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Capitalism and interest are inseparable, yet over the centuries whenever interest rates have collapsed and money was too easy, financial markets have become unstable. In the first two decades of the twenty-first century, interest rates have sunk lower than at any time in the five millennia since they...

Capitalism and interest are inseparable, yet over the centuries whenever interest rates have collapsed and money was too easy, financial markets have become unstable. In the first two decades of the twenty-first century, interest rates have sunk lower than at any time in the five millennia since they were first recorded. In an unprecedented move, negative interest rates were introduced in Europe and Japan, causing trillions of dollars' worth of bonds to trade at negative yields. Monetary policymakers appear blithe to the unintended consequences of their actions. Yet given the essential function of interest in determining how capital is allocated and priced, and its role in regulating financial risk, it is not clear that capitalism can thrive or even survive under these conditions.

With clarity and precision, Edward Chancellor traces the history of interest from its origins in ancient Mesopotamia, through debates about usury in Restoration Britain and John Law's ill-fated Mississippi scheme to the global credit booms of the twentieth century. The Price of Time reveals how extremely low interest rates not only create asset price inflation but are also largely responsible for the weak economic growth, rising inequality, elevated debt levels, and pensions crises that have afflicted Western economies in recent years. At the same time, easy money in China has inflated an epic real estate bubble, accompanied by the greatest credit and investment boom in history. The global financial system is edging closer to yet another devastating crisis.

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Number of Pages: 432

ISBN: 0241569168

ISBN-13: 9780241569160


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Important read for understanding the relationship between low interest rates and financial bubbles.