) ~~~1. The US, with the world’s most reliable system of financial regulation, the most innovative financial system, a strong political system, and the world’s largest and most liquid capital markets, was special. It could withstand huge capital inflows without worry. ~~~2. Rapidly emerging developing economies needed a secure place to invest their funds for diversification purposes ~~~3. Increased global financial integration was deepening global capital markets and allowing countries to go deeper into debt ~~~4. In addition to its other strengths, the US has superior monetary policy institutions and monetary policy makers ~~~5. New financial instruments were allowing many new borrowers to enter mortgage markets ~~~6. All that was happening was just a further deepening of financial globalization thanks to innovation and should not be a great source of worry ~’The Second Great Contraction’ is, up til now, following established trendlines of recovery But I don’t think so. I think this contraction will prove as intractable as ‘The Great Depression. I believe unemployment will climb over 10%. The Obama administration will tax the richest individuals, but US companies are considered individuals, so in essence this is a tax on all business. Businesses will hoard cash and refuse to hire. To cover municipal and state budget shortfalls, government workers will be laid off by the tens of thousands. Those remaining will face salary freezes. The Boomer demography will increasingly pull money out of markets to support retirement. As mandatory spending, social entitlements will continue to put strain on federal tax revenue. Countries that hold US debt in the trillions will decide whether or not to cash in to produce money for their own financial recoveries. The housing market is several years from the very first tendril upticks in price. Yes, folks, I think we’re in for a long sideways financial floundering in the US. Have a wonderful day.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Frank Stein

    As almost everyone who reviews this book mentions, this is truly an impressive piece of work. The authors, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, have assembled an amazing history of government defaults, hyperinflations, banking crises, and currency crises for the past 800 years in dozens of countries spanning the globe. They didn't, understandably, compile a narrative of these hundreds of independent events, but coded them into a massive statistical database with which they could compare the As almost everyone who reviews this book mentions, this is truly an impressive piece of work. The authors, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, have assembled an amazing history of government defaults, hyperinflations, banking crises, and currency crises for the past 800 years in dozens of countries spanning the globe. They didn't, understandably, compile a narrative of these hundreds of independent events, but coded them into a massive statistical database with which they could compare the relationship of all these financial panics with each other and with numerous other stats like GDP growth and total debt. The result is innumerable new insights and newsworthy conclusions. I'll mention three. First, while previous researchers, who have focused on emerging market crises, have lavished attention on external defaults of government debt (often to these countries' First world creditors), Reinhart and Rogoff show that defaults on domestically issued debt to these countries' own citizens is almost as common and almost as destructive. They also showed that this domestic debt often constituted over half of all debt issued by these countries, which was often only possible because they repressed financial markets at home and limited investments (at least in the post World War II period. The authors also show that pre-World War II and more recently issued domestic debt had market-level interest rates). In the future, researchers will have to pay more attention to this vital aspect of government finance. Second, the authors showed that the ratio of debt and deficit to GDP for sovereign defaulters could be shockingly low, often as low as 20%, and the risk of default increased drastically around the very low number of 35% of GDP. This should give no comfort to those who think Italy is safe with "only" a 115% debt to GDP ratio and low deficits. Third, they also show that around the world the governmental response to financial panics is remarkably similar, in both emerging markets and in developed countries. After a crisis, on average government debt increases by 86%, no matter where the crisis took place, and most of this is not the cost of "bailouts" but is due to decreased tax revenue and increased expenditures. Everywhere they show, governments are subject to similar constraints and similar outcomes after a crisis. These points barely scratch the surface of the authors work. The book is certainly a monument to empirical insights, but I don't want to oversell it. First, perhaps as befits an empirical economics text, this book is almost exclusively composed of graphs, tables, and the textual interpretation of both of those. These do provide an almost inexhaustible source of new findings and hypotheses, but if that's not your bag don't go near this book (though the the authors do make a real effort to make the results comprehensible even to an economic layperson). Also, much of this statistical work is barely interpreted but often just presented in numerical form. Conclusions drawn from it can seem a little hasty. Also, although the authors emphasize the "eight centuries of financial folly," the book overwhelmingly focuses on the past 200 years, and especially the last 100, so its not quite as comprehensive as some have said. This is due more to the nature of the evidence than the authors' efforts, but it is an important qualifier. Ultimately, these quibbles can be only that. This is undoubtedly one of the most important works of economic history of the past decade, and will and should be read by anyone who cares about the impact of global finance on the world and its people.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brion O'quigley

    Another reviewer pointed out that some of the analysis in the book is based on faulty data. Be that as it may, the book still provides generic findings about the financial cycle that are still valid. It is a cogent analysis of hundreds of years of financials crises. Contrary to what the Fed continuously repeats, it is possible to predict financial cycles and this book proves it by examining how bubbles have burst since the invention of money. It provides an excellent explanation of the Another reviewer pointed out that some of the analysis in the book is based on faulty data. Be that as it may, the book still provides generic findings about the financial cycle that are still valid. It is a cogent analysis of hundreds of years of financials crises. Contrary to what the Fed continuously repeats, it is possible to predict financial cycles and this book proves it by examining how bubbles have burst since the invention of money. It provides an excellent explanation of the predictability of the cycle, briefly stated, deregulation allowing looser lending, ballooning lending and leveraging causing a bubble that eventually bursts, and the economic chaos caused afterwards as asset prices (e.g. housing) and other financial instruments are "reset", which is shouldered by the tax payer. It will help to have some academic knowledge of statistical methods to make sense of much of the analysis, although you can easily bypass the analysis and read the conclusions. This book really opened my eyes to the foolishness of banks, businesses, investors and governments with respect to their borrowing. It was also daunting to find significant proof that government books are usually very opaque and consciously hide significant facts about their own economies, which further fuels bubbles and the inevitable bursts. What troubled me the most about what I discovered in this book is that fiat currency and "growth" are a given, namely, this is how the financial global system works and will continue to work. I hope there are other scholars and economists who are looking at finding a financial model that is homeostatic and not geared toward continuous growth.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gordon

