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  Title: The Ascent of Money – A Financial History of the World  Author: Niall FergusonPublisher: Penguin 2009 (First published: 2008)ISBN: 98!0! # !0$%#8!2Pages: $&2 A boo' long oerdue*as +, -irst i+pression on getting hold o- the boo' and a .ui/' rustlingthrough the pages er, -e* authors tr, this bold initiatie to bring out the horrendous +ass o- data and -a/ts behind the +ost ubi.uitous inention o- /iili1ation  +one, Niall Ferguson isone o- Britain3s +ost reno*ned historians 4e is a pro-essor o- histor, and a best selling author5/o+bined in one person  another uni.ue /o+bination 6eali1ing that +one, is a lot +oreinteresting to handle rather than pondering oer it5 and the sheer drudger, o- +ost boo's on-inan/e5 this one is re-reshingl, srcinal The author also *rites in ne*spapers and 7ournals andhas presented -our highl, su//ess-ul teleision do/u+entar, series The /o+bination o- sar/asti/ *it and insight-ul reading has produ/ed one o- the best results in the -ield so -arredit and debt are a+ong the +ost essential building blo/'s o- e/ono+i/ deelop+ent Itenabled +an to trans/end the -rontiers o- his illage or tribe and to rea/h other so/ieties5no*ada,s situated hal- *a, around the globe olution o- ban'ing *as the -irst step in theas/ent o- +one, Those *ho blindl, oppose the -inan/ial institutions /onenientl, -orget the -a/tthat poor people are i+poerished b, the absen/e5 rather than the presen/e o- ban's In theabsen/e o- eas, /redit5 the poor -all i/ti+ to the hideous dei/es o- usurers and loan shar'sTra/es o- ban'ing goes ba/' to the se/ond +illenniu+ B in esopota+ia The s,ste+-lourished in the renaissan/e era in Ital, In Floren/e5 *here the renaissan/e produ/ed its -inestblosso+5 the edi/i -a+il,5 *ho *ere also the patrons o- ;a in/i5 *ere a/tiel, engaged inban'ing and politi/s Strength in both the -ronts *as essential in those da,s to surie Soon5the -ashion spread to other parts o- urope5 /reating A+sterda+ </hange Ban' ( &09)5Sto/'hol+s Ban/o ( &%) and Ban' o- ngland ( &9#) Ine<perien/e *ith ban'ing la, behindthe -re.uent ban'rupt/ies o- Spain5 though it *as endo*ed *ith +ountains o- siler /olle/ted-ro+ the Ne* =orld Spain e--e/tiel, let the ban's in 4olland to +anage their /redit Printing o- notes *ere ested *ith /entral ban's and -orti-ied b, the gold standard5 b, *hi/h ban's *ereobligated to repla/e ban' notes *ith a .uantit, o- gold and hen/e had to 'eep a gold resere inproportion to the notes in /ir/ulation This bottlene/' on -inan/e *as -inall, re+oed in 90 inthe >SBond +ar'et *as the se/ond step in the as/ent o- +one, As usual5 its srcins /an also betra/ed to +edieal Floren/e The Italian /it, states *ere al*a,s .uarrelling *ith ea/h other5 andthe states -ought a+ongst the+seles b, +ilitar, /ontra/tors5 /alled ondottieri *ho had to bepaid in /ash ontribution -ro+ the elites and publi/ *ere sought5 *ith a guarantee o- annuities-or the a+ount The bonds srcinated li'e this 4o*eer5 the bond is still onl, a pro+ise and theabilit, o- the state to pa, the interest is one o- the -a/tors deter+ining the pri/e o- the bond Theariation in pri/e leads to di--eren/es in ,ield5 e--e/tiel, /ausing the bond +ar'et ,ield to /ontrollong ter+ interest rate in the e/ono+, Nathan 6oths/hild *as a /leer inestor *ho +ade+illions -ro+ the bond +ar'et in the a-ter+ath o- Napoleoni/ *ars 4is +aster, o- the *a,s andthe brutalit, oer his ene+ies had earned the ni/'na+e o- ?Bonaparte o- Finan/e3 to hi+sel-4istor, also sho*s that bonds di/tate the out/o+e o- *ars In the A+eri/an /iil *ar5 South3s/otton ba/'ed bonds -ailed to i+press uropean inestors5 a-ter the South3s onl, port at Ne*@rleans /a+e under >nion -or/es3 o//upation a/' o- +one, -or *ar e--ort ha+pered theSouth3s e--orts5 *hi/h *as +ade e<tre+el, *orse b, the h,perin-lation set in soon a-ter itresorted to printing paper +one, to /oer the la/' o- reenue -ro+ bond +ar'et The third step in the as/ent *as the inention o- 7oint!sto/'5 li+ited!liabilit, /o+pan, This5ho*eer5 srcinated in 4olland in the  th  /entur, Spi/e trade *ith the east oer ne*l, -ound  trade routes around A-ri/a *as e<tre+el, lu/ratie and dangerous arge /apital *as re.uired-or organi1ing 7ourne,s and traders began to pool their resour/es -or a o,age The /apital *asrepaid to the inestors *hen the ship returned In &025 the ;ut/h ast India o+pan,5 na+edo *as -or+ed *hi/h issued shares to the publi/ *hi/h *as non!repa,able -or ten ,ears In & 25 *hen it *as due5 the repa,+ent *as postponed inde-initel,5 -or/ing the inestors to sellthe+ to another inestor -or reali1ing +one, Thus *as /reated the -irst sto/' +ar'et Bubbles*ere an integral -eature o- sto/' +ar'ets and the -irst 'no*n o//urren/e o- a sto/' bubble *asin  9 in Fran/e5 *hen the ississippi /o+pan, sto/'s burst a-ter a pro-ound rall, Thousandso- inestors lost their +one, and it indire/tl, /aused an aersion o- the Fren/h people to sto/'sand -inan/ial +ar'ets -or +an, de/ades therea-terThe -ourth step *as the -or+ation o- insuran/e and the assi+ilation o- ris' b, another part,6obert =alla/e and Ale<ander =ebster5 t*o S/ottish /lerg,+en instituted a -und to -end -or *ido*s and underaged /hildren o- -ello* +inisters d,ing in harness The /o+pan, still e<isttoda,5 een though the gro*th has been pheno+enal oer the /enturies and is /alled ScottishWidows  Toda,3s insuran/e /o+panies inest their /olle/ted pre+iu+s in other -inan/ial+ar'ets5 li'e the sto/' +ar'et Insuran/e is in -a/t a -und5 the need -or *hi/h arises -ro+ a/han/e eent *hose probabilit, /an be esti+ated in adan/e =el-are state *as a /on/ept/o+pli+enting that o- insuran/e5 in *hi/h the goern+ent ta'es the liabilit, o- ensuring in/o+eto old age people in lieu o- their saings to the /orpus during their produ/tie /areers In/reasedallo/ation to so/ial se/urit, +easures -ro+ ta<ation in deeloped /ountries are /ausingstag-lation in their e/ono+ies 4edge -unds is another option to guard against -uture ris'5 but itis open onl, to large business housesInesting in housing and real estate is a hall+ar' o- the nglish!spea'ing peoples The ratio o- people *ho o*n their o*n residen/es are greater in those /ountries 4ousing as a sa-e aenue-or inest+ent is 7eopardi1ed b, the subpri+e +ortgage /risis *hi/h engul-ed the A+eri/ans,ste+ in 2005 *hi/h ulti+atel, led to /ollapse o- ban's5 hedge -unds and resulting -inall, inre/ession olle/tie -inan/ial propositions li'e the +i/ro-inan/e5 *hi/h reolutioni1ed the rurallands/ape in deeloping /ountries proide attra/tie inest+ent options -or the underpriileged A part o- the su//ess o- +i/ro-inan/e +oe+ents *as e<tending /redit to house*ies5 rather than their husbands5 *ho in +an, /ases proed to be /redit ris's5 in -a/t The author /on/ludes *ith a /hapter on -inan/ial histor, a-ter industrial reolution heaptransport paed the *a, -or globali1ation o- +ar'ets The rising protest o- the pre!industrialnations /ul+inated in the disastrous -irst *orld *ar ;e/lining agri/ultural pri/es and soaringindustrial output had dra+ati/all, *idened the gul- bet*een the nations *hi/h pursued a poli/,o- global /oerage and the /onseraties *ho stu/' to their pre/on/eied notions Al+osthundred ,ears a-ter the -irst *orld *ar5 globali1ation is still the +ost opposed -inan/ial /on/ept5but the roles hae reersed The /entre o- -inan/ial a/u+en has shi-ted to hina in the easthina /alls the shots and /ontrols the interest rates in the >S To 'eep ren+inbi  their /urren/,  /heap5 the, a//u+ulate dollar in eer, +ar'et5 rat/heting it up A strong dollar /aused lo*er rates o- interest in >S5 resulting in spe/ulation and /hanneling o- +one, tosubpri+e +ortgages Ferguson /oins the ter+ Chimerica 5 to re-er to the duo o- hinese and A+eri/an e/ono+ies *hi/h are so intert*ined at present The eastern side5 hina5 saes the+one, and the *est /ontinues to indulge in spending This +a, soon turn out to be /hi+era5should antagonis+ deelop bet*een the t*o great po*ersIn the a-ter*ord proided in paperba/' editions5 the author /o+pares -inan/ial histor, toeolution5 /iting si+ilar eniron+ental and deelop+ental -a/tors All re/ipes are in pla/e in-inan/e5 li'e +utation and sele/tion 6egulators and publi/ senti+ent -or+ the eniron+ent on*hi/h organis+s -lourish Seeral -ir+s +a, die out5 unable to /o+pete *ith their neighbours in/hanging eniron+ents5 *hile the -ittest surie Finan/e is li'e a +irror o- so/iet, I- the -a/e  appears unattra/tie5 that +ust be as/ribed to the ble+ishes o- indiiduals5 rather than to the+irrorThe boo' is .uite eas, to read5 at least the -irst hal- It -ollo*s a stru/tured approa/h5 *ith ea/hepisode in the histor, o- -inan/ial institutions neatl, pa/'aged into sel-!/ontained /hapters A/asual reader /an go through a single /hapter5 *ithout reading the pre/eding and su//eedingportions and /ould still /o+e out *ith an en7o,able read The author3s /o++endable e--ort inputting together t*o +illennia o- -inan/ial histor, in a boo' intelligible and appealing to ordinar,readers is superbl, su//ess-ul It +a, also be pointed out that in the se/ond hal- o- the boo'5the thread slightl, gets 'nott,5 raising -inan/ial 7argons eer, no* and then@ne serious disadantage is the total negle/t o- -inan/ial institutions deeloped an,*here other than urope The author /ondes/ension to as/ribe to esopota+ia5 the birth pla/e o- ban'ingsee+s to be the result o- his inner /oni/tion that the uropeans o*e their /ultural /ontinuit, tothose an/ient people India and hina had e<perien/e *ith -inan/ial instru+ents +an, /enturiesbe-ore the uropean renaissan/e5 but the total bla/'out to su/h eents restri/ts the utilit, o- the*or' as an authenti/ and /o+prehensie des/ription o- the *orld It +a, *ell be *orth*hile -or Ferguson to re+e+ber that Asia also -or+s a part o- the *orld5 though not in the -inan/ial s/aleas its inhabitants *ant it to be The -inan/ial le<i/on is /u+berso+e at so+e pla/es5 the la/' o- glossar, +a'ing it /o+pounded The boo' is highl, re/o++ended6ating: 3 Star   Title: The World Is Flat – The Globalized World In The 21 st  Centry  Author: Tho+as Fried+anPublisher: Allen ane 200% (First)ISBN: 0! $!9988!