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Does money make the world go round, as Cabaret's Master of Ceremonies sang to us? In The Cash Nexus, acclaimed historian Niall Ferguson offers a radical and surprising answer-No. Conventional wisdom has long claimed that economic change is the prime mover of political change, whether in the age of industry or the Internet. In our own time Paul Kennedy has claimed that econ Does money make the world go round, as Cabaret's Master of Ceremonies sang to us? In The Cash Nexus, acclaimed historian Niall Ferguson offers a radical and surprising answer-No. Conventional wisdom has long claimed that economic change is the prime mover of political change, whether in the age of industry or the Internet. In our own time Paul Kennedy has claimed that economics provided the key to international power, while Francis Fukuyama and others have argued that capitalism doomed socialism and ensured the victory of democracy. Small wonder politicians are obsessed with the economy: the Clinton campaign motto-"It's the economy stupid" -sums up a central tenet of modern life. But is it the economy? Ferguson thinks it is high time we re-examined the link-the "nexus," to use Thomas Carlyle's term-between economics and politics, in the aftermath not only of the failure of socialism but also of the apparent triumph of American-style capitalism. His central argument is that the conflicting impulses of sex, violence, and power are together more powerful than money. In particular, political events and institutions have often dominated economic development. A bold synthesis of political history and modern economic theory, Cash Nexus will transform the landscape of modern history and draw challenging and unsettling conclusions about the prospects of both capitalism and democracy.


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Does money make the world go round, as Cabaret's Master of Ceremonies sang to us? In The Cash Nexus, acclaimed historian Niall Ferguson offers a radical and surprising answer-No. Conventional wisdom has long claimed that economic change is the prime mover of political change, whether in the age of industry or the Internet. In our own time Paul Kennedy has claimed that econ Does money make the world go round, as Cabaret's Master of Ceremonies sang to us? In The Cash Nexus, acclaimed historian Niall Ferguson offers a radical and surprising answer-No. Conventional wisdom has long claimed that economic change is the prime mover of political change, whether in the age of industry or the Internet. In our own time Paul Kennedy has claimed that economics provided the key to international power, while Francis Fukuyama and others have argued that capitalism doomed socialism and ensured the victory of democracy. Small wonder politicians are obsessed with the economy: the Clinton campaign motto-"It's the economy stupid" -sums up a central tenet of modern life. But is it the economy? Ferguson thinks it is high time we re-examined the link-the "nexus," to use Thomas Carlyle's term-between economics and politics, in the aftermath not only of the failure of socialism but also of the apparent triumph of American-style capitalism. His central argument is that the conflicting impulses of sex, violence, and power are together more powerful than money. In particular, political events and institutions have often dominated economic development. A bold synthesis of political history and modern economic theory, Cash Nexus will transform the landscape of modern history and draw challenging and unsettling conclusions about the prospects of both capitalism and democracy.

