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Capitals of Capital
The Rise and Fall of International Financial Centres 1780–2009

2nd Edition

$42.99 (P)

  • Date Published: April 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521144049

$ 42.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • This is the first history of international financial centres and of the major stake that they now represent in the global economy. Youssef Cassis, one of the world's leading financial historians, provides a fascinating comparative history of the most important centres that constitute the capitals of capital - New York, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore. The book explores the dynamics of the rise and decline of these great centres from the beginning of the industrial age up to the present, setting them throughout in their economic, political, social, and cultural context and drawing on concepts from financial economics in its analysis of events. This paperback edition has been fully updated to take account of the challenges posed by the financial collapse of 2007–8 and offers the longer term framework necessary to understand the ongoing economic crisis facing capitals of capital today.

    • A much-needed history of the rise and decline of the leading international financial centres from the eighteenth century to the present, ranging from New York to Tokyo
    • Updated paperback examines the historical roots of the current financial crisis
    • Essential reading for business and finance professionals as well as scholars and students in financial and economic history
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… useful reading for anyone interested in the antecedents of today's vibrant international financial markets.' Foreign Affairs

    '… a magisterial survey … This book will become the starting point from which all scholars will in future have to base their research.' Financial History Review

    'It is difficult to do justice to the scope of the book in this brief review … in presenting a complex story in a readable and accessible narrative, Cassis performs a valuable service to the business historian.' Enterprise and Society

    '… an admirable, indeed indispensable account of how the capitals of capital evolved over more than two centuries - a contest that continues today in perhaps more granular and nuanced form … As modern academic offerings encompassing a solid dose of financial history are designed, Capitals of Capital will surely command a prominent place on reading lists.' Journal of International Economics

    'This is a truly scholarly work of synthesis … the breadth, scope and detail of the study must recommend it to scholars and students seeking an overview of the development of international financial and banking markets over the past two hundred years.' Catherine R. Schenk, EH.NET

    'Professor Cassis, with the help of his translator, has written a first class book; one that can, thanks in no small part to the comprehensive glossary, be read by the non-specialist.' Open History

    'In Capitals of Capital Youssef Cassis vividly explains and compares the roles of major international financial centres in creating and sustaining our current global economy. The great centres - London, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Frankfurt, Tokyo, and others - rise, decline, and rejuvenate. They compete and cooperate to pool the world's financial resources and distribute them to finance trade and investment within and among nations. Institutions and personalities of course did the work, and Cassis gives the great banks and bankers, markets, and stock exchanges due attention. The book brilliantly demonstrates that much of modern history can be brought into focus through the lens of international financial center development.' Richard Sylla, Stern School of Business

    'A dizzying and masterful narrative of the ever-changing fate of financial centres. Combining big trends and small but exciting details, Youssef Cassis connects the dots from the decline of Amsterdam in the late 18th century to globalization in the early 21st century. How did Hong Kong and Singapore emerge as world-class financial centres? Why did Berlin dislodge Frankfurt as Germany's top financial spot in the 1870s? All of that, and much, much more is explained in detail in this book that economists, historians and just about everyone interested in international finance will enjoy reading.' Charles Wyplosz, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva

    'Youssef Cassis has presented a masterful historical profile of international financial centers. The book is a triumph.' Mira Wilkins, Florida International University

    'Capitals of Capital is the landmark achievement of a renowned comparative historian. Although the main individual international financial centres have had their histories written, there has long been a need for an authoritative, comprehensive overview of the fluctuating and often entwined fortunes of the rival centres. Youssef Cassis not only dispassionately tells that story over the last two and a quarter centuries, but also gives us much to ponder about the future as we move ever further into a post-industrial age.' David Kynaston, author of The City of London

    'Anyone interested in the historical background of the world's most important international financial centers will prize this book enormously.' Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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    Product details

    • Edition: 2nd Edition
    • Date Published: April 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521144049
    • length: 408 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 10 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The age of private bankers, 1780–1840
    2. The concentration of capital, 1840–75
    3. A globalised world, 1875–1914
    4. Wars and depression, 1914–45
    5. Growth and regulation, 1945–80
    6. Globalisation, innovation and crisis, 1980–2009

  • Author

    Youssef Cassis, Université de Genève
    Youssef Cassis is Professor of Economic and Social History at the University of Geneva. His work mainly focuses on banking and financial history, as well as business history more generally. His numerous publications on this subject include City Bankers 1890–1914 (1994) and Big Business: The European Experience in the Twentieth Century (1997).


    Jacqueline Collier

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