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The Creation and Destruction of Value

The Creation and Destruction of Value

The Globalization Cycle

Harold James

ISBN 9780674066182

Publication date: 10/22/2012

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Harold James examines the vulnerability and fragility of processes of globalization, both historically and in the present. This book applies lessons from past breakdowns of globalization—above all in the Great Depression—to show how financial crises provoke backlashes against global integration: against the mobility of capital or goods, but also against flows of migration. By a parallel examination of the financial panics of 1929 and 1931 as well as that of 2008, he shows how banking and monetary collapses suddenly and radically alter the rules of engagement for every other type of economic activity.

Increased calls for state action in countercyclical fiscal policy bring demands for trade protection. In the open economy of the twenty-first century, such calls are only viable in very large states—probably only in the United States and China. By contrast, in smaller countries demand trickles out of the national container, creating jobs in other countries. The international community is thus paralyzed, and international institutions are challenged by conflicts of interest. The book shows the looming psychological and material consequences of an interconnected world for people and the institutions they create.


  • No one is better qualified than Harold James to explore the similarities and differences between recent events and the early 1930s. A model of lucid exposition, The Creation and Destruction of Value confirms that if you want to understand our current predicament, history is a much better guide than economics.

    —Niall Ferguson, Harvard University, author of The Ascent of Money


  • Harold James is the Claude and Lore Kelly Professor in European Studies and Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Book Details

  • 336 pages
  • 4-3/8 x 7-1/8 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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