-Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School. The opinions expressed are his own.-
Anyone looking for a broader perspective on the events of the last three years could hardly do better than choose for bedtime reading “This Time is Different” by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff.
It is nothing less than a history of financial crises through the ages, starting in late medieval England and continuing via 15th and 16th century Spain and its New World colonies on to the teething problems of Britain’s banks in the industrial revolution and the upheavals of the 20th century, ending in 2008 with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.
The emphasis throughout is on sovereign default. For many politicians, bankers and economists, it ought to read not just as a lesson, but as a severe rebuke, because its basic message is that there is nothing new under the sun and that financial history reads like a long catalogue of facts we have chosen to forget.
So, as the authors show, no country’s history is free of bank collapses, sovereign defaults and currency debasement in one form or another.