    This book is the current darling of the financial set, and I understand it has become required reading by economists, bankers, policy-makers and the more thoughtful financial pundits alike. Thats a rare feat. The book assembles a vast data set on financial crises, from many countries both developed and emerging, and reduces it to a mass of charts and graphs along with text. The title, as you might guess, refers to the fact that this time is different always turn out to be famous last words over This book is the current darling of the financial set, and I understand it has become required reading by economists, bankers, policy-makers and the more thoughtful financial pundits alike. That’s a rare feat. The book assembles a vast data set on financial crises, from many countries both developed and emerging, and reduces it to a mass of charts and graphs along with text. The title, as you might guess, refers to the fact that “this time is different” always turn out to be famous last words – over and over and over again. Hope triumphs over experience. That said, the size of this book deterred me, as did the fact that it was already overdue at the library by the time I started it. So I only read a couple of chapters on the latest Great Recession, rather than eight centuries’ worth of folly. The follies of a single century seemed plenty enough for me. The key observations that interested me, in putting the current financial crisis in perspective, were the following data points about banking crises (from the last 100 years or so). Note that a banking crisis, like the one we endured in 2007-2009 (and which perhaps is not done yet) tends to be the severest form of economic crisis. • House prices drop an average of 35% and take 6 years to stabilize • GDP drops roughly 10% and takes 4.5 years to recover to its pre-crisis level (though it took 10 years in the US and 12 years in Canada during the Great Depression) • Unemployment rises by 7% points above the norm, and only improves after nearly 5 years • Government debt nearly doubles, rising an average of 86% • Stock prices drop 56%, but recover much more quickly than housing prices or unemployment – in about 3.5 years All in all, it looks as if the Great Recession (US version) we are currently enduring may be following pretty much the path outlined by these historical averages. Ouch!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    It might be unfair for me to rate this book (giving it 2 stars). My rating is subjective. This isn't the book I was looking for, and that isn't the authors' fault. So please view my rating with that in mind. This book is clearly aimed at an academic or professional economic audience. The book is chock full of tables and graphs. The amount and quality of data is impressive. As for the writing style, Alan Greenspan would be proud. Here is a typical sentence (pp 192-3): "Interpreting the It might be unfair for me to rate this book (giving it 2 stars). My rating is subjective. This isn't the book I was looking for, and that isn't the authors' fault. So please view my rating with that in mind. This book is clearly aimed at an academic or professional economic audience. The book is chock full of tables and graphs. The amount and quality of data is impressive. As for the writing style, Alan Greenspan would be proud. Here is a typical sentence (pp 192-3): "Interpreting the (unconditional) probability of high inflation used in figure 12.5 as a rough measure of the credibility of a monetary policy gives us some insights as to why achieving low inflation is generally not a sufficient condition for a rapid decrease in the degree of dollarization; namely, a country with a poor inflationary history will need to maintain inflation at low levels for a long period before it can significantly reduce the probability of another inflationary bout." If that type of presentation appeals to you, then by all means put this book on your "to read" list. I read the entire book, although I admit to skimming some sections. I really wish This Time Is Different had a Cliff Notes version. I would have gotten a lot more from a 25 to 50 page condensation. As it is, the huge amount of detail made it difficult for me as an intelligent but casual reader to fully appreciate the main points. I think the authors have a compelling story to tell. But I think most readers in the general public, even those motivated to read an in-depth book on this topic, are going to have a difficult time here.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rich

    Initial impressions: well-explained book. Was considering giving it 4 stars (or higher). Due diligence: 1 star on account of irregularities in the analysis that appear to be selectively biased. Data matters--this study hasn't replicated well, and while we might be able to give the authors the benefit of the doubt, it is worthwhile to highlight that this due diligence has happened well before now and yet many still give this book 4 or 5 stars without knowledge that a crucial argument of the text Initial impressions: well-explained book. Was considering giving it 4 stars (or higher). Due diligence: 1 star on account of irregularities in the analysis that appear to be selectively biased. Data matters--this study hasn't replicated well, and while we might be able to give the authors the benefit of the doubt, it is worthwhile to highlight that this due diligence has happened well before now and yet many still give this book 4 or 5 stars without knowledge that a crucial argument of the text has been found to be empty. More here: https://www.economist.com/news/financ... Lots more here: https://www.google.com/search?ei=dKP8...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Lozano

