The past three decades have been characterized by vast change and crises in global financial markets—and not in politically unstable countries but in the heart of the developed world, from the Great Recession in the United States to the banking crises in Japan and the Eurozone. As we try to make sense of what caused these crises and how we might reduce risk factors and prevent recurrence, the fields of finance and economics have also seen vast change, as scholars and researchers have advanced their thinking to better respond to the recent crises.
A momentous collection of the best recent scholarship, After the Flood illustrates both the scope of the crises’ impact on our understanding of global financial markets and the innovative processes whereby scholars have adapted their research to gain a greater understanding of them. Among the contributors are José Scheinkman and Lars Peter Hansen, who bring up to date decades of collaborative research on the mechanisms that tie financial markets to the broader economy; Patrick Bolton, who argues that limiting bankers’ pay may be more effective than limiting the activities they can undertake; Edward Glaeser and Bruce Sacerdote, who study the social dynamics of markets; and E. Glen Weyl, who argues that economists are influenced by the incentives their consulting opportunities create.
The Battle over the Charter of the Second Bank of the United States and Its Lasting Impact on the American Economy
Late one night in July 1832,Martin Van Buren rushed to the White House where he found an ailing President Andrew Jackson weakened but resolute. Thundering against his political antagonists, Jackson bellowed: “The Bank, Mr. Van Buren, is trying to kill me, but I shall kill it!”With those famous words, Jackson formally declared “war” against the Second Bank of the United States and its president Nicholas Biddle. The Bank of the United States, which held the majority of Federal monies, had been established as a means of centralizing and stabilizing American currency and the economy, particularly during the country’s vulnerable early years. Jackson and his allies viewed the bank as both elitist and a threat to states’ rights. Throughout his first term, Jackson had attacked the bank viciously but failed to take action against the institution. Congress’ decision to recharter the bank forced Jackson to either make good on his rhetoric and veto the recharter or sign the recharter bill and be condemned as a hypocrite.
In The Bank War: Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Fight for American Finance, historian Paul Kahan explores one of the most important and dramatic events in American political and economic history, from the idea of centralized banking and the First Bank of the United States to Jackson’s triumph, the era of “free banking,” and the creation of the Federal Reserve System. Relying on a range of primary and secondary source material, the book also shows how the Bank War was a manifestation of the debates that were sparked at the Constitutional Convention—the role of the executive branch and the role of the federal government in American society—debates that endure to this day as philosophical differences that often divide the United States.
From the end of the nineteenth century until the onset of the Great Depression, Wall Street embarked on a stunning, unprecedented, and often bloody period of international expansion in the Caribbean. A host of financial entities sought to control banking, trade, and finance in the region. In the process, they not only trampled local sovereignty, grappled with domestic banking regulation, and backed US imperialism—but they also set the model for bad behavior by banks, visible still today. In Bankers and Empire, Peter James Hudson tells the provocative story of this period, taking a close look at both the institutions and individuals who defined this era of American capitalism in the West Indies. Whether in Wall Street minstrel shows or in dubious practices across the Caribbean, the behavior of the banks was deeply conditioned by bankers’ racial views and prejudices. Drawing deeply on a broad range of sources, Hudson reveals that the banks’ experimental practices and projects in the Caribbean often led to embarrassing failure, and, eventually, literal erasure from the archives.
When we look at all the challenges facing the world, including inequality, population migration, and climate change, we can see a role for development banking in nearly all of them. But will that role be played for good or ill? This book brings together two people who collectively draw on their forty-five years of experience in that world to argue that development banking can-and must-play a constructive role. We only need to read the news to find public outrage at tales of short-sighted greed in the financial world. But what happens when banks invest in long-term sustainability? Readers will find a fascinating example in the journey of the Dutch development bank FMO. At times global in perspective, at other moments intimately personal, Banking for a Better World interweaves candid anecdotes with development history, as well as banking lessons with client interviews, to deliver a powerful argument for a business model that generates profit through impact, and impact through profit. This is an important and accessible must-read for anyone involved in banking, business, policy making, and civil society as a whole. Banking for a Better World challenges us to start finding overlaps between our own lives and global issues and to bridge the distance between our personal needs and those of our planet.
Taking financial risks is an essential part of what banks do, but there’s no clear sense of what constitutes responsible risk. Taking legal risks seems to have become part of what banks do as well. Since the financial crisis, Congress has passed copious amounts of legislation aimed at curbing banks’ risky behavior. Lawsuits against large banks have cost them billions. Yet bad behavior continues to plague the industry. Why isn’t there more change?
