The Trouble with Prosperity: A Contrarian's Tale of Boom, Bust and Speculation

James L. Grant, Author
James L. Grant, Author Crown Publishing Group (NY) $30 (348p) ISBN 978-0-8129-2439-8
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-0-8129-2991-1
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Grant's astute, elegantly written, selective financial history of the last few decades sounds a cautionary note: business is inherently cyclical; every boom historically ends in a crisis; and today's relative financial prosperity in the U.S., based on relentless downsizing and low inflation, will not last. Publisher of Grant's Interest Rate Observer and author of Money of the Mind, a study of borrowing and lending, Grant opens with the unforeseen 1958 U.S. government bond market crash amid postwar Eisenhower prosperity. The saga of a skyscraper, 40 Wall Street, conceived in 1929 during a bull market and now undergoing renovation by its current owner, Donald Trump, unfolds as a parable of the fickleness of real estate and stock and bond markets. Grant suggestively argues that the U.S. financial system's dramatic recovery in the late 1980s came about through optimism generated by a stock market rally, rather than through the Federal Reserve Board's intervention, as is widely believed. He also charts the gambling industry's early 1990s' renaissance, which, in his view, mirrors the gaming environment on Wall Street, a risky mindset that promotes speculation and endangers savings. (Nov.)
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