The End of Alchemy

  • by Mervyn King
  • Narrated by Roger Davis
  • 13 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The past 20 years saw unprecedented growth and stability followed by the worst financial crisis the industrialised world has ever witnessed.
In the space of little more than a year, what had been seen as the age of wisdom was viewed as the age of foolishness. Almost overnight, belief turned into incredulity.
Most accounts of the recent crisis focus on the symptoms and not the underlying causes of what went wrong. But those events, vivid though they remain in our memories, comprised only the latest in a long series of financial crises since our present system of commerce became the cornerstone of modern capitalism.
Alchemy explains why, ultimately, this was and remains a crisis not of banking - even if we need to reform the banking system - nor of policy-making - even if mistakes were made - but of ideas.
In this refreshing and vitally important book, former governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King - an actor in this drama - proposes revolutionary new concepts to answer the central question: are money and banking a form of alchemy, or are they the Achilles heel of a modern capitalist economy?

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Quite a hard read

I was constantly rewinding and ended up buying a hard copy. I would say Mervyn King is not a natural story writer - not a Michael Lewis - and the subject matter is hard. King seems to argue that people 'decide' to 'bring forward future earnings to the present' because they see the low interest rates and overestimate their future earnings (a sort of rational error). I think people just get into debt because they 'can', so I found some of his theorising unconvincing. I liked his 'paradox of policy', which explains why politicians are attracted to Keynesian expansion, because it works short term, but which actually gets them deeper in the s*** long run. This explains something that had been puzzling me - why politicians believe that more debt is a solution to a debt crisis. It is a paradox, comparable to Keynes's paradox of thrift. By the way, there is not really an optimistic ending to this book.

Narration. I found it irritatingly 'Jackanory'. ie. the style is like an adult reading to a child, with exaggerated emphasis on clues as to what will happen next.
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- Judy Corstjens

Interesting subject but dull delivery

Really interested in the subject matter but halfway through struggling with the sleep-inducing narration. I have the physical book as well so I'll turn to that.
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- FarmerDave

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-05-2016
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK