Volcker: The Triumph of Persistence


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William L. On the other hand, this book is a treasure trove for policy wonks fascinated by gold prices and foreign exchange rates, and minutes of the meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee.


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But one theme is clear: These were the years when Volcker became an international financial heavyweight and developed a reputation as a public servant of the very highest probity. Silber is not the kind of person to admit that the Volcker Rule is ultimately little more than a footnote in postcrisis financial reform: he clearly worships his biographee.


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  5. The markets were truly crazy then: between April and July , the prime interest rate dropped to 12 percent from 20 percent, and the price of gold rose by 30 percent. These are numbers that we can barely imagine today, when traders get excited by moves of a fraction of 1 percent.

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    Ben Bernanke would say the same thing today. And in , Volcker orchestrated a multibillion-dollar bank bailout, of Continental Illinois — and ran straight into pushback from the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, who was expected to uncomplainingly provide all the money and take all the risk.

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    Bair would 24 years later, when she was asked to do much the same thing on an even larger scale. Volcker set less noble precedents, too.

    At no point did he ever cut interest rates because he felt that the unemployment rate was too high, for instance. But the minute there was a banking crisis, in — a crisis brought on in large part thanks to weak supervision by the Fed — he suddenly decided that he had to cut rates, in order to help rescue the financial sector. View all New York Times newsletters.

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    Volcker: The Triumph of Persistence

    By focusing on these moments, Silber's meticulously researched book offers useful insights into recent American economic history and the life of one of its most fascinating figures. Although the details of these episodes may seem distant, Volcker reminds readers just how precarious the circumstances were -- and how policymakers might confront similar crises in the future. The book's first major episode begins with Volcker in the Kennedy administration's Treasury Department and follows him over several years as he became the central character in a crisis of the international monetary system.

    Politics Book Review: Volcker: The Triumph of Persistence by William L. Silber

    This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more. In-depth analysis delivered weekly - Subscribe to our newsletter, featuring our editors' top picks from the past week. Sign in Subscribe. William L.

    Review of William L. Silber’s “Volcker: The Triumph of Persistence”

    Over the course of nearly half a century, five American presidents-three Democrats and two Republicans-have relied on the financial acumen, and the integrity, of Paul A. During his tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, when he battled the Great Inflation of the s, Volcker did nothing less than restore the reputation of an American financial system on the verge of collapse.

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    After the financial meltdown, the nation turned again to Volcker to restore trust in a shaky financial system: President Obama would name his centerpiece Wall Street regulation the Volcker Rule. His resolve and independent thinking-sorely tested by Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan-laid the foundation for a generation of economic stability. Indeed, William L. He now writes full time and is currently working on his second novel.

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