Lessons for a Deglobalizing World from the Last 25 Centuries of Financial Crisis

November 10 · 6-7PM

Columbia University, 513 Fayerweather Hall

  • Bob Swarup, Author, Money Mania; Senior Visiting Fellow, Cass Business School, London; Fellow, Institute of Economic Affairs, London
  • Perry Mehrling, Professor of Economics, Barnard College; Member, The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University

About the Discussion

Dr. Bob Swarup and Professor Perry Mehrling see economic and political performance under deglobalization as a warning about what lies ahead. Yet perhaps we can learn from the past to avoid this grim future?

What are the emerging tensions between growth and financial stability? Dr. Swarup and Professor Mehrling look to the case of Europe in the 1920s to examine the perils of autarky and too much debt. History teaches us that economies do not exist in isolation but rather have political and social dimensions; when policymakers ignore this reality, it comes back to haunt us as the specter of populism.

Furthermore, what can we learn from the past about contemporary issues of redistribution, inequality, fiscal vs. monetary policy, and beyond? Dr. Swarup will guide participants through his book, Money Mania, noting some of the themes that reemerge throughout history, particularly with respect to behavioral biases. He will also assess the risks we don’t think about enough today, such as the impact on savings pools, social cohesion, and the Fetish of GDP.

Access Dr. Swarup’s presentation here.

About Money Mania

Money Mania is a sweeping account of financial speculation and its consequences, from ancient Rome to the Meltdown of 2008. Acclaimed journalist and investor Bob Swarup tracks the history of speculative fevers caused by the appearance of new profitable investment opportunities; the new assets created and the increasing self-congratulatory euphoria that drives them to unsustainable highs, all fed by an illusion of insight and newly minted experts; the unexpected catalysts that eventually lead to panic; the inevitable crash as investors scramble to withdraw their funds from the original market and any other that might resemble it; and finally, the brevity of financial memory that allows us to repeat the cycle without ever critically evaluating the drivers of this endless cycle.
In short, it is the story of what makes us human.

“Unusually well-told, and expansive in scope. Similarities between different episodes are breath-taking… His framework provides interesting pointers.” – Financial Times

“[An] excellent new book, which looks at booms, panics and busts down the ages. … Swarup’s book comes out at an opportune moment.” – The Guardian

“[An] erudite history of financial speculation.” – The Economist

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Bob Swarup is a respected international expert on bob-swarup-shadowfinancial markets, investment strategy, alternatives, ALM and regulation. He is the founder of Camdor Global, an advisory firm that works with institutions and investors around the world on strategic investment, risk management, ALM and business issues.

Bob was formerly a partner at Pension Corporation, a leading UK-based pension buyout firm, where he oversaw alternative investments, was Chief Risk Officer and ran Thought Leadership. Bob has also served on the Advisory Board of Adveq, a leading Swiss PE firm; the Board of CatCo, a $2bn reinsurance hedge fund that he helped seed in 2011; and on several committees of the ABI.

Bob is a Fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs; a Senior Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School; and an Associate at Lombard Street Research. He holds a PhD in cosmology from Imperial College London and an MA (Hons) from the University of Cambridge. Bob has written extensively on diverse topics, including putting together ALM for Financial Institutions: Balancing Financial Stability with Strategic Objectives on the challenges for ALM going forward. His latest book is the internationally acclaimed bestseller Money Mania on two millennia of financial crises and the lessons to learn (Bloomsbury, 2014).

Perry G. Mehrling  is a Professor of Economics at Barnard College, perry-mehrling-shadowand Member of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. At Barnard, Professor Mehrling teaches courses on the economics of money and banking, the history of finance, and the financial dimensions of the U.S. retirement, health, and education systems. Professor Mehrling's research focuses on the foundations of monetary economics and the history and applications of monetary economics and finance. He aims to develop a theory of money that takes as its starting point the inside credit character of modern money, in order to integrate monetary economics with modern finance, and so contribute to an alternative money theoretical basis for macroeconomics. Professor Mehrling is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Eastern Economics Association, and the Economists Forum at the Financial Times.


Til Debt Do Us Part takes place at Columbia University in 513 Fayerweather Hall.