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BobBobson

Good Books Forum--HPC Reading List

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What about a section in the these forems where members can list/discuss particularly good HPC relevant books that they have read.

I imagine that it would be a fairly quiet section on these forems but would prove a great resource for many who are interested in HPC related subjects.

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Hello - long time lurker, first time poster, so please be gentle!

I am looking for some up to date reading on the UK economy, and in particular our debt problems.

I have read 'The Accent of Money' by Niall Ferguson, which was an interesting history, but really finishes when the current problems were starting in 2008.

I have also read 'Whoops' by John Lanchester, which I thought was a great introduction to the subject, however I thought John let himself down by pressing his own opinions at the end rather than doing an unsentimental analysis of what our insane debt levels will actually mean for the future. I also didn't agree with his conclusion that there was no option other than to bail the banks out, in my opinion capitalism should have ran its full course to avoid future moral hazard.

I am looking for a book that will explore what will happen if we keep running deficits (even of 3%, which for some reason is considered ok), and what bankruptcy will look like for this country, investment strategies for this scenario would also be welcome (please don't turn this into a goldbug thread).

Thanks

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Seems the 'good economics book' thread got pinned.

Here are some good ones that I have read so far.

[b]Whoops - John Lanchester[/b]
Synopsis of Housing Crash. Witty easy to understand commentary on Housing Crash with lots of emphasis on UK.

[b]Dollar Crisis (2003) , Corruption of Capitalism (2010) (2 different books) - Richard Duncan[/b]
Fairly thorough/technical (at least for the layman) examinations of evolution of US dollar standard / modern capitalism and the crisis that we are hurtling towards. In the Dollar Crisis (in the midst of ever-increasing home equity and around the time when Gordon Brown had claimed to have put an end to 'Boom n Bust' economics), Duncan totally correctly diagnosed the very unhealthy state of the US (and thus global) economy and also predicted a real estate crash. On the back of such a proven track record in correctly diagnosing economic conditions, one must surely take great heed of what Duncan suggests in his second book. Its not all doom n gloom, as Duncan suggests some remedial measures which could be taken in order to prevent the global economy from crashing on the heels of a failed dollar standard. He also states however, that he sees absolutely no evidence or likelihood of the financial powers that be putting such remedies into practice. He states that likely events that could trigger the economic collapse could be:

A meltdown in derivatives trade
Chinese economic crash (due to inflation 'imported' from US)
Some natural disaster sending latent shockwaves into global economic system (book was published pre Fukushima)

For me, these were hard books to read but easily the best out of all the economics material that I have read.
[b]
How to buy Gold and Silver - Mike Maloney[/b]
Easy to read with lots of interesting dinner table anecdotes and examples although Mike Maloney is also guilty of treating his readers as idiots, as much of this books material amounts to his pro Gold/Silver sales pitch and this book can therefore be seen as a kind of propaganda more so than a serious exposse of the precious metals market. However, it just so happens that Maloney has been proven right for years now, so this may not be bad propaganda to buy into. Edited by Retardstic

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This thread is pretty old, hopefully it may get some more interest.

[quote name='pjrmorgan' timestamp='1327468511' post='3241351']
I wrote a book on the Euro Crisis. You can get it from the link below.


[/quote]

Congratulations on writing a book! B)

I may try and read it, but it looks a bit complicated for a layman like myself.

A book I have read recently is:

Paper Money Collapse by Detlev S. Schlichter. The book covers a lot of old ground and any followers of the Austrian economic school will have read much of it before but I really enjoyed it.

If you just type Detlev Schlichter into YouTube there are some good interviews that quickly explain his ideas. :)

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Treasure Island book by Nicholas Shaxson.

Very good information about how offshore centre were created, by who and how they are still supported by financial centres (And their impact on the economy in different countries). Very interesting.

Since then when I hear about London City Corporation, I can understand what it all means..