    I gave this 2 stars, in spite of the fact that the authors played fast and lose with their data. Not that it's any excuse, but I doubt that many studies would stand up to such careful scrutiny. There's a lot of great information, and it's definitely a comprehensive examination of debt and default, even if they played with their numbers. Ultimately, the authors fudged their data to make their conclusions seem more compelling. I would argue that any economist that tells you there's a 90% chance of I gave this 2 stars, in spite of the fact that the authors played fast and lose with their data. Not that it's any excuse, but I doubt that many studies would stand up to such careful scrutiny. There's a lot of great information, and it's definitely a comprehensive examination of debt and default, even if they played with their numbers. Ultimately, the authors fudged their data to make their conclusions seem more compelling. I would argue that any economist that tells you there's a 90% chance of a definite outcome is probably playing fast and loose with their data. Sorry if I've burst your bubble, but they don't call it the dismal science for nothing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tam

    I was about to say unratable. Not because this book is a classic, nor because it is too scholarly for me to apprehend. The reason is that I feel like it is too much like a draft. The book is full of graphs, boxes, tables, albeit with quite detailed descriptions and brief explanations. Put in another way, I feel like it is a preliminary analysis, where you throw out all raw materials you have, graphs, summaries, descriptives, and only with a very rough idea of what you are going to say. This time I was about to say unratable. Not because this book is a classic, nor because it is too scholarly for me to apprehend. The reason is that I feel like it is too much like a draft. The book is full of graphs, boxes, tables, albeit with quite detailed descriptions and brief explanations. Put in another way, I feel like it is a preliminary analysis, where you throw out all raw materials you have, graphs, summaries, descriptives, and only with a very rough idea of what you are going to say. This time is different is like that. It does not, in my opinion, feature a complete, coherent, and convincing story enough. The most striking claim that these authors make is that they will prove how this time, the financial crisis in 2007 - or the "Great Second Contraction" as they name it, is so not different from many crises in the past. They plann to do this by collecting a mass amount of data, notably for the last "eight centuries" to prove that we humans so often ignore the past, too confident of our ability of understanding the present because of our so-called advanced technologies, our superior development. I like the idea so very much. Economics tends to forget about history so much. The main reason is, obviously, the availability of data, which is the central part of the "scientific approach" with rigorous statistical calculations, mathemetics modeling and so on. Yet, sadly, what these authors tried to do is still very much surrounding this "scientific method." This is, I think, quite impossible. At best, its data from 1800s onward are acceptable, but for the remaining 6 centuries, I am afraid, the data can only be employed in descriptive, comparative, or case study method. These data, simply by nature and no one's fault, are in many cases not comparable, and just not useable in statistical studies. Such boasting of "eight centuries" is very misleading. Even with the data of the last two centuries, it is problematic to tackle. Yes, these authors are able to show some interesting trends, point out few curious patterns, validly call for attention in future research, but not much more. With such very few variables, these data can only be a sort of illustration, not really persuading me. The book discusses several theories about crises in general, but makes no attempt to develop or stick to one. It is perhaps beyond its scope, as it claims itself. But unfortunately, my definition of books is that you have at least a theory, a story, an idea well-developed to tell, not a set of proofs, for an uncertain something. The only argument "This time is not different" is weakly supported by, again, descriptive statistics. Ironically, there are many times these authors emphasize again and again the "uniqueness" of the 2007 crisis - the only one with global scope in the post WWII period, only comparable but not fully so to the Great Depression. I was like, huh? Anyway, I think just by telling some historical accounts, or comparative analysis can be more effective than this. This book is perhaps useful for reference. It is like, I don't know, another data source? And yet, another blow is coming, as a data source, it is not reliable. As this NY Times article written by two professors sadly annoucnes, there is a definitely serious problem in data use. As a result, I could only give 1 star. What is left is: nothing. I feel so cheated. Nevertheless, the book does discuss some theories, though very lightly. Therefore, it might serve as an ok introduction to the issue of crises: sovereign debt, domestic debt, inflation, currency crash. It is quite a short and easy to read book, so perhaps if you have much time, you can have a look.

  10. 5 out of 5

    AC

    The thesis of this book is important, but I cannot say it is worth actually "reading" very closely -- The gist can be extracted in a short time -- and the charts/data scanned. Only time will tell whether the authors' fears are to be realized... There's an old market adage that bears almost ALWAYS have the better argument; but that bulls, when the day is done, are most often right.... Of course, being bullish today is a relative concept. As Doug Henwood says, "flat is the new up". This book, to my The thesis of this book is important, but I cannot say it is worth actually "reading" very closely -- The gist can be extracted in a short time -- and the charts/data scanned. Only time will tell whether the authors' fears are to be realized... There's an old market adage that bears almost ALWAYS have the better argument; but that bulls, when the day is done, are most often right.... Of course, being bullish today is a relative concept. As Doug Henwood says, "flat is the new up". This book, to my surprise - even the historical chapters -- is very dry (hence the four-stars). But it is data-driven and important. The authors study a large assortment of examples of financial crisis, extending back to the 14th cen., and covering external default (when a country defaults on debt denominated in the currency of a foreign nation, and held under the jurisdiction of that foreign nation); domestic debt default (issued and regulated in the home currency/laws); banking panics; inflation. One of their most important findings is that there has been very little study in the literature of domestic default, but that such default (either de jure or de facto) is far more common than many believe -- and that it is, in fact, the massive accumulation of domestic debt (debt issued in one's one currency, largley -- though not exclusively -- to one's own citizens) that is the hidden cause behind many instances of external default, of banking panics, and -- most critically - of inflation (high inflation, defined as 20% or more per annum, and hyper-inflation of 40% or more per annum). The authors show that it is almost impossible for a nation choking on domestic debt to simply "grow" its way out -- the only instance they've found of such benign resolution being Swaziland - and that they will almost always resort to inflation. Obviously, in studying the modern record, the authors have their eyes firmly on the situation of the Western nations in 2009. The last third of the book deals at some length with Subprime Crisis -- the middle third (where I am now) with banking panics and inflation. The authors cite approvingly Niall Ferguson's Ascent of Money, and seem close in ways to the credit bubble analysis of Doug Noland. But I am not sure that they have their political biases as well. (A lot of modern scholarship -- and this is especially (though not exclusively) true in the social sciences -- has a peculiarly stilted quality to it. This book, which is a collaborative effort, suffers from some of that in the beginning -- the first four chapters deal with theory and method and have value, but not much pizzaz. The reader will want to get through that material quickly. The historical material starts in ch. 5 -- and it looks great. I'll wait till I'm a bit further in before rating it, though.) (This book comes to me highly recommended)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael O'Brien