In Better Bankers, Better Banks, Claire A. Hill and Richard W. Painter look back at the history of banking and show how the current culture of bad behavior—dramatized by the corrupt, cocaine-snorting bankers of The Wolf of Wall Street—came to be. In the early 1980s, banks went from partnerships whose partners had personal liability to corporations whose managers had no such liability and could take risks with other people’s money. A major reason bankers remain resistant to change, Hill and Painter argue, is that while banks have been faced with large fines, penalties, and legal fees—which have exceeded one hundred billion dollars since the onset of the crisis—the banks (which really means the banks’shareholders) have paid them, not the bankers themselves. The problem also extends well beyond the pursuit of profit to the issue of how success is defined within the banking industry, where highly paid bankers clamor for status and clients may regard as inevitable bankers who prioritize their own self-interest. While many solutions have been proposed, Hill and Painter show that a successful transformation of banker behavior must begin with the bankers themselves. Bankers must be personally liable from their own assets for some portion of the bank’s losses from excessive risk-taking and illegal behavior. This would instill a culture that discourages such behavior and in turn influence the sorts of behavior society celebrates or condemns.
Despite many sensible proposals seeking to reign in excessive risk-taking, the continuing trajectory of scandals suggests that we’re far from ready to avert the next crisis. Better Bankers, Better Banks is a refreshing call for bankers to return to the idea that theirs is a noble profession.
Binga is the definitive full-length biography of Jesse Binga, the first black banker in Chicago. Born into a large family in Detroit, Binga arrived in Chicago in 1892 in his late twenties with virtually nothing. Through his wits and resourcefulness, he rose to wealth and influence as a real estate broker, and in 1908 he founded the Binga Bank, the first black-owned bank in the city. But his achievements were followed by an equally notable downfall. Binga recounts this gripping story about race, history, politics, and finance.
The Black Belt, where Binga’s bank was located, was a segregated neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side—a burgeoning city within a city—and its growth can be traced through the arc of Binga’s career. He preached and embodied an American gospel of self-help and accrued wealth while expanding housing options and business opportunities for blacks. Devout Roman Catholics, he and his wife Eudora supported church activities and various cultural and artistic organizations; their annual Christmas party was the Black Belt’s social event of the year. But Binga’s success came at the price of a vicious backlash. After he moved his family into a white neighborhood in 1917, their house was bombed multiple times, his offices were attacked twice, and he became a lightning rod for the worst race riots in Chicago history, which took place in 1919. Binga persevered, but, starting with the stock market crash of October 1929, a string of reversals cost him his bank, his property, and his fortune.
A quintessentially Chicago story, Binga tells the history of racial change in one of the most segregated cities in America and how an extraordinary man stood as a symbol of hope in a community isolated by racial animosity.
This collection of essays by a range of international, multidisciplinary scholars explores the financial history, social significance, and cultural meanings of the theft, starting in 1933, of assets owned by German Jews. Despite the fraught topic and the ongoing legal discussions, the subject has not received much scholarly attention until now. This volume offers a much needed contribution to our understanding of the history of the period and the acts. The essays examine the confiscatory taxation of Jewish property, the looting of art and confiscation of gold, the role of German freight forwarders in property theft, salesmen and dispossession in the retail world, theft from the elderly, and the complicity of the banking industry, as well as the reach of the practice beyond German borders.
If we are moving toward one global financial market, will all national financial systems that determine how businesses raise money look the same? Richard Deeg argues that, despite financial market integration and considerable harmonization in the regulation of financial markets, the traditional structure and economic functions of national financial systems are not inevitably undermined. Using the case of Germany--a country with a strong and distinctive financial sector that is at the center of the pressures of economic integration--the author shows how the unique aspects of the German financial sector and its relationship to the German economy have persisted notwithstanding powerful pressures to change. Posing the German model of coordinated capitalism in which banks play an important role in shaping both firm behavior and the possibilities for state intervention in the economy against the liberal model of the United States and Britain in which the securities markets play a much greater role than banks, Deeg shows how the German model has survived competitive pressures in the international economic system that have pushed Germany--and other countries--toward the liberal model.
This book will appeal to political scientists and economists interested in international financial markets, globalization, and the comparative study of domestic financial markets, as well as in German politics and the German economy.
Richard Deeg is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Temple University.