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I've just discovered a book called Capital.... No. Not that one....

This one is a novel by John Lanchester about people living in "Pepys Road" London:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0571234607/ref=s9_newr_gw_d64_g14_ir05?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=01WSPMKWJ0BT94K5Q4AR&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=467128533&pf_rd_i=468294#_

I'm enjoying the first section, which is available for review on amazon:

"... history had sprung an astonishing plot twist on the residents of Pepys Road. For the first time in history, the people who lived in the street were, by global and maybe even by local standards, rich. The thing which made them rich was the very fact that they lived in Pepys Road. They were rich simply because of that, because all of the houses in Pepys Road, as if by magic, were now worth millions of pounds."

This Lanchester chap may be the first HPC novelist... Bless! Edited by Garf

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Presentation to authors@google by David Graeber, author of DEBT: The First 5,000 Years

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZIINXhGDcs&feature=player_embedded#!

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I want to recommend:

[b]A Very English Deceit: The Secret History of the South Sea Bubble and the First Great Financial Scandal[/b] by Malcolm Balen

I find some books about economic history quite boring but this is a great read, especially as it is a about a period of British history I did not know that much about.

[attachment=21411:south_sea_bubble.jpg]

I am currently looking out for a decent book on the Industrial Revolution in England. I have read a couple in the past but found them quite heavy going.

Or a book about the DotCom bubble in the early 2000s.

Any recommendations?

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Richard Duncan's 'The New Depression- Breakdown of the Paper Money Economy' is a great read. It follows on from his 'Dollar Collapse' which for me helped explain why asset prices, e.g house prices, appeared to be for ever rising prior to 2007.

He makes a key point- without massive injections of government spending and actions to bail out the banks in 2008, we would now be in the middle of another Depression even greater than the 1930-and look how well that ended! I, like most others on the forum, understand that the world financial system is a mess and equally, dislike the idea of supporting [s]gambling dens[/s] banks, but it appears that unless governments injects large amounts of newly printed cash, prior to developing a system that isn't so broken, we will inevitably face an economic collapse of Biblical proportions.

I may well get negative responses to this, but please read both his books first before commenting.

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[quote name='MEtallic' timestamp='1337535806' post='909043692']
Richard Duncan's 'The New Depression- Breakdown of the Paper Money Economy' is a great read. It follows on from his 'Dollar Collapse' which for me helped explain why asset prices, e.g house prices, appeared to be for ever rising prior to 2007.

He makes a key point- without massive injections of government spending and actions to bail out the banks in 2008, we would now be in the middle of another Depression even greater than the 1930-and look how well that ended! I, like most others on the forum, understand that the world financial system is a mess and equally, dislike the idea of supporting [s]gambling dens[/s] banks, but it appears that unless governments injects large amounts of newly printed cash, prior to developing a system that isn't so broken, we will inevitably face an economic collapse of Biblical proportions.

I may well get negative responses to this, but please read both his books first before commenting.
[/quote]I was going to joke 'And, of course, you have no connection to Richard Duncan. :)' but it's not that funny. I checked Amazon and it's on Kindle but at £11.69! WTF! I really think there is something wrong with kindle pricing. :blink:

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[quote name='MEtallic' timestamp='1337535806' post='909043692']He makes a key point- without massive injections of government spending and actions to bail out the banks in 2008, we would now be in the middle of another Depression even greater than the 1930-and look how well that ended![/quote]
For the benefit of those of us who don't have the book(s) to hand, would you mind summarising how he justifies this point please? Granted, from what I understand the governments of the time didn't handle the Great Depression very well, but that doesn't necessarily mean we have to choose between their option and his. And what about Iceland? They told everyone to go fornicate with themselves and last I heard they were doing ok.