    This book could have been a really interesting history and discussion of previous financial crises and their causes. Instead, it gets really into charts, tables, and data, but does not do a very good job at summarizing their overall significance ---- it reads like the graduate dissertations you find in college libraries -- or in academic journals that almost no one bothers to read. That, by itself, is not the major problem. The major problem with this book is that, after wading through all this This book could have been a really interesting history and discussion of previous financial crises and their causes. Instead, it gets really into charts, tables, and data, but does not do a very good job at summarizing their overall significance ---- it reads like the graduate dissertations you find in college libraries -- or in academic journals that almost no one bothers to read. That, by itself, is not the major problem. The major problem with this book is that, after wading through all this wonkish verbiage, the authors do not offer clear, understandable solutions for how to prevent from repeating the mistakes of the past. They do call for greater government clarity on their finances and debt, but, aside from that, they do little else, other than to condemn present day leaders for repeating past mistakes, but never providing solutions on how they should accomplish that.

  12. 4 out of 5

    hpmasih

    I proudly finished this in 2 days! which is a highly detailed time series data analysis of defaults, debt crisis and our ignorance of reemerging the crises. as in the book says The lesson of history, then, is that even as institutions and policy makers improve, there will always be a temptation to stretch the limits. Yet the ability of governments and investors to delude themselves, giving rise to periodic bouts of euphoria that usually end in tears, seems to have remained a constant. I proudly finished this in 2 days! which is a highly detailed time series data analysis of defaults, debt crisis and our ignorance of reemerging the crises. as in the book says “The lesson of history, then, is that even as institutions and policy makers improve, there will always be a temptation to stretch the limits.” Yet the ability of governments and investors to delude themselves, giving rise to periodic bouts of euphoria that usually end in tears, seems to have remained a constant.

  13. 5 out of 5

    John

    Well, this is one of the few books I tried to finish but couldn't. First I downloaded it from Audible.com. However, this book has a ton of graphs and tables. The reader of the audiobook frequently makes statements like "As can be seen from table 2.2..." The listener is unable to "see" table 2.2 as no tables or illustrations are provided either with the download or on the internet. So that's frustrating. Then I checked the book out in hardcopy from the library so as to be able to see the tables, Well, this is one of the few books I tried to finish but couldn't. First I downloaded it from Audible.com. However, this book has a ton of graphs and tables. The reader of the audiobook frequently makes statements like "As can be seen from table 2.2..." The listener is unable to "see" table 2.2 as no tables or illustrations are provided either with the download or on the internet. So that's frustrating. Then I checked the book out in hardcopy from the library so as to be able to see the tables, etc. Reading the text is not much better than listening to it being read. Very dry, academic prose. The last 150 pages of the 429 page book consist of references, tables, and notes. Despite the catchy title, the work primarily deals with a database the authors have constructed from meticulous research of arcane economic data. They have accumulated data on the yearly average price of wool from now back to the 13th century. They have details of every time in the last 200 years that a third world bank was late on a payment to its lenders. Very admirable, but hardly entertaining, or even interesting. They seem to spend more words talking about their database than about any conclusions that might be drawn from studying their database. Of course, it's great that such works exist, but I sort of resent them trying to pass it off as anything but a textbook. I suppose Princeton University Press figured that they could jazz up the title a little and sell it at Barnes and Nobles instead of the campus book store, The title, cover art, and cover notes would lead you to believe that this is a work accessible to the general reader. But don't be fooled: it's a deadly dull academic tome trying to pass as popular nonfiction.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Charles J

