The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World

Ferguson says that people are ignorant about money and finance, and he wants to educate them. He cites three specific lessons he learned while writing the book. First, contrary to what many believe, “poverty is not about rapacious financiers exploiting the poor [but] has much more to do with the lack of financial institutions.” Second, people swing from exuberance to despair, and this amplifies booms and busts. Third, “few things are harder to predict accurately than the timing and magnitude of financial crises.” All three are important lessons; if members of Congress learned them, they might stop looking for scapegoats.

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