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The past twenty years saw unprecedented growth and stability followed by the worst financial crisis the industrialised world has ever witnessed. In the space of little more than a year what had been seen as the age of wisdom was viewed as the age of foolishness. Almost overnight, belief turned into incredulity. Most accounts of the recent crisis focus on the symptoms and not the underlying causes of what went wrong. But those events, vivid though they remain in our memories, comprised only the latest in a long series of financial crises since our present system of commerce became the cornerstone of modern capitalism. Alchemy explains why, ultimately, this was and remains a crisis not of banking - even if we need to reform the banking system - nor of policy-making - even if mistakes were made - but of ideas. In this refreshing and vitally important book, former governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King - an actor in this drama - proposes revolutionary new concepts to answer the central question: are money and banking a form of Alchemy or are they the Achilles heel of a modern capitalist economy?
Little, Brown Book Group
Number of Pages
I have read umpteen books about the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and its lessons. This is the cleverest one, brimming over with new ideas. While other "lords of finance" publish memoirs, King has produced a brilliant analysis not only of what went wrong in the global financial system, but also of what went wrong in economics itself -- Niall Ferguson Mervyn King may well have written the most important book to come out of the financial crisis. From his extraordinary perspective as a brilliant economist who made policy at the highest level, he issues a clarion call for new ideas and new policies, and then delivers. Agree or disagree, King's arguments deserve the attention of everyone from economics students to heads of state -- Lawrence H. Summers Drawing on years of scholarly study of banking history and his real world experience in fighting financial panic, Mervyn King has set out a new framework for monetary and financial reform. Seemingly simple in concept, it challenges prevailing banking and market practice. The End of Alchemy demands debate and a well-reasoned response -- Paul A. Volcker Mervyn King asks, "Why has almost every industrialised country found it difficult to overcome the stagnation that followed the financial crisis in 2007-2008, and why did money and banking, the alchemists of a market economy, turn into its Achilles heel?" He addresses these questions, and much more. For those endeavouring to understand the greatest financial crisis of our time and the future of finance, this highly provocative book is a must read -- Alan Greenspan A sophisticated and highly approachable study of how modern finance has lost its way. Few individuals are more qualified than Lord Mervyn King to imagine the banking of the future. His book should be required reading -- Henry Kissinger