    Unfortunately, this book is nearly unreadable. Oh, Im sure its readable if youre a professional or academic economist. But for the casual reader, even one with a pretty good background knowledge of economics, its mostly an endless series of highly technical, loosely related charts, graphs and conclusions. All this to agree with the writer of Ecclesiastes, 2500 years ago, that The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no Unfortunately, this book is nearly unreadable. Oh, I’m sure it’s readable if you’re a professional or academic economist. But for the casual reader, even one with a pretty good background knowledge of economics, it’s mostly an endless series of highly technical, loosely related charts, graphs and conclusions. All this to agree with the writer of Ecclesiastes, 2500 years ago, that “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” I am certain that if you a policymaker, a banker, or an emerging markets investor, it is very much worth your time to read this book. The authors are erudite and seem to have compiled a peerless set of data on which to base their analysis and conclusion, much of which is exhaustively summarized in the appendices. So there is an audience for this book, but if you want a readable book with the same conclusion, and don’t need the volumes of data, try classics like “Devil Take The Hindmost” and “Manias, Panics and Crashes.” Or, for something less laser-focused on the financial markets and trading, “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds” or even “The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind” (though that last one is a pretty hard slog, too).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Don't curl up by the fire intending to read this book. For most people reading this book would be a real slog. It is dense and full of charts and tables. However, picking it up, opening it to an interesting looking chapter and examining the tables and charts can be very engaging. If you get bogged down, don't give up. Pick it up from time to time and read a section. You'll learn a lot about finance. While I did not read the whole book I got some good pointers from it. One is that there was never a Don't curl up by the fire intending to read this book. For most people reading this book would be a real slog. It is dense and full of charts and tables. However, picking it up, opening it to an interesting looking chapter and examining the tables and charts can be very engaging. If you get bogged down, don't give up. Pick it up from time to time and read a section. You'll learn a lot about finance. While I did not read the whole book I got some good pointers from it. One is that there was never a real Golden Age where monetary policy and finance worked well for everyone for any extended period of time. (e.g. creation of the Federal Reserve is not the source of problems in the US.) A more important one is that you really need to watch out for yourself. Other people poking through different chapters will get different insights.

  16. 4 out of 5

    James

    I made a page of notes criticizing the book, so many reviews already who'll read mine. One thing because it was replicated so often is considering Austria to be the same country for several hundred years. After WW1, Austria lost about 85% of area and population They act surprised there was no hyperinflation before 1800. Hyperinflation isn't caused by clipping coins or printing more paper, the German author EM Remarque in one of his books tells how business creates IOU's, takes them to the discount I made a page of notes criticizing the book, so many reviews already who'll read mine. One thing because it was replicated so often is considering Austria to be the same country for several hundred years. After WW1, Austria lost about 85% of area and population They act surprised there was no hyperinflation before 1800. Hyperinflation isn't caused by clipping coins or printing more paper, the German author EM Remarque in one of his books tells how business creates IOU's, takes them to the discount window at the central bank and 95% of the face value gets credited to their bank account. When making out an IOU, one can add 3,6 or 12 zeros to any number in a few seconds. This is important to us now, in 2008 for the 1st time the FED let many companies access its discount window, AIG, GE, wall st crooks, mutual funds, auto co. and more. When we have the next crisis, the line will surely be much longer. They say the 1930's depression was so bad because half the banks failed, not a good statistic 1000 banks with assets of $1 million each is equal to ONE bank with $1 Billion assets. Most of the banks that failed were small one branch country banks. Also they don't mention the effect of the fractional banking system, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractio... A bank gains $1 million and can lend out $5 million, the process works in reverse, lose a million and the loans have to decrease by $5 million

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    There are two ways of looking at this book; one is as a huge collection of data provided in charts and tables and figures; the other is as a series of examples about how this time is rarely different. The first couple of chapters, defining their types of crises and data sources, are tedious and boring, which they recognize, and tell the reader they may want to just skip ahead to the good bits. Even the good bits are hardly exciting; if you dislike tables and charts and figures, you will There are two ways of looking at this book; one is as a huge collection of data provided in charts and tables and figures; the other is as a series of examples about how “this time is rarely different”. The first couple of chapters, defining their types of crises and data sources, are tedious and boring, which they recognize, and tell the reader they may want to just skip ahead to the good bits. Even the good bits are hardly exciting; if you dislike tables and charts and figures, you will definitely dislike this book. However, the examples of crises are informative in general, and the chapter on why lenders are willing to lend to countries, even though countries are able to default, was informative in specific. I came into this expecting a different book. Reading the subtitle and back-cover blurbs, I expected this book to be about private bubbles and the crises which follow, but it is mostly about governments defaulting on their various kinds of debt. As a global and historical perspective on defaults, inflation, and so forth, it is very good. The subprime crisis was as predictable as any other major crisis, with the same leading indicators, if only we were to cure ourselves of thinking this time is different. Where it falls down is as any sort of economic science. As far as I can tell from a layman’s perspective, it lacks a theory to explain the similarities over time and make predictions. It is purely a data analysis, in that we see similar data across historical and global crises. That can be interesting, but a reliance on numbers without theory will fuel this time is different thinking, because people can choose to believe that they have fixed the underlying problem. Unless there is a testable theory, it will always be easy for financial leaders to hand wave away indicators of impending future crises. The data they use to compare crises over time use a diverse and seemingly incompatible collection of proxies and averages which both produce an impressive, monumental work effort, and what almost have to be dubious results. But the bigger issue is that what they appear to have done with their spreadsheet is collect a bunch of data and look for correlations. If so, this is going to be just as flawed in economics as it is in other sciences. With enough data there will always be statistical correlations that don’t embody causation. There is a tendency among thinkers to look at dysfunctional systems, accurately describe the problems with how we are currently managing them, and then, in the final chapter, prescribe “what we are doing now but bigger”. David Goldhill made the same mistake in Catastrophic Care. Here, the authors recommend more global oversight and global regulations to stop countries from providing a variety of models. But creating a supranational committee of experts to rule all nations is more likely to increase both the tendency to think “this time is different” (because that’s what experts do) and the chances of any particular crisis being global (because now everyone is under the same rules that caused the crisis). And because of the inevitable institutional capture such an organization will undergo, we can expect corruption to increase, and the burdens on smaller financial competitors to the global institutions to become more onerous. In a book that springs from a crisis of too-big-to-fail institutions, recommending what will inevitably lead to more too-big-to-fail institutions is especially disappointing. That said, it’s still a worthwhile book, and the recommendations chapter is only a few pages long.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Liam