30 review for The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    It’s not this book’s fault that I took over a month to complete it. No, that was purely self-inflicted. In fact The Cash Nexus was a book that I looked forward to reading – even while I was reading it. Under other circumstances I’m sure I would have finished it in only a week or two. After all it is both shorter and has fewer citations & quotations than the two volumes of The Rothschilds which I read earlier this year. In fact I doubt that it would even crush a kitten, let alone cause permanent It’s not this book’s fault that I took over a month to complete it. No, that was purely self-inflicted. In fact The Cash Nexus was a book that I looked forward to reading – even while I was reading it. Under other circumstances I’m sure I would have finished it in only a week or two. After all it is both shorter and has fewer citations & quotations than the two volumes of The Rothschilds which I read earlier this year. In fact I doubt that it would even crush a kitten, let alone cause permanent injury. The author, Niall Ferguson does know a lot about financial instruments and institutions. However, he is not an economist, he is a historian. One who believes firmly in the rightness and efficacy of capitalism for sure, but definitely an historian. I consider this book to have been as ‘strong” and as well researched as the one on the Rothschilds. His writing is good and remains “on topic”. The scope of this book is “larger” because it attempts to deal with the development of money, money systems, and how it influences politics, countries, and civilization. The full title of the book states this unequivocally: The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000. Although the book began as a look at the development of the bond market (and was funded by The Bank of England), it eventually evolved into the larger scope that we see today. By necessity some of the material in this volume overlaps that of the Rothschild family history that he wrote earlier. Indeed, in places I found myself prognosticating the text as familiar events and people were covered. But, the small amount of duplication did not detract from the material. I felt that having read the other works I was better able to appreciate the associated points he was making in this one. (For example, the issue of the 19th century European wars; the costs of the same and the issue of paying reparations. The French were able to pay off an enormous amount very quickly (with the aid of the Rothschilds) but other countries struggled with smaller amounts.) So what is this book about? Well, one could say that it shows us how “money makes the world go round”. And it does so both with facts gleaned from records of taxation, wars, national budgets & expenditures, and from contemporary business and banking records. “The Markets” have been a force in the world for over 300 years and because they are widely, if not always publicly, traded bonds and stock prices give us a clear image of the perceived strength of economies and nations. With great faith, prices go up and yields go down. With little faith, the reverse is true. How appropriate that I write this on the 11th day of the US Government’s partial shutdown 2013. In only a few days’ time, we might be looking at the default (technical, my posterior) of the US Treasury to boot. I enjoyed reading this book and learned a few ironic facts along the way (amusement value even in dry technical tomes is highly valued): Karl Marx used to play the markets and wrote about his occasional “wins”. Just image what might have happened if he had been just slightly more successful and turned into a prototypical “day trader” instead of continuing as an author. (In fact many full-time writers were both ungrateful for but reliant on the economic expansion of the 1800s which created the demand for their works that kept them fed and clothed.) Many authors old and new postulate that political events can be explained in economic terms. Ferguson offers three hypotheses that he will use during the book. Investigating this link between politics and economics and why socialism fell against capitalism (at least the relatively corruption free version evidence by England, The US and Western Europe) is the bulk of this book. And it provides the author that wider stage (wider than just the bond market) that allows him to examine the four parameters of “the square of power”: national debt, central bank, parliament (congress), & tax bureaucracy that he feels are necessary. These four elements define how the credit markets work with and against nations and national systems both in peace and war. Without them a country may be able to wage a war, but it can only do so in very constrained circumstances. With them, it can diffuse the costs of such expenditures more evenly and over many years. The book is organized into four sections: Spending and Taxing, Promises to Pay, Economic Politics, and Global Power. He attempts to chart the development of the basic financial institutions and how they accommodated the needs of the governments. One of his key points is that wars have always been the prime cause of financial innovations for most of recorded history. Likewise the development of taxation and bureaucracy has occurred because of these innovations. In the course of his discussions about political parties, democracies and the expectations of benefits from governments, there are two additional points that stood out for me. The first is that global powers fade away not because of overreach, but instead because of underreach. Although the example he uses is of Imperial Britain, he states quite clearly that the US may lose its place as the dominant superpower for the same reasons. Granted this was written before either gulf war or the invasion of Afghanistan, but the intention of the current cuts in military spending (explicit or via sequestration) will bring about exactly the same result. Smaller and fewer forces and weapons systems making it less possible to “project power” and conduct more than one conflict (war) at a time. The second is that entitlements (of any sort) increase as governments (political parties) act to appease voters in order to remain in/gain power. Again the examples are more about England, but he includes other countries and the US is not exception. Even though it is widely accepted that Democrats expand social programs, the reality is that Republicans have often done so as well. (Example, G. W. Bush’s expansion of medical benefits to include prescription drugs for seniors. I’m not saying it was wrong, just that it happened under his watch.) In the extreme case, the number of taxpayers who pay and receive no benefits shrinks, while those who pay but receive substantive benefits and those who pay no taxes at all grow to the majority. For those of you who recall Mitt’s 47% comment, this was exactly the point he was making. (Again, I am only noting the fact, not advocating or apologizing.) If you like this sort of thing, this book is a very good look at the role of money and credit in making the world we have today. It’s dry, but well-written and easy to follow. His logic is clear and his points well-laid. Even if you don’t like his cheerleading of later books, Mr. Ferguson is a good author and historian. Three and one half (3.5) uninflated stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Христо Блажев

