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Economic Disasters of the Twentieth Century

Edited by Michael J. Oliver, Professor of Economics, ESC Rennes School of Business, France and Associate of Lombard Street Research and Derek H. Aldcroft, Fellow, University of Leicester, UK
The First and Second World Wars, the great depression, oil shocks, inflation, financial crises, stock market crashes, the collapse of the Soviet command economy and Third World disasters are discussed in this comprehensive book. The contributors subject these disasters to in-depth assessment, carefully considering their costs and impact on specific countries and regions, as well as assessing them in a global context. The book examines the legacy of economic disasters and asks whether economic disasters are avoidable or whether policymakers can learn from their mistakes.
Extent: 384 pp
Hardback Price: $175.00 Web: $157.50
Publication Date: 2007
ISBN: 978 1 84064 589 7
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: $74.00 Web: $59.20
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 978 1 84844 158 3
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Economic History
  • Financial Economics and Regulation
  • Money and Banking
How do we define an economic disaster? A difficult question. Most centuries would claim that they have had their share of disasters, but the twentieth century certainly seems to have been more prone to them than the previous one. A number of leading economists and economic historians assemble here to examine nine key disasters with international or global implications.

The First and Second World Wars, the great depression, oil shocks, inflation, financial crises, stock market crashes, the collapse of the Soviet command economy and Third World disasters are discussed in this comprehensive book. The contributors subject these disasters to in-depth assessment, carefully considering their costs and impact on specific countries and regions, as well as assessing them in a global context. The book examines the legacy of economic disasters and asks whether economic disasters are avoidable or whether policymakers can learn from their mistakes.

The book will appeal to a wide variety of social scientists, including those working in economic history, international relations, international political economy and geopolitics.
‘The book would make a good text or supplemental reading for a course in the economic history of the twentieth century, either at the advanced undergraduate or graduate level. Students love disasters. . . all the essays reach a high level of quality. Each of the authors is a well-regarded expert in his field and clearly capable of producing a well-crafted essay. . . The authors and editors are to be congratulated.’
– Hugh Rockoff, EH.Net

‘. . . the editors have offered a compelling interpretation of the twentieth century as one of the economic disasters, and the contributors have provided the ammunition to back it up. . . many of the individual contributions will undoubtedly be cited in their respective fields for years to come.’
– David S. Jacks, Australian Economic History Review

‘. . . contains plenty of good stuff.’
– Sunday Times

‘Here is a book to warm the cockles of George Santayana’s heart. Can policy makers and, especially, economists learn from their mistakes? If they can, then they should start by reading Oliver and Aldcroft’s gripping collection of the great economic policy mistakes of the twentieth century.’
– Barry Eichengreen, University of California, Berkeley, US

‘This is a fine collection of essays. There is no point in playing the game of awarding gold, silver, and bronze medals, as reviewers often do, because all the essays reach a high level of quality. Each of the authors is a well-regarded expert in his field and clearly capable of producing a well-crafted essay. The surprising thing, given the variability that characterizes most collected volumes, is that all of the authors came through. Each wrestled with important questions and developed his answers in detail. There were no slackers. The authors and editors are to be congratulated.’
– Hugh Rockoff, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, USA for EH.Net
Contributors: D.H. Aldcroft, M. Beenstock, F.H. Capie, N. Ferguson, W.R. Garside, S. Morewood, M.J. Oliver, J. Singleton, G.E. Wood
Contents:

Introduction
M.J. Oliver and D.H. Aldcroft

1. ‘Destruction. . . and Misery’: The First World War
J. Singleton

2. The Great Depression, 1929–33
W.R. Garside

3. The Second World War as an Economic Disaster
N. Ferguson

4. The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of OPEC
M. Beenstock

5. Inflation in the Twentieth Century
F.H. Capie

6. Financial Crises
M.J. Oliver

7. Stock Market Crashes
G.E. Wood

8. The Demise of the Command Economies in the Soviet Union and its Outer Empire
S. Morewood

9. The Fatal Inversion: The African Growth Disaster
D.H. Aldcroft

Index