    Poyais -- fictional Latin American country issues sovereign debt in the 1820s debt boom (93) "Recognizing the significance of domestic debt can go a long way toward resolving the puzzle of why many countries default on (or restructure) their external debts at seemingly low debt thresholds. In fact, when previously ignored domestic debt obligations are taken into account, fiscal duress at the time of default is often revealed to be quite severe." (119) "The incidence of banking crises proves to be Poyais -- fictional Latin American country issues sovereign debt in the 1820s debt boom (93) "Recognizing the significance of domestic debt can go a long way toward resolving the puzzle of why many countries default on (or restructure) their external debts at seemingly low debt thresholds. In fact, when previously ignored domestic debt obligations are taken into account, fiscal duress at the time of default is often revealed to be quite severe." (119) "The incidence of banking crises proves to be remarkably similar in both high-income and middle- to low-income countries. Indeed, the tally of crises is particularly high for the world's financial centers: France, the United Kingdom, and the United States." (141) "For the period after 1970, Kaminsky and Reinhart have presented formal evidence of the link between crises and financial liberalization. In eighteen of the twenty-six banking crises they have studied, the financial sector had been liberalized within the preceding five years." (155) "This literature on financial crises suggests that markedly rising asset prices, slowing real economic activity, large current account deficits, and sustained debt buildups (whether public, private, or both) are important precursors to a financial crisis." (216-7) "Broadly speaking, financial crises are protracted affairs. More often that not, the aftermath of severe financial crises share three characteristics: First, asset market collapses are deep and prolonged. Declines in real housing prices average 35 percent stretched out over six years, whereas equity price collapses average 56 percent over a downturn of about three and a half years. Second, the aftermath of banking crises is associated with profound declines in output [9 points over two years] and employment [7 points over four years]. ... Third, as noted earlier, the value of government debt tends to explode; it rose an average of 86 percent (in real terms, relative to precrisis debt) in the major post-World War II episodes. ... [T]he main cause of dent explosions is not the widely cited costs of bailing out and recapitalizing the banking system. ... In fact, the biggest driver of debt increases is the inevitable collapse in tax revenues that governments suffer in the wake of deep and prolonged output contractions." (224) "Here we pause to underscore why global financial crises can be so much more dangerous than local or regional ones. Fundamentally, when a crisis is truly global, exports can no longer form a cushion for growth." (269) "For banking crises, real housing prices are nearly at the top of the list of reliable indicators, surpassing current account balance and real stock prices by producing fewer false alarms." (279) "Capital flow and default cycles have been around since at least 1800, if not before in other parts of the globe. Why they would end anytime soon is not obvious." (291)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan Steed

    The central premise of the book is that people always go 'this time is different yadda yadda' about an economic boom but they are wrong and there are common features to all the financial crises over the last 8 centuries. However, they actually managed to really convince me that, the 2008 financial crisis really *was* different. So, unlike pretty much every other financial crisis they look at, after 2008, the US (which was the epicentre of the sub-prime-shit-storm actually) had a currency The central premise of the book is that people always go 'this time is different yadda yadda' about an economic boom but they are wrong and there are common features to all the financial crises over the last 8 centuries. However, they actually managed to really convince me that, the 2008 financial crisis really *was* different. So, unlike pretty much every other financial crisis they look at, after 2008, the US (which was the epicentre of the sub-prime-shit-storm actually) had a currency appreciation. In their words, " if the US had been an emerging market, it's an exchange rate would have plummeted and its interest rates soared. Access to capital markets would be lost". In fact the opposite happened and people bought dollars as other regions seemed more risky. Another one of their key arguments is that government debt explodes after a crisis *not* due to bailouts but cos of of the collapse of tax revenues. But this seems to be an exception with the 2008 crisis. In the UK and US certainly and they don't seem to include these countries in their tables . Indeed, the whole debt point, which is what they are famous for making a big deal of features a lot less in the book than I expected. Indeed, that seems to be more important is the rushing in of foreign investors (albeit for debt contracts) and deregulation. So, capital inflows and role of international creditors important. Another thing than consistently annoyed me was the lack of historical content. They don't grapple with issues around colonialism and it's legacy at all although this is running through all their data sets. They also talk about military power in the past, e.g. "A kings promise to 'repay' could often be removed as easily as the lenders head" but don't apply that at all to the military might of the US and how that might link to the aftermath of 2008 being different to all historical precedent. But, anyway, there are lots of great things about the book which is why I've given it 4*'s. The data sources deserve massive kudos. There are some interesting discussions about bankruptcy and whether countries can go bust. Nice examples from Henry 8th and Ancient Greece. Finally, they don't focus on the UK at all but it's also hard to read it an not be terrified about the UK economy as it meets all the trigger factors they identify in the book for a crisis. Roughly speaking are; asset price inflation especially housing (check), rising leverage (not so much), large current account deficits (check) and slowing economic growth (check). They don't mention an EU referendum but I think we can assume that's a massive unknown and possible risk factor. Happy Days.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Balhau