[quote name='MEtallic' timestamp='1337535806' post='909043692'] I, like most others on the forum, understand that the world financial system is a mess and equally, dislike the idea of supporting [s]gambling dens[/s] banks, but it appears that unless governments injects large amounts of newly printed cash, prior to developing a system that isn't so broken, we will inevitably face an economic collapse of Biblical proportions.[/quote]
Again it depends how he justifies it, but at least the political classes in the 1930s actually [i]learnt something[/i] (referring to Glass-Steagal here). Today, it seems like we're going through all this just to maintain the status quo or worse, impoverishing everyone else.

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Alternatively give Irving another read…

http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/docs/meltzer/fisdeb33.pdf

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There's a good argument that the depression was made worse by government intervention.

People take the example of the early 1920s when there was a big liquidation event - ecomony grew again after 18 months.

edit: Misspelling through tiredness - go to sleep, cuckoo. go to sleep. Edited by okaycuckoo

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[quote name='MEtallic' timestamp='1337535806' post='909043692']
but it appears that unless governments injects large amounts of newly printed cash, prior to developing a system that isn't so broken, we will inevitably face an economic collapse of Biblical proportions.
[/quote]


Your better off reading Schiff and Hayek.

A depression is what we ARE getting. If we had collapse/default/reset it would be like when that has occurred many times before, recently Iceland & Argentina, i.e. 2/3 years tough times, then back again to productive economies with all the fax-production cleared away.

It sounds like this guy is just a cheerleader for central planning in money, the cause of the problems in the first place.

Try these:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Economy-Grows-Why-Crashes/dp/047052670X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1337549847&sr=8-3
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paper-Money-Collapse-Monetary-Breakdown/dp/1118095758/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337549865&sr=1-1

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[quote]prior to developing a system that isn't so broken[/quote]

Propping up the bankers is making sure this never happens- they like the system the way it is right now- and- thanks to the bailouts- they have the money to purchase the policymakers.

The one chance for real change was when the bankers were on their knees begging for state bailouts- but that opportunity was missed.

All we have left now is a slow march into global insolvency as the zombie banks feed off fake printed money and remain just strong enough to block any real change.

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I would suggest reading [i]'Paper Money Collapse – The Folly of Elastic Money and the Coming Monetary Breakdown’ [/i]by [b]Detlev Schlichter[/b], if you want an idea of what is wrong with the system and where it is inevitably heading.

http://papermoneycollapse.com/book/ Edited by Errol

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Whatever the rights and wrongs of the principle of bailing out the banks, the practice was a grade-A eff-up. I can tell because the bankers aren't living in cardboard boxes under Waterloo Bridge...

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[quote name='tomandlu' timestamp='1337592349' post='909044215']
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the principle of bailing out the banks, the practice was a grade-A eff-up. I can tell because the bankers aren't living in cardboard boxes under Waterloo Bridge...
[/quote]


There are no principles in favour of bailing out the banks.

If governments had to do anything, they could have bailed out the depositors. Everyone else, bankers, shareholders, bondholders deserved to get nothing.

Bailing out banks, rather than depositors, prevented a worse recession? That's just a lie. Look at Iceland vs Ireland.

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[quote name='KingBingo' timestamp='1337549900' post='909043965']
Your better off reading Schiff and Hayek.

A depression is what we ARE getting. If we had collapse/default/reset it would be like when that has occurred many times before, recently Iceland & Argentina, i.e. 2/3 years tough times, then back again to productive economies with all the fax-production cleared away.

It sounds like this guy is just a cheerleader for central planning in money, the cause of the problems in the first place.

Try these:
[/quote]

Schiff is a populist free market fundamentalist idiot. His books may be easy to read and understand but his analysis is way off. Entertaining as he may or may not be, Schiff is essentially a tabloid opinion dispenser.

