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Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System - Second Edition

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  304 ratings  ·  18 reviews
"Eichengreen's purpose is to provide a brief history of the international monetary system. In this, he succeeds magnificently. Globalizing Capital will become a classic."--Douglas Irwin, University of ChicagoThe importance of the international monetary system is clearly evident in daily news stories about fluctuating currencies and in dramatic events such as the recent rev ...more
Kindle Edition, 271 pages
Published September 15th 2008 by Princeton University Press (first published September 30th 1996)
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3.87  · 
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Eichengreen here traces a history of money from the mid-1800s to today. A complicated, but exceedingly important topic.

From the beginning of our history to 1914, most of the European world operated on a gold-backed currency. The gold standard was first established by accident by Sir Isaac Newton in 1717. He made a mistake in calculating the prices of silver and gold and their ratios in currency, driving silver out of circulation and thus leaving England with a gold-backed currency. By the mid-1
I initially shelved this to read on the hoped-for assumption that it was a more ambitious book than it is. Fortuitously, I ended up actually reading it because the narrow subject matter it does tackle is something I needed to learn about for another project. So this is a narrative history walking through the steps and crises not of the international finance system in general, but of the gold standard or lack thereof. It begins in the early 1800s in Europe, and remains focused there and on the Un ...more
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eichengreen does a great job in explaining this complicated subject. Starting from the early days of the markets' globalization in the late 19th century, he traces the transformation and the trial an error of the different international monetary systems. The pre-war gold standard, the interwar chaos, the Great Depression, the Bretton Woods system, the emergence of the Euro, the current financial markets, the US-China trade imbalances, among others, are all explained in this money saga.

Most of t
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Barry Eichengreen hace uno de los recuentos más completos sobre la evolución del sistema monetaria internacional desde los tiempos del surgimiento del patrón oro hasta la crisis financiera de 2008. El libro es particularmente detallado en tres periodos; las diversas rupturas del patron oro durante la primera guerra mundial, durante la gran depresión y durante la segunda guerra mundial, el surgimiento de Bretton Woods y su progresivo deterioro conforme los controles de capitales disminuyeron y lo ...more
Brilliant, accessible review of global monetary history since the late 19th century. Will demand a second reading shortly, but the first reading nonetheless added greatly to my understanding of the tides of global finance throughout the 20th century and to the ways in which international economic and monetary trends impacted the politics of the 20th century.
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
There's just so much to unpack in this book. I almost wish he'd written a series of books covering each of the chapters in this book. That being said, Eichengreen did a masterful job. If you're at all interest in the international monetary system I highly recommend this book.
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: The author spoke at an Asian Forum hosted by Barclay's bank a few years ag0. The bank provided attendees with complimentary copies of books written by conference speakers. So this book was provided free of charge. Kudos to Barclay's for educating their clients.
Even for those who are familiar with macroeconomics and monetary policies, this book is a deep, slow read. Fortunately, the author provides a very useful glossary of key terms and many footnotes but it takes quite a bit of atte
Justin Evans
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-etc
Approximately as dense as the point which expanded into the big bang, but very informative.
Paulo O'Brien
A bit turgid, this academic history of international banking and the gold standard gave me a lot of perspective on banking and how it came to be the way it is now. Capital is indeed globalized, as necessitated by the need to support foreign exchange in a sane way. (Can you imagine the days when the Bank of England sent clipper ships full of bullion to pay its debts to the Dutch? Feast for pirates!) The book also convinced me that the arguments of the 'gold bugs' -- as to why we need to go back t ...more
Ben Newton
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book so I could be a little better informed when talking about the gold standard. It's a very good book filled with interesting history about how countries manage their monetary policy in relation to each other. That being said... it is an economics textbook. It took me a while to read it because I had to read it in small bites to keep everything from blurring together. I recommend this book, but only if you're already interested in the topic.
Alex MacDougall
Sep 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book on the history of international monetary systems with a detailed, educated-layman-level, exploration of the Gold Standard, Bretton Woods and current exchange rate systems and the impact that political/economic choices have on them. Very US/Euro centric, with only a bit of background on Asia.
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most interesting to me is the duality post Bretton Woods of the European approach to exchange rates (attempt to implement fixed rate and eventually a common currency) versus the Anglo approach (fully floating currencies, no intervention). The lesson: there is no one size fits all solution to exchange rates.
Andréa Aline
Excellent book for Monetary Economy fans. Its writting is clear, precise and consider the historical aspects of the Monetary Economy pretty well. I totally recommend it for Economy students in the undergraduation.
Nick Geiser
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
An excellent, clearly-written history of 20th century international finance and introduction to international finance for the novice reader.
Apr 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
doesn't rise above the dryness of its subject material (a currency history), but certainly succeeds as an otherwise lucid and accurate account
Jan 30, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting review, but not told in a very engaging way for people that are not economists (myself, for example). A lot of details, very thorough.
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Barry Eichengreen* is the George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1987. He is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (London, England). In 1997-98 he was Senior ...more