    Каква е цената на войната – и каква на мира?: http://knigolandia.info/book-review/p... Надцених се с “Пари и власт в модерния свят (1700 – 2000). Паричната връзка” на Нийл Фъргюсън – при все че съм прочел стотици исторически книги, си счупих зъбите в по-задълбочената финансова материя. За радост, последните глави са по-исторични и там вече схванах по-ясно нещата, защото в тези за финансовите пазари, дълговете, девалвациите, облигациите и заемите с всичките проценти, се пообърках. Важно е от самот Каква е цената на войната – и каква на мира?: http://knigolandia.info/book-review/p... Надцених се с “Пари и власт в модерния свят (1700 – 2000). Паричната връзка” на Нийл Фъргюсън – при все че съм прочел стотици исторически книги, си счупих зъбите в по-задълбочената финансова материя. За радост, последните глави са по-исторични и там вече схванах по-ясно нещата, защото в тези за финансовите пазари, дълговете, девалвациите, облигациите и заемите с всичките проценти, се пообърках. Важно е от самото начало да се отбележи, че книгата излиза през 2001 г., преди събията от 9 септември, и това малко изкривява предвижданията на Фъргюсън, който недоволства, че Америка не поема глобалната си отговорност, която подобава на икономическата ѝ мощ. Все пак ясно е посочен изследваният период – 1700-2000 г., като фокусът, няма изненада, е върху евро-атлантическата част на света. Riva Publishers (Издателство РИВА) http://knigolandia.info/book-review/p...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Александър Стоянов

    while the book is rich with statistics, it lacks consistency, depth and analisys. I read the first two chapters an must say I am rather unimpresed. The author has put a lot of effort to come up with an abundancy of sources and data but fails to capitalize on the broad statistical foundations of his study. Perhaps I might consider re-reading it later on, but at this point, I see no specific need to finish the book whatsoever. 3 stars for the useful gathering of research data, otherwise, I'd give while the book is rich with statistics, it lacks consistency, depth and analisys. I read the first two chapters an must say I am rather unimpresed. The author has put a lot of effort to come up with an abundancy of sources and data but fails to capitalize on the broad statistical foundations of his study. Perhaps I might consider re-reading it later on, but at this point, I see no specific need to finish the book whatsoever. 3 stars for the useful gathering of research data, otherwise, I'd give it a 2.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    I love Ferguson but he can be dense. While I find reading about the history of the international bond market fun, not everyone does ;) Ferguson's main point here is that four pillars created the successful structure of Western economies: taxation and representation, respect for private property, government debt and the welfare economy. As always Ferguson is well-researched and appropriately footnoted. Great book for the political economists amongst us. I love Ferguson but he can be dense. While I find reading about the history of the international bond market fun, not everyone does ;) Ferguson's main point here is that four pillars created the successful structure of Western economies: taxation and representation, respect for private property, government debt and the welfare economy. As always Ferguson is well-researched and appropriately footnoted. Great book for the political economists amongst us.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pieter

