Category Archives: Book Review

The Marriage of Governments and Banks—For Better or for Worse

Liberty Law Blog
April 2, 2014

by Alex J. Pollock

Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber, combining their scholarly command of banking and political institutions, have published a book full of fertile ideas, instructive histories of the evolution of a number of banking systems, and provocative interpretations of the co-dependency between banks and governments.

» See full article in the Liberty Law Blog.

Financial Times

Financial Times
March 23, 2014

Reviewed by Martin Sandbu

One reason why economists did not see the financial crisis coming is that the models most macro and financial economists deal in are free of politics. Fragile by Design offers a much-needed supplement. This sweeping account of how banking and politics have always been intertwined spans three centuries and five countries: the UK, the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

» See full article in the Financial Times.


The Achilles Heel of Banking
March 1, 2014

Reviewed by Gene Epstein

This readable, erudite, myth-busting tome has a somewhat ambiguous title. By calling the banking systems of the U.S. and other nations “fragile by design,” Columbia University finance professor Charles Calomiris and Stanford University political-science professor Stephen Haber are not claiming that the designers of these systems intend them to be fragile.

» See full article in Barron’s.

Times Higher Education

Times Higher Education
February 20, 2014

Reviewed by Gene Epstein

“We get the banking system we deserve” would be a one-sentence summary of the 500 or so pages of Fragile by Design. A slightly longer precis might include the idea that every nation makes its own choices about the type of financial institutions it wants, about the nature of competition between them, and about the balance struck between innovation and risk, on the one hand, and safety and stability on the other. The authors describe the process of making these choices as “the game of Bank Bargains”.

» See full article in Times Higher Education.