    This is a very interesting book, full of data and respective macro economic interpretation. The last words of the book resume it all "This time may seem different, but all too often a deeper look shows it is not. Encouragingly, history does point to warning signs that policy makers can look at to assess riskif only they do not become too drunk with their credit bubblefueled success and say, as their predecessors have for centuries, This time is different" " This piece of work is a detailed This is a very interesting book, full of data and respective macro economic interpretation. The last words of the book resume it all "This time may seem different, but all too often a deeper look shows it is not. Encouragingly, history does point to warning signs that policy makers can look at to assess risk—if only they do not become too drunk with their credit bubble–fueled success and say, as their predecessors have for centuries, “This time is different" " This piece of work is a detailed analysis on the history of country debts and their respective default. It analysis, for example, in good detail the nature of public debt, by separating it into external public debt and domestic one and with this in mind and with the help of a bunch of data it draws some interesting conclusions about the nature and consequences of these different kind of debt in the economy and the impact on the respective solvability. The book also help us to have a deeper understanding over the differences between concepts like illiquidity and insolvency and how these play different roles in the evolution of a probable default. In my opinion the biggest point, and well addressed, in this book is the human psychology and how that lead us into the same errors again and again. The time window of analysis is, also a very interesting one, since the evolution of countries economy follows a slower rhythm than human lifetime it follows that society tends to forget about this trivial fact and fall into the sad trap that "this time is different" again and again. I believe that this is a must read, specially nowadays that governments seems to be doing the same old mistakes.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dorotea

    Financial liberalization triggered a series of emerging-market crises: the Latin America debt crisis of the 1980s, the Mexican crisis (1994), the East Asian crises (1997 in Thailand & South Korea & Malaysia & Indonesia & Singapore & the Philippines, the Russian crisis (1998). These episodes were not all the same: in some cases, it was a government debt crisis, in others it was in the private sector. However, they shared some common elements such as: a rapid inflow of Financial liberalization triggered a series of emerging-market crises: the Latin America debt crisis of the 1980s, the Mexican crisis (1994), the East Asian crises (1997 in Thailand & South Korea & Malaysia & Indonesia & Singapore & the Philippines, the Russian crisis (1998). These episodes were not all the same: in some cases, it was a government debt crisis, in others it was in the private sector. However, they shared some common elements such as: a rapid inflow of international investment that triggered an economic boom, a rapid reversal of capital flows when international investors panicked and pulled their money out thereby creating an economic crisis, a rapid fall of the exchange rated hurting local banks and firms with a lot of their debt in foreign currency (the “original sin”). Reinhart and Rogoff describe these episodes in their book: every time investor convince themselves that the current boom will last. Furthermore, investors were sure that the US could not have an emerging-market type crisis

  22. 5 out of 5

    E

    Sobering study of fiscal failures Every so often, experts sucker people into bidding up the prices of stocks or real estate because they announce that the economy has fundamentally changed. As the aftermath of the real estate bubble illustrates, the basics of economics dont really change, no matter what fantasies people come to believe. Economics professors Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff present a thorough historical and statistical tour of financial hubris through the centuries, a Sobering study of fiscal failures Every so often, experts sucker people into bidding up the prices of stocks or real estate because they announce that the economy has fundamentally changed. As the aftermath of the real estate bubble illustrates, the basics of economics don’t really change, no matter what fantasies people come to believe. Economics professors Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff present a thorough historical and statistical tour of financial hubris through the centuries, a postmortem that will make you wonder how anyone ever believed “this time is different.” The staid tone, formulas, charts and somewhat confusing organization make this fascinating history challenging to absorb. Yet, the content, which sweeps ambitiously and carefully across centuries and countries, rewards the persistent reader with many insights and gems, like the nation-by-nation appendix of fiscal history low points. getAbstract recommends this analytical overview to history buffs, investors, managers and policy makers who seek perspective on “financial folly.”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Frans Saxén

    This time is different is a thorough description of various financial crisis that have occurred during the last eight centuries (!). Reading the book gave me insights into how non-surprising the various crisis really should be. Every time people will convince themselves that old economic regularities have stopped applying due to increased sophistication, and every time it ends in tears. Gordon Brown's reflection in early 2007, on the eve of the financial crisis that, "we will never return to the This time is different is a thorough description of various financial crisis that have occurred during the last eight centuries (!). Reading the book gave me insights into how non-surprising the various crisis really should be. Every time people will convince themselves that old economic regularities have stopped applying due to increased sophistication, and every time it ends in tears. Gordon Brown's reflection in early 2007, on the eve of the financial crisis that, "we will never return to the old boom and bust,” springs to mind, but the book shows that Brown was in good company with his analysis. While the book is thorough, presenting a lot of data, the busy reader may very well choose to only read part V of the book, which analyses the latest financial crisis in about 80 pages. While the book was published in mid 2009 and thus fails to capture some of the later developments, it still gives a good insight into the underlying factors.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Carr

