By Dominic Barton, Roberto Newell, and Gregory Wilson
John Wiley, 2002, 300 pp.
Financial Crises and What to Do About Them
By Barry Eichengreen
Oxford University Press, 2002, 194 pp.
Two worthy additions to the growing library of books on financial crises.
The first, written by three associates of the McKinsey consulting firm, offers a practical guide for all major participants in a financial crisis: governments, private banks and firms, and international financial institutions. Based partly on the authors' consulting experience, the book draws helpful lessons from the numerous financial crises of the past two decades, including U.S. domestic experience. It usefully reminds readers that crises provide opportunities for shedding out-of-date practices -- and for making money -- as well as impose economic costs. In the second, Eichengreen provides a synthetic overview of recent crises and draws extensively on the findings of academic research (much of it ambiguous) to try to resolve the numerous disagreements over how the international financial system should be organized to prevent future crises and cope with those that will inevitably occur. Both books make useful interpretive comments in making their more general points on recent financial crises, such as those in Argentina and Turkey.