A Brief History of Doom

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A Brief History of Doom: Two Hundred Years of Financial Crises

A Brief History of Doom examines a series of major crises over the past 200 years in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, Japan, and China—including the Great Depression and the economic meltdown of 2008. The stories of financial crises are fundamentally the stories of private debt and runaway lending. Convinced that we have it within our power to break the cycle, the author provides the tools to enable politicians, bankers, and private citizens to recognize and respond to the danger signs before it begins again.

Praise for A Brief History of Doom

"Debt booms are the Achilles heel of modern economies, and nobody understands this better than Richard Vague. It takes a former banker to expose the folly of lenders in fueling credit booms that lead to devastating financial crises. In his sweeping account of 200 years of financial history, Vague builds on his intimate understanding of banking to explain how private Debt booms put economic and social prosperity at risk. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to see the next crisis coming."

Moritz Schularick, University of Bonn

"Richard Vague unmasks a very important insight that financial crises throughout history have originated in bubble formation in the private sector. This diagnosis presents a huge challenge to the political system regarding how to implement preventative medicine to impede bubbles. The stakes are high for preventing prolonged economic downturns, and the impotence of the public sector is devastating to the reputation of experts and governance, not only in the financial sector but across every division of government. The demoralization on both the left and right after the Great Financial Crisis remains a major contributor to the politics of today. Vague challenges us to face up to these costs."

Robert Johnson, Institute for New Economic Thinking