    Interesting, and important but pretty dry. I would recommend for all those who say Australia's debt 'doesn't matter'. This book shows that even if we are comparatively much better off than most countries, and have a comparatively low debt to GDP, that it still makes wise financial sense to move towards a low debt status. Indeed, the fact we are doing so much better is all the more reason to keep our noses extra clean. This book had the exquisite timing of coming out during the GFC, but was not Interesting, and important but pretty dry. I would recommend for all those who say Australia's debt 'doesn't matter'. This book shows that even if we are comparatively much better off than most countries, and have a comparatively low debt to GDP, that it still makes wise financial sense to move towards a low debt status. Indeed, the fact we are doing so much better is all the more reason to keep our noses extra clean. This book had the exquisite timing of coming out during the GFC, but was not written to directly address it or the after effects, so it is a strong history and source of information without being dragged into the partisan debates about 'austerity'. That said, I ended up skimming it once I'd picked up the main themes. Useful to have on the shelf. Maybe i'll learn more from it through osmosis if it stays there long enough.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    Good Reads is so unbelievable clunky. It took about six attempts for it to recognize this book. Anyway this is an excellent history of financial booms and busts. Not as good as Kindlebergers classic on the same subject but more up to data and based on a more comprehensive data base. Analytically sound though sometimes a little ideological/free market wise but this does not detract from its basic message: during financial booms, this time is never different and there is a bust coming. I remember Good Reads is so unbelievable clunky. It took about six attempts for it to recognize this book. Anyway this is an excellent history of financial booms and busts. Not as good as Kindlebergers classic on the same subject but more up to data and based on a more comprehensive data base. Analytically sound though sometimes a little ideological/free market wise but this does not detract from its basic message: during financial booms, this time is never different and there is a bust coming. I remember in the run up to the dot com boom one of my staff was putting all his salary in dot com stock and when I told him it was heading for a bust, he said "this time its different" which is the time to sell everything.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    This time is never different: after any prolonged period of financial calm, policy makers and their advisers either forget history or invent reasons to believe that historical experience is irrelevant so the cycle of overvalued assets, huge trade imbalances and rapid acquisition of debt begins with the cheerleaders in academia and the business community telling each other (and everyone else) that this time the old valuation rules don't apply; we are smarter, have better systems and have learned This time is never different: after any prolonged period of financial calm, policy makers and their advisers either forget history or invent reasons to believe that historical experience is irrelevant so the cycle of overvalued assets, huge trade imbalances and rapid acquisition of debt begins with the cheerleaders in academia and the business community telling each other (and everyone else) that this time the old valuation rules don't apply; we are smarter, have better systems and have learned from past mistakes. But of course we haven't. Reinhart and Rogoff have collected, analyzed and synthesized a enormous amount of data. They have immersed themselves in the sources. Their writing style is clear and direct without oversimplifying a complex subject. This is a brilliant book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jay Roberts, CFP®, CRPC ®

    This is the most important book that no one will ever read. The data provided is enormous, and presented in a manner that only economists would truly grasp. I know of few people that could fully process the information provided in the work, myself included at times. However, the information is sobering and necessary. Nothing in our current economic situation is new, and this work proves the point that this time is not different. People can attempt to read into this work and slant that data This is the most important book that no one will ever read. The data provided is enormous, and presented in a manner that only economists would truly grasp. I know of few people that could fully process the information provided in the work, myself included at times. However, the information is sobering and necessary. Nothing in our current economic situation is new, and this work proves the point that this time is not different. People can attempt to read into this work and slant that data anyway they wish, but it is difficult to ignore the facts presented. Wars have caused a large portion of financial disasters, lack of capital infusion after the crisis begins has caused prolonged episodes, and delusional optimism in good times creates over leverage.

  28. 5 out of 5

    P

    It's data. Hooray data! The authors aren't trying to write a book for a wide audience. It's mathematical and dry; that's the point. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Economics from a top-25 university--my coursework included International Finance and Econometrics--and I still found this book difficult. It's worth it if you are interested in economics and you don't get nervous when the authors don't apologize for being experts. A relatively simple passage from this book is something like, "A country It's data. Hooray data! The authors aren't trying to write a book for a wide audience. It's mathematical and dry; that's the point. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Economics from a top-25 university--my coursework included International Finance and Econometrics--and I still found this book difficult. It's worth it if you are interested in economics and you don't get nervous when the authors don't apologize for being experts. A relatively simple passage from this book is something like, "A country can circumvent its external creditors for an extended period." (150). They make a grand, sweeping argument and have over 150 pages of appendices, footnotes, and references to support their grand claim.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rogier Potter van loon

    The book is written in a rather boring and technical manner, as if it were an academic article. This would be okay, if it weren't for the fact that everything that's shown is descriptive statistics. Every other page seems to mention how they have this 'unique new big dataset' and how this allows for new insights and analyses, but these analyses are never shown. The book is really just one big description of their dataset. Nowhere in the book is there a convincing case, for example, that the The book is written in a rather boring and technical manner, as if it were an academic article. This would be okay, if it weren't for the fact that everything that's shown is descriptive statistics. Every other page seems to mention how they have this 'unique new big dataset' and how this allows for new insights and analyses, but these analyses are never shown. The book is really just one big description of their dataset. Nowhere in the book is there a convincing case, for example, that the 'This time is different' thinking is prevalent over time.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Very dense financial information about how governments get themselves into financial trouble. The main message of the book is that it's nothing new. No matter how new it may seem, no matter how many time the experts say, "Yeah, but, this time it's different." The lesson of history is that no, it's not different. These financial troubles occur for the same reasons time and time again. Even if financial collapse can't be predicted, it can be counted on. It is a constant.

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