“Pollock tells us all we need to know about money and banking, risk and uncertainty, debt and temptation, and science and economics. He delights as he instructs.”―James Grant, founder and editor, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer
Finance and Philosophy provides a concise and witty account of how bankers and financial regulators think, of the alleged causes of the cycles of booms and busts, of the implicit and often un-thought-out assumptions shaping retirement finance, fiat money, corporate governance. Pollock deftly shows how poorly bankers have measured the risk their banks have been exposed to. With candor and clarity, he uncovers the persistent and unavoidable uncertainty inherent in the business of banking. We learn that a banker’s confidence in his ability to measure banking risk accurately is the lure which has repeatedly led to bank failures. Pollock has a modest and compelling suggestion: Acknowledge the unavoidability of ignorance with respect to financial risk, and, in the light of this ignorance of the future, act moderately.
“Why can’t human beings take the lessons of boom and bust, bubbles and crashes that are clearly described in history books―and learn from experience? That’s where Mr. Pollock’s wry humor and philosophic bent help understand the hubris that makes every generation believe that not only can it predict the markets, but control them . . . [Finance and Philosophy] should be required reading in economics classes, or before opening an investment account―and by every member of Congress.”―The Washington Times
“At the height of the 2008 financial panic, Queen Elizabeth plaintively asked why nobody saw it coming. In the winning pages of Finance and Philosophy, Her Majesty can find the answer. With a lightness of touch that belies the complexity of his subject, Alex Pollock shows why the financial future is now, why it has been and always must be a closed book. A successful banker and gifted writer, Pollock tells us all we need to know about money and banking, risk and uncertainty, debt and temptation, and science and economics. He delights as he instructs.”―James Grant, founder and editor, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer
“Pollock’s observations and historical examples are compelling, and his wide-ranging discussion of banking and financial crises is not only accessible, but a pleasure to read.”―Real Clear Markets
“An intellectually penetrating and thought-provoking book.”―Central Banking
“Alex Pollock shows how financial jargon obscures simple realities, how very smart people are prone to spectacular financial mistakes, and how government efforts to make finance smarter and more stable have made it much worse on both scores. Drawing on Pollock’s highly successful career in banking and scholarship, Finance and Philosophy is a fount of sharp insight and high wisdom.”―Chris DeMuth, President, American Enterprise Institute, 1986–2008
“As in all of Alex Pollock’s writings, Finance and Philosophy combines the author’s subtle but caustic wit with brilliant insights grounded in his long experience analyzing America’s financial fads and foibles. No one does a better job of pointing out the philosophical and historical fallacies underlying the portentous pronouncements by our leading economic and fiscal ‘experts’ on everything from the future of interest rates and the national debt to the tech bubble of the 1990s and the 2007–09 financial meltdown. This book needs to be read by every present and future Secretary of the Treasury and chairman of the Federal Reserve.”―Arthur Herman, author of 1917: Lenin, Wilson, and the Birth of the New World Disorder