Richard Duncan is a genuine expert, with a solid track record of correct diagnosis before the event. He does perhaps believe in a global economic model but writes in very earnest fashion. Perhaps his big flaw is that he is not a raving populist who is seeking to appeal to our sadomasochist desires for sensationalist catastrophic paradigms or our fondness for simplistic and easily digestible dogma relating to some popular school of thought. Perhaps he realises that if any of the scenarios should come to pass,of the kind that many of us here are secret (or not secret) cheerleaders for, that the human consequences would be dire.

His writing style is of the dry and fairly technical variety and anyone contemplating reading his books would be well advised to get their best reading caps out beforehand. But this is one of the very few economic authors out there, who have their fingers truly on the pulse, with a track record out there published in black and white to prove it.

[quote name='Garf' timestamp='1331591670' post='3283674']
Presentation to authors@google by David Graeber, author of DEBT: The First 5,000 Years

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZIINXhGDcs&feature=player_embedded#!
[/quote]

I have just finished reading Graeber's book. It is full of typo's, clunky prose, and some very tenuously linked theories on various aspects of economic development over the past 5000 years. With that said, I have to confess that this book is one of the most enjoyable and opinion altering books I have ever read. Graeber is not and economist, but an anthropologist whose understanding of how primitive 'economies' function, leads him to question the very basis of modern mainstream and alternative economic thought. This book is not going to give you any clues on the best way to invest or secure your assets, but if you fancy a complete paradigm shift, then this book is a must. Edited by BobBobson

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I have just finished reading Graeber's book. It is full of typo's, clunky prose, and some very tenuously linked theories on various aspects of economic development over the past 5000 years. With that said, I have to confess that this book is one of the most enjoyable and opinion altering books I have ever read. Graeber is not and economist, but an anthropologist whose understanding of how primitive 'economies' function, leads him to question the very basis of modern mainstream and alternative economic thought. This book is not going to give you any clues on the best way to invest or secure your assets, but if you fancy a complete paradigm shift, then this book is a must.

I've had Graeber on the reading list for ages. Scepticus reckons the book is an interesting religion sell.

Meanwhile, I'm halfway through Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow: analyst of behavioural psychology and a fan of Taleb's The Black Swan. This guy is very smart, humorous, not a show off + the book helps me in my gradual appreciation of how mutability matters. Practical post-modernism. No advice on investment!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thinking-Fast-Slow-Daniel-Kahneman/dp/0141033576/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364529800&sr=1-1

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Schiff is a populist free market fundamentalist idiot. His books may be easy to read and understand but his analysis is way off. Entertaining as he may or may not be, Schiff is essentially a tabloid opinion dispenser.

Richard Duncan is a genuine expert, with a solid track record of correct diagnosis before the event. He does perhaps believe in a global economic model but writes in very earnest fashion. Perhaps his big flaw is that he is not a raving populist who is seeking to appeal to our sadomasochist desires for sensationalist catastrophic paradigms or our fondness for simplistic and easily digestible dogma relating to some popular school of thought. Perhaps he realises that if any of the scenarios should come to pass,of the kind that many of us here are secret (or not secret) cheerleaders for, that the human consequences would be dire.

His writing style is of the dry and fairly technical variety and anyone contemplating reading his books would be well advised to get their best reading caps out beforehand. But this is one of the very few economic authors out there, who have their fingers truly on the pulse, with a track record out there published in black and white to prove it.

I have just finished reading Graeber's book. It is full of typo's, clunky prose, and some very tenuously linked theories on various aspects of economic development over the past 5000 years. With that said, I have to confess that this book is one of the most enjoyable and opinion altering books I have ever read. Graeber is not and economist, but an anthropologist whose understanding of how primitive 'economies' function, leads him to question the very basis of modern mainstream and alternative economic thought. This book is not going to give you any clues on the best way to invest or secure your assets, but if you fancy a complete paradigm shift, then this book is a must.

Yes I have enjoyed Graeber's Anthropological approach.

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Just got a book out of the library. 'What did the Baby Boomers ever do for us?' by Francis Beckett.