#Pages: #&9 A *ell read 7ournalist and reno*ned -or his e<pertise on international a--airs and e/ono+i/issues5 Fried+an has *on the Pulit1er Pri1e three ti+es and has traelled all around the globe4is latest title5 Hot, Flat and Crowded has been reie*ed earlier in this blog This boo' *aspublished 7ust be-ore that one and is a good prelude to the ne* one In both the *or's5 thereader is a+a1ed at Fried+an3s superhu+an talent o- /o+pressing so +an, -a/ts in so -e*pages5 in so enrapturing a *a, 4e is the hu+an e.uialent o- 1ip ar/hiing The thrust on thepresent title is the post!globali1ed *orld5 bringing out the best in people and pa,ing ba/' thebest to the+5 dependent onl, on their adaptabilit, to /hanging /onditions The *alls thatseparated people5 both ph,si/al (li'e the Berlin *all) and inisible (li'e tari-- prote/tions) /a+e/rashing do*n be-ore the relentless push o- globali1ation5 +a'ing the pla,ing -ield leelFried+an /alls su/h a *orld ?-lat35 in the sense that there are no hurdles to trael o- ideas5business5 produ/ts and also5 people Fried+an postulates three stages o- globali1ation5 *hi/h started +ore than -ie /enturies ago5*ith olu+bus dis/oering A+eri/a The -irst stage lasted -ro+ #92 to around 800 *hennations *ere -or/ing the pa/e5 *hile the se/ond stage5 ter+ed Clobali1ation 20 started around 800 to around 2000 The +ulti!national /o+pan, e+erged as the -lag bearer during this eraThe third phase (Clobali1ation $0) started around 2000 and still /ontinuing is +ar'ed b, the?-latness3 o- the *orld and indiidual hu+an beings are the thrust behind it @utsour/ing o- 'no*ledge5 seri/es and +anu-a/turing to deeloping /ountries li'e India and hina5parti/ularl, to prosperous po/'ets li'e Bangalore and ;alian in hina are s,+bols o- this latestphase o+panies 7ust started to gie the tas' o- running their business pro/esses to other partners5 so+eti+e in the sa+e /ountr,5 /alled ho+esour/ing or to indiiduals sitting hal- *a,around the globe (outsour/ing) The old regi+e o- top!do*n5 hierar/hi/al /o++and stru/turesgae *a, -or hori1ontal5 /ollaboratie +odels Fried+an lists out ten aspe/ts5 /alling the+ flatteners 5 *hi/h *as behind this silent reolutionThe, are ) The /o+ing do*n o- Berlin =all on No 5 989 (re-erred to as D95 as opposed to 9D )This single eent s,+bolised the -ruition o- the a+bitions o- -reedo+ o- a large +ultitude o- people i+prisoned behind the iron /urtain o- Soiet e+pire At the sa+e ti+e5 it paed the *a,-or the gro*th o- bin aden and the dangerous ideolog, he represented The gro*ing spread o- Ps and Internet helped people do*nload the -uture5 *hile the sa+e tools enabled the Eihadiststo upload the past 2) Nets/ape *ent publi/  This see+ingl, unre+ar'able eent in -a/t spurred gro*th in theinternet bro*ser te/hnolog,5 *hi/h *as the basi/ tool o- /ollaboration -or billions o- peopletoda,$) ;eelop+ent o- *or'-lo* so-t*are enabled appli/ations to tal' to one another5 ensuringbetter /oordination#) +ergen/e o- open sour/e so-t*are li'e inu< and Fire-o< helped spread the basi/ tools toeer, part o- the *orld%) @utsour/ing&) @--!shoring) Cro*th o- suppl, /hains8) In!sour/ing5 *here /o+panies outsour/ing part o- their logisti/s
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