Access to capital and financial services is crucial for healthy communities. However, many impoverished individuals and neighborhoods are routinely ignored by mainstream financial institutions. This neglect led to the creation of community development financial institutions (CDFIs), which provide low-income communities with financial services and act as a conduit to conventional financial organizations and capital markets. Edited by Julia Sass Rubin, Financing Low-Income Communities brings together leading experts in the field to assess what we know about the challenges of bringing financial services and capital to poor communities, map out future lines of research, and propose policy reforms to make these efforts more effective. The contributors to Financing Low-Income Communities distill research on key topics related to community development finance. Daniel Schneider and Peter Tufano examine the obstacles that make saving and asset accumulation difficult for low-income households—such as the fact that tens of millions of low-income and minority adults don't have a bank account—and consider solutions, like making it easier for low-wage workers to enroll in 401(K) plans. Jeanne Hogarth, Jane Kolodinksy, and Marianne Hilgert review evidence showing that community-based financial education programs can be effective in changing families' saving and budgeting patterns. Lisa Servon proposes strategies for addressing the challenges facing the microenterprise field in the United States. Julia Sass Rubin discusses ways community loan and venture capital funds have adapted in response to the decreased availability of funding, and considers potential sources of new capital, such as state governments and public pension funds. Marva Williams explores the evolution and recent performance of community development banks and credit unions. Kathleen Engel and Patricia McCoy document the proliferation of predatory lenders, who market loans at onerous interest rates to financially vulnerable families and the devastating effects of such lending on communities—from increased crime to falling home values and lower tax revenues. Rachel Bratt reviews the policies and programs used to make rental and owned housing financially accessible. Rob Hollister proposes a framework for evaluating the contributions of community development financial institutions. Despite the many accomplishments of CDFIs over the last four decades, changing political and economic conditions make it imperative that they adapt in order to survive. Financing Low-Income Communities charts out new directions for public and private organizations which aim to end the financial exclusion of marginalized neighborhoods.
Susie J. Pak Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress HG2471.P35 2013 | Dewey Decimal 332.1230973
Gentlemen Bankers focuses on the social and economic circles of one of America’s most renowned and influential financiers, J. P. Morgan, to tell a closely focused story of how economic and political interests intersected with personal rivalries and friendships among the Wall Street aristocracy during the first half of the twentieth century.
The United States has two separate banking systems today—one serving the well-to-do and another exploiting everyone else. How the Other Half Banks contributes to the growing conversation on American inequality by highlighting one of its prime causes: unequal credit. Mehrsa Baradaran examines how a significant portion of the population, deserted by banks, is forced to wander through a Wild West of payday lenders and check-cashing services to cover emergency expenses and pay for necessities—all thanks to deregulation that began in the 1970s and continues decades later.
“Baradaran argues persuasively that the banking industry, fattened on public subsidies (including too-big-to-fail bailouts), owes low-income families a better deal…How the Other Half Banks is well researched and clearly written…The bankers who fully understand the system are heavily invested in it. Books like this are written for the rest of us.”
—Nancy Folbre, New York Times Book Review
“How the Other Half Banks tells an important story, one in which we have allowed the profit motives of banks to trump the public interest.”
—Lisa J. Servon, American Prospect
From 1716 to 1845 Scottish banks were among the most dynamic and resilient in Europe, effectively absorbing economic shocks that rocked markets in London and on the continent. Tyler Beck Goodspeed explains the paradox that Scotland’s banking system achieved this success without the regulations Adam Smith considered necessary for economic stability.
Stephen Bell and Andrew Hindmoor compare banking systems in the U.S. and UK to those of Canada and Australia and explain why the system imploded in the former but not the latter. Canadian and Australian banks were able to make profits through traditional lending practices, unlike their competition-driven, risk-taking U.S. and UK counterparts.
Banks and bankers are hardly the most beloved institutions and people in this country. With its corruptive influence on politics and stranglehold on the American economy, Wall Street is held in high regard by few outside the financial sector. But the pitchforks raised against this behemoth are largely rhetorical: we rarely see riots in the streets or public demands for an equitable and democratic banking system that result in serious national changes.
Yet the situation was vastly different a century ago, as Christopher W. Shaw shows. This book upends the conventional thinking that financial policy in the early twentieth century was set primarily by the needs and demands of bankers. Shaw shows that banking and politics were directly shaped by the literal and symbolic investments of the grassroots. This engagement remade financial institutions and the national economy, through populist pressure and the establishment of federal regulatory programs and agencies like the Farm Credit System and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Shaw reveals the surprising groundswell behind seemingly arcane legislation, as well as the power of the people to demand serious political repercussions for the banks that caused the Great Depression. One result of this sustained interest and pressure was legislation and regulation that brought on a long period of relative financial stability, with a reduced frequency of economic booms and busts. Ironically, this stability led to the decline of the very banking politics that brought it about.
Giving voice to a broad swath of American figures, including workers, farmers, politicians, and bankers alike, Money, Power, and the People recasts our understanding of what might be possible in balancing the needs of the people with those of their financial institutions.
Years have passed since the world experienced one of the worst financial crises in history, and while countless experts have analyzed it, many central questions remain unanswered. Should money creation be considered a ‘public’ or ‘private’ activity—or both? What do we mean by, and want from, financial stability? What role should regulation play? How would we design our monetary institutions if we could start from scratch?