ISBN 978-1-84954-026-1

Good read so far. :) Just finished chapter 1 concerning Clement Atlee's Government 1945-51 and the birth of the welfare state. Interesting history lesson for myself as someone born in the late 1970s and having gone through the cookie cutter education system of the 1980s and 90s.

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I advise everyone to read Matt Taibbi's latest:

The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Divide-American-Injustice-Age-Wealth/dp/0812983637/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415115535&sr=1-1&keywords=the+divide

- This is Taibbi's best book. In the style of 'Griftopia', but better, in my opinion. I was astounded at some of the things in this book.

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I have just finished reading Graeber's book. It is full of typo's, clunky prose, and some very tenuously linked theories on various aspects of economic development over the past 5000 years. With that said, I have to confess that this book is one of the most enjoyable and opinion altering books I have ever read. Graeber is not and economist, but an anthropologist whose understanding of how primitive 'economies' function, leads him to question the very basis of modern mainstream and alternative economic thought. This book is not going to give you any clues on the best way to invest or secure your assets, but if you fancy a complete paradigm shift, then this book is a must.

Yes I have enjoyed Graeber's Anthropological approach.

Another vote for Graeber from me.

Some others too.

The Default Line by Faisal Islam (2013)

The chapter on UK housing would serve as an excellent primer for reading hpc, (and for getting up to speed on the present mess). The book then rambles all over the place but there is a ton of interesting stuff and he has excellent access by virtue of his roles with Channel 4 and more latterly Sky. Shame he's moved to become a Political Editor and dropped his focus on economics.

Housing: Where's the plan by Kate Barker (2014)

Kate Barker is a LSE economist and ex-MPC member, and for our purposes here, author of the Barker report which reviewed planning and housebuilding for Gordon Brown in 2003. It is short and for me the interesting thing was to get an insider's perspective. Barker is a member of the policy elite. Barker endorses the view that the 2008 housing bubble was primarily a consequence of loose credit. (Presumably MPC members only say this once they become ex-MPC members.)

Other people's money by John Kay (2015)

John Kay is a Professor of Economics at Oxford. He's determinedly pro-market buy deeply sceptical about modern finance. He builds an argument around the function of finance in terms of providing a deposit channel (where banks provide a payment system and deal with the mismatch between individuals and companies who want to lend to the bank, via deposits, for the short term and the individuals and companies who want to take longer term loans, including mortgages) and the investment channel (wherein professional asset managers search for targets for investment and provide stewardship of the investment money, i.e. ensure that the management of the company in which the investment has been made are up to the task and not crooks).

The broad sweep of the argument is that the financial sector as currently organised is doing a dogshit awful job with respect to both of the purposes for which it notionally exists. The detail of the argument that was interesting to me was a focus on the complexity (in the technical sense) of finance and the need to reduce interconnectedness of banks in order to make them safe.

13 Bankers by Simon Johnson and James Kwak (2011)

Simon Johnson is a US academic and James Kwak is a former McKinsey consultant and software exec and more latterly a legal scholar. I happened upon the book via the references in Kay's Other people's money. The book has a heavy US focus and my big takeaway was that regardless of how poorly served we were by the FSA during it's reign and the Bank of England since the FSA's demise it's a lot worse in the US. the key argument is that the financial sector is an oligarchy and I think that there are parallels between the US and the UK to the extent that the loose cartel of the UK mortgage banks and volume builders also forms an oligarchy of a sort. The significance of an author who is a legal scholar is that they make much of how anti-trust law was used against the robber barons and how the concentration US banking in the present needs to be unwound in the same way that the US industrial trusts needed to be broken up in the past. Their key policy fix is limiting any bank to a certain size relative to GDP (IIRC 4% of GDP).

Two others which are easier reading and a mixture of horrifying and hilarious are Hubris: How HBOS wrecked the best bank in Britain by Ray Perman (2012) and Making it happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the men who blew up the British economy by Iain Martin (2013)

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