Money of the Mind: Borrowing and Lending in America from the Civil War to Michael Milken
The 1980s witnessed a lemming-like rush into the sea of debt on the part of the American industrial and financial communities, with consequences we ... Show synopsis The 1980s witnessed a lemming-like rush into the sea of debt on the part of the American industrial and financial communities, with consequences we are only beginning to appreciate. But the speculative frenzy of the eighties didn't just happen. It was the culmination of a long cycle of slow relaxation of credit practices--the subject of James Grant's brilliant, clear-eyed history of American finance. Two long-running trends converged in the 1980s to create one of our greatest speculative booms: the democratization of credit and the socialization of risk. At the turn of the century, it was almost impossible for the average working person to get a loan. In the 1980s, it was almost impossible to refuse one. As the pace of lending grew, the government undertook to bear more and more of the creditors' risk--a pattern, begun in the Progressive era, which reached full flower in the "conservative" administration of Ronald Reagan. Based on original scholarship as well as firsthand observation, Grant's book puts our recent love affair with debt in an entirely fresh, often chilling, perspective. The result is required--and wickedly entertaining--reading for everyone who wants or needs to understand how the world really works.