    Het is bijna onbegonnen werk om de belangrijkste besluiten van dit boek beknopt samen te vatten gezien de veelvoud aan onderwerpen en inzichten. Economische macht hoeft zich niet te vertalen in militaire macht in die mate dat de economisch zwakkere een strategisch, tactisch of operationeel voordeel geniet of bijvoorbeeld bereid is om meer mensenlevens op te offeren (Viëtnam vs VS). Bovendien moeten we rekening houden met de mate waarop de staat de organisatie en het gezag heeft belasting te heffe Het is bijna onbegonnen werk om de belangrijkste besluiten van dit boek beknopt samen te vatten gezien de veelvoud aan onderwerpen en inzichten. Economische macht hoeft zich niet te vertalen in militaire macht in die mate dat de economisch zwakkere een strategisch, tactisch of operationeel voordeel geniet of bijvoorbeeld bereid is om meer mensenlevens op te offeren (Viëtnam vs VS). Bovendien moeten we rekening houden met de mate waarop de staat de organisatie en het gezag heeft belasting te heffen en desnoods in het buitenland leningen aan te gaan. Dit laatste is geen onbelangrijk detail. Groot-Brittannië ten tijde van Napoleon en de VS vandaag winnen zo in belangrijke mate hun respectievelijke oorlogen. Voor het innen van belastingen is het van belang dat er een goed functionerend overheidsapparaat is en dat de belastingbetaler zich via een democratisch systeem gehoord weet. Economische groei is bijvoorbeeld ook geen garantie om verkiezingen te winnen. Ook is er een interessante uitwijding over partijfinanciering. Omwille van mogelijkheid tot corruptie zijn privé-giften aan banden gelegd. Maar de duurdere campagnes hebben de overheid ertoe aangezet om zelf voor de financiering te zorgen. Dit zorgt ervoor dat partijen uit de hand van die overheid gaan eten. Ferguson ziet minder globalisering vandaag dan voor WO I. Er is bijvoorbeeld veel minder arbeidsmobiliteit (Europese emigratie richting VS). Het feit dat het boek is geschreven in 2000 laat toe om een aantal voorspellingen te toetsen aan de werkelijkheid. Ferguson voorspelde correct dat de euro uiteindelijk zou lijden aan haar structurele fouten. Hij pleitte dat de VS zich actiever op het buitenlandse toneel zou mengen, maar zag dit niet meteen gebeuren. Een jaar later zou George W. Bush Afghanistan en Irak binnenvallen. Het zou de VS slecht bevallen. Het boek is doorspekt met interessante weetjes: de mobilisatie tijdens WO II in Duitsland was een stuk minder dan in Groot-Brittannië en vooral Frankrijk; de meeste slachtoffers tijdens WO I en WO II vielen relatief gezien in resp. Servië en Polen. Of wist u dat de Zeventien Provinciën hun volledige begroting opsoupeerden aan militaire middelen ten tijde van de Tachtigjarige Oorlog of het 16e eeuwse Spanje aan interest op de overheidsschuld? Veel data, veel onderzoek, veel resultaten en dus een wondere wereld voor wie zich in economische geschiedis interesseert.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    FINALLY DONE! P.318 "In theory, it is without doubt preferable to pay pensions through investment earnings from private pension funds rather than through taxation and social security ("Pay As You Go"). P.325 "indeed, an ounce of gold buys approximately the same amount of bread today as it bought in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, more than 2,500 years ago." P.367 "according to Barro, the key contributions a government can make towards growth are: 1. providing or encouraging the provis FINALLY DONE! P.318 "In theory, it is without doubt preferable to pay pensions through investment earnings from private pension funds rather than through taxation and social security ("Pay As You Go"). P.325 "indeed, an ounce of gold buys approximately the same amount of bread today as it bought in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, more than 2,500 years ago." P.367 "according to Barro, the key contributions a government can make towards growth are: 1. providing or encouraging the provision of secondary and higher education; 2. providing or encouraging the provision of effective health care, since there is a correlation between growth and life expectancy; 3. promoting birth control; 4. avoiding "non-productive government expenditures," since "big government is bad for growth;" 5. enforcing the rule of law; 6. keeping inflation below around 10 per cent per annum. " so far, huge libertarian slant, including railing against taxes and economic development supported by the public sphere. Ferguson is prone to listing facts and expecting that makes his argument for him. Despite this, I'm enjoying it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Relentlessly statistical. It reads a little bit like "a collection of essays on..." but the final few chapters drag all the strands together well. A few prescient comments when he's talking about contemporary politics: the US being vulnerable to a terrorist attack, the EMU being vulnerable to a pension/social security driven crisis (e.g Greek debt and their welfare commitments), the danger of the US under stretching (e.g there's a case to be made Obama did so and Russia became more assertive). T Relentlessly statistical. It reads a little bit like "a collection of essays on..." but the final few chapters drag all the strands together well. A few prescient comments when he's talking about contemporary politics: the US being vulnerable to a terrorist attack, the EMU being vulnerable to a pension/social security driven crisis (e.g Greek debt and their welfare commitments), the danger of the US under stretching (e.g there's a case to be made Obama did so and Russia became more assertive). The bond market stuff is really good. Indebted countries can default but they will take the punishment over time with higher interest rates - France discovered this in the 1800s. Again looking to Greece, had they been allowed to default then they would have faced larger borrowing costs. But worse, imo, is this would have likely spilled over into other countries from Southern Europe. If Niall Ferguson is a high-priest of neoliberalism, then I am a believer. Just don't tell my marxist grandad.

  8. 5 out of 5

    H Wesselius

    not exactly pleasure reading but informs. Ferguson displays a bias toward neo-liberal economics and pro-American foreign policy yet those on the left can also find much to agree with including --- bondholders have opposing interest to the unemployed, democracy changes the warfare state to the welfare state with an American exception, post WWII economics ended in the early seventies with no new form of stability, debt service is more important than debt repayment. Worth the read if you are intere not exactly pleasure reading but informs. Ferguson displays a bias toward neo-liberal economics and pro-American foreign policy yet those on the left can also find much to agree with including --- bondholders have opposing interest to the unemployed, democracy changes the warfare state to the welfare state with an American exception, post WWII economics ended in the early seventies with no new form of stability, debt service is more important than debt repayment. Worth the read if you are interested in economic history.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David

    I learned a good deal from this book, but it was tough to get through. I don't really recommend it unless you have a burning desire to understand government debt and financing. It is pretty cool stuff, though, and many of the insights in the book had immediate application to what has been going on in our country lately. I learned a good deal from this book, but it was tough to get through. I don't really recommend it unless you have a burning desire to understand government debt and financing. It is pretty cool stuff, though, and many of the insights in the book had immediate application to what has been going on in our country lately.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Стефан Петков

    Превъзходна! Професор Фъргюсън не изневерява на качествения и същевременно достъпен стил на писане. И както сам заявява, следва повелите на Ранке, а не опростенческия модел на Маркс за тълкуване на историческите събития. Препоръчвам.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Orlando Eeckhout

    Als geschiedenis, economie en zo je ding is is het zeker wel een aanrader.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    This book describes how different taxation and debt management methods have allowed countries to have various levels of success politically and militarily from 1700 to 2000. In recent years, Western countries have gone from being warfare to welfare states, due to a change in the largest portion of their budgets. Many governments' generational fiscal policy will not be able to be maintained, and either taxes will need to be raised or government benefits will need to be reduced. Aging populations This book describes how different taxation and debt management methods have allowed countries to have various levels of success politically and militarily from 1700 to 2000. In recent years, Western countries have gone from being warfare to welfare states, due to a change in the largest portion of their budgets. Many governments' generational fiscal policy will not be able to be maintained, and either taxes will need to be raised or government benefits will need to be reduced. Aging populations will only cause further strain to governments' budgets in future years. This is an interesting concept, and when this book was written, the United States was balancing its budget annually and there were discussions about reducing the overall debt. This book was published in 2001 by a British author, and it concludes by saying that the United States has the economic resources to make the world a better place, but its leaders lack the guts to do so. It was argued that the United States should impose democracy on the world's rogue states. The eight years since this book's publication seem to show that militarily creating new democracies and more free trade is not always such an easy solution to the world's problems. This books throws out lots of statistics. One set of interesting statistics is that of defense spending in 1998. The United States spent 5 times more on defense than the second biggest defense spender, and Japan was number two. France, Germany, and the United Kingdom finished out the top five. It seems that our defeated World War Two enemies seem to be investing quite a bit of money into their defense.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Will

    What you get: *Elementary insights into how the depth and breadth of capital markets can effect (substantially influence) geopolitical outcomes (victory vs. defeat). *An examination of who pays for what (and who benefits from these payments) in a few societies. *Other stuff. I think the last two sentences of this book very nicely sum it up: "Until we understand the mechanics of power--In this case, the reliance on the Napoleonic regime on extortion from occupied territory, it's undemocratic charact What you get: *Elementary insights into how the depth and breadth of capital markets can effect (substantially influence) geopolitical outcomes (victory vs. defeat). *An examination of who pays for what (and who benefits from these payments) in a few societies. *Other stuff. I think the last two sentences of this book very nicely sum it up: "Until we understand the mechanics of power--In this case, the reliance on the Napoleonic regime on extortion from occupied territory, it's undemocratic character, it's shallow bond market and it's crudely mercantilist monetary policy--we cannot begin to make sense of the outcome. In that sense, the cash nexus provides not a sufficient explanation of the modern world, but a necessary one." It's a good book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Miguel

    Definitely not a book to take to the beach. Pretty dense, though not theoretical. Mostly, Ferguson wades through mountains of empirical data about spending to GDP ratios and democracy indices in search for answers to big questions: economic determinism, the rise of the state, the spread of democracy, etc. I mostly read it for the thesis about how tax rates are related to the ratios between taxpayers and voters, i.e., the lower the ratio, the higher the rate of direct taxes, and the higher the ra Definitely not a book to take to the beach. Pretty dense, though not theoretical. Mostly, Ferguson wades through mountains of empirical data about spending to GDP ratios and democracy indices in search for answers to big questions: economic determinism, the rise of the state, the spread of democracy, etc. I mostly read it for the thesis about how tax rates are related to the ratios between taxpayers and voters, i.e., the lower the ratio, the higher the rate of direct taxes, and the higher the ratio, the higher indirect, or regressive taxes. An interesting book, though not destined to be a classic.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Silvio Curtis

