Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review: Martin Mayer's The Fed




The Fed: The Inside Story How World's Most Powerful Financial Institution Drives Markets

Martin Mayer's The Fed is probably the best book I've read so far about the Fed.

Not a history of the Fed, but rather an examination of the transformation of finance that begins in the 80s and really picks up steam in the 90s (where the book focuses).

Mayer picks up on the fact that central banks' traditional levers of control (money supply, interest rates) have been superseded by the new financial landscape beyond its regulatory powers.

Derivatives, the extension of credit and more have created different circumstances that the Fed cannot control. Mayer gently chides those who believe all risks are contained and knowledge is perfected.

A few early crises in the 90s are shots across the bow for the deluge that is here now.

Mayer was writing in 2001. VERY prescient.

 

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