In The Money Problem, Morgan Ricks addresses all of these questions and more, offering a practical yet elegant blueprint for a modernized system of money and banking—one that, crucially, can be accomplished through incremental changes to the United States’ current system. He brings a critical, missing dimension to the ongoing debates over financial stability policy, arguing that the issue is primarily one of monetary system design. The Money Problem offers a way to mitigate the risk of catastrophic panic in the future, and it will expand the financial reform conversation in the United States and abroad.
In The Credit Crunch, Graham Turner predicted that banks would be nationalised and interest rates would be reduced too slowly to halt the crisis. His predictions were correct. His new book, No Way to Run an Economy, is the essential guide to the turbulent times ahead.
Turner recommended radical measures, such as quantitative easing, in early 2008 but argues that action has been taken too late and been too timid to make a real difference. He dissects the policy mistakes of the last 12 months including Obama's doomed market-led response to the crisis and the obsession of central banks with the red herring of inflation.
There is no doubt the economy is still in serious trouble, but Turner shows that learning from the mistakes made so far can prevent a situation worse than that of the 1930s crisis.
Panic in Paradise is a comprehensive study of bank loan failures during the Florida land boom of the mid-1920s, during the years preceding the stock market crash of 1929. Florida and Georgia experienced a banking panic in 1926 when, in a ten-day period in July, after uncontrollable depositor runs, 117 banks closed in the two states. Uninsured depositors lost millions, and several suicides followed the financial havoc. This volume makes use of banking records that were legally sealed for almost 70 years and provides a shocking story of professional corruption and conspiracy.
"An extraordinary and unusual book that makes an important contribution to our understanding of banking history and the general economic history oof the 1920s. The banking collapse in the Southeast is virtually unknown, even to specialists in banking and financial history. No one who is interested in the banking history of the United States will want to miss this book." -- Eugene N. White, Rutgers University
"An exhaustively researched pioneering study; brilliant investigative reporting." -- Jack Blicksilver, Georgia State University
Since banking systems play a crucial role in maintaining the overall health of the economy, the adverse effects of poorly supervised systems may be quite severe. Without some form of vigilant external oversight, banking systems could fall prey to excessive risk taking, moral hazard, and corruption. Prudential supervision provides that oversight, using government regulation and monitoring to ensure the soundness of the banking system and, by extension, the economy at large.
The contributors to this thoughtful volume examine the current state of prudential supervision, focusing on fundamental issues and key pragmatic concerns. Why is prudential supervision so important? What kinds of excess must it guard against? What particular forms does it take? Which of these are the most effective deterrents against mismanagement and system overload in today's rapidly shifting financial climate? The contributors foresee a continued movement beyond simple regulatory rules in banking and toward a more active evaluation and supervision of a bank's risk management practices.
The People’s Bank of China surpasses the Federal Reserve as the world’s biggest central bank. In the first comprehensive account of the evolution of central banking and monetary policy in reform China, Stephen Bell and Hui Feng show how the PBC’s authority grew from a Leninist party-state that once jealously guarded its control.
What should serve as money, who should control its creation and circulation, and according to what rules? For more than two hundred years, the “money question” shaped American social thought, becoming a central subject of political debate and class conflict. Sovereign of the Market reveals how and why this happened.
Jeffrey Sklansky’s wide-ranging study comprises three chronological parts devoted to major episodes in the career of the money question. First, the fight over the innovation of paper money in colonial New England. Second, the battle over the development of commercial banking in the new United States. And third, the struggle over the national banking system and the international gold standard in the late nineteenth century. Each section explores a broader problem of power that framed each conflict in successive phases of capitalist development: circulation, representation, and association. The three parts also encompass intellectual biographies of opposing reformers for each period, shedding new light on the connections between economic thought and other aspects of early American culture. The result is a fascinating, insightful, and deeply considered contribution to the history of capitalism.
The financial crisis and the recession that followed caught many people off guard, including experts in the financial sector whose jobs involve predicting market fluctuations. Financial analysis offices in most international banks are supposed to forecast the rise or fall of stock prices, the success or failure of investment products, and even the growth or decline of entire national economies. And yet their predictions are heavily disputed. How do they make their forecasts—and do those forecasts have any actual value?
Building on recent developments in the social studies of finance, Stories of Capitalism provides the first ethnography of financial analysis. Drawing on two years of fieldwork in a Swiss bank, Stefan Leins argues that financial analysts construct stories of possible economic futures, presenting them as coherent and grounded in expert research and analysis. In so doing, they establish a role for themselves—not necessarily by laying bare empirically verifiable trends but rather by presenting the market as something that makes sense and is worth investing in. Stories of Capitalism is a nuanced look at how banks continue to boost investment—even in unstable markets—and a rare insider’s look into the often opaque financial practices that shape the global economy.