    Rambling exploration of a lot of different facets of the relationship between economics and history, especially between government finance and military power. Does purport to have an overarching thesis but in practice doesn't connect with it much. Information is mixed with ethical judgments. The ethical part was argued too carelessly, if at all, to be stimulating. On the other hand, I learned a fair amount on the factual side about things like methods of government finance. I could understand so Rambling exploration of a lot of different facets of the relationship between economics and history, especially between government finance and military power. Does purport to have an overarching thesis but in practice doesn't connect with it much. Information is mixed with ethical judgments. The ethical part was argued too carelessly, if at all, to be stimulating. On the other hand, I learned a fair amount on the factual side about things like methods of government finance. I could understand some parts fine even with my very basic knowledge of economic theory, though a glossary would have helped with others.

  16. 4 out of 5

    gargamelscat

    At one point halfway through I thought I'd never come close to finishing, but after a hiatus of probably 6 months it's done with. I'd wanted a history of the bond markets and got an incomplete one but with a lot more, not necessarily desirable political baggage. Though I realise now I probably meant to get his 'Ascent of Money' instead. The narrative parts were very good but a deluge of statistics and graphs really broke up the flow. He's good on the economics but could reference a lot more politi At one point halfway through I thought I'd never come close to finishing, but after a hiatus of probably 6 months it's done with. I'd wanted a history of the bond markets and got an incomplete one but with a lot more, not necessarily desirable political baggage. Though I realise now I probably meant to get his 'Ascent of Money' instead. The narrative parts were very good but a deluge of statistics and graphs really broke up the flow. He's good on the economics but could reference a lot more political theory to bolster that side of his exposition. Challenging and heavy probably sums it up and it has certainly dulled my appetite for economic history for the forseeable future.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Terry Quirke

    Interesting overview of finance and politics and how they have effected each other, particularly in regards to warfare and expansion/contraction of empires mainly across the last 250 years. At times can get a bit dense if you are not an economics major but overall Ferguson again provides thought provoking ideas and provides enough information to give a good background.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Marvelous book, I couldn't put it down. Wonderful discussion of the development of bond markets and national finance and their interactions with politics and society. Very well written, could have been a very dry, dull discussion but instead a very entertaining read. Marvelous book, I couldn't put it down. Wonderful discussion of the development of bond markets and national finance and their interactions with politics and society. Very well written, could have been a very dry, dull discussion but instead a very entertaining read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gdiduck

    Other than "Fooled by Randomness" this is my most frequently recommended book to read. A great review of debt super cycles and the cyclical nature of debtor-creditor inversions. Timely read given the current sovereign debt issues. Other than "Fooled by Randomness" this is my most frequently recommended book to read. A great review of debt super cycles and the cyclical nature of debtor-creditor inversions. Timely read given the current sovereign debt issues.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    An interesting work that is a counterpoint to the Marxist argument that war is a result of finance or financial repression. The most interesting tenet of this work is that man is violent and has used finance to support his war mongering instead of the other way around.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    This book has a lot of detail, but that's because the author is putting forward such a large, important proposal. History deals with "great men" and powerful armies. Niall Ferguson answers the question: "where'd they get the money?" This book has a lot of detail, but that's because the author is putting forward such a large, important proposal. History deals with "great men" and powerful armies. Niall Ferguson answers the question: "where'd they get the money?"

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dusan Milenkovic

    Too much numbers in the first half of the book. Too much statistics. He had some really interesting points, about globalization now and century before, or comparation of Austro-Hungarian monarchy and EU.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Wojciech Sosnowski

    Brilliant

  24. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

    His best book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Thom

    Number dense, an interesting read. War and everything else from an economic perspective. Bonds for the win!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tenzing

    interesting ideas but really horrible writing and organization make this a painful read. read only a quarter of the book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Too much of this was beyond my abilities and interest, but I must give him due credit for his '4 square of power,' which I found persuasive. Too much of this was beyond my abilities and interest, but I must give him due credit for his '4 square of power,' which I found persuasive.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Raper

    I read this for a class but you could read it casually if you are interested in the history of finance. Holds the reader's interest pretty well, not as good as some of his other books though. I read this for a class but you could read it casually if you are interested in the history of finance. Holds the reader's interest pretty well, not as good as some of his other books though.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Krzysztof

    Book quite hard to read for me. Most of it packed with huge amount of numbers impossible to analyse and interpret with reasonable time. However most of conclusions seems to be very accurate.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ben

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