Author(s): Adair Turner
Adair Turner became chairman of Britain's Financial Services Authority just as the global financial crisis struck in 2008, and he played a leading role in redesigning global financial regulation. In this eye-opening book, he sets the record straight about what really caused the crisis. It didn't happen because banks are too big to fail--our addiction to private debt is to blame. Between Debt and the Devil challenges the belief that we need credit growth to fuel economic growth, and that rising debt is okay as long as inflation remains low. In fact, most credit is not needed for economic growth--but it drives real estate booms and busts and leads to financial crisis and depression. Turner explains why public policy needs to manage the growth and allocation of credit creation, and why debt needs to be taxed as a form of economic pollution. Banks need far more capital, real estate lending must be restricted, and we need to tackle inequality and mitigate the relentless rise of real estate prices. Turner also debunks the big myth about fiat money--the erroneous notion that printing money will lead to harmful inflation. To escape the mess created by past policy errors, we sometimes need to monetize government debt and finance fiscal deficits with central-bank money. Between Debt and the Devil shows why we need to reject the assumptions that private credit is essential to growth and fiat money is inevitably dangerous. Each has its advantages, and each creates risks that public policy must consciously balance.
"Whether you agree with Turner's proposal or not, [Between Debt and the Devil] represents an important challenge to economic orthodoxy, which, as he rightly notes, has already failed us once."--John Cassidy, The New Yorker "[A] remarkable new book."--Will Hutton, Observer "Lucid and forcefully-argued."--Peter Thal Larsen, Reuters Breakingviews "Turner offers a convincing account of the debt-fuelled global economic cycle of the last 15 years or so. I found myself skimming over large sections and nodding in agreement."--Erik Britton, Management Today "An overdue challenge to a taboo against monetary finance held sacred for too long."--Giles Wilkes, Financial Times "Adair Turner, the former chairman of Britain's Financial Services Authority and described by The Economist as a man for all policy crises, upends financial orthodoxy in Between Debt and the Devil. He argues that nothing regulators have done thus far has addressed the fundamental underlying cause of financial instability... Turner's book is tightly argued and is packed with insights about the financial markets as well as the real economy."--Brenda Jubin, Investing.com "If developed economies fall back into recession, people may hear quite a bit more about Lord Turner's ideas."--The Economist "This is an important book because Turner thinks clearly where much analysis has been fuzzy ... [a] stimulating book."--Ben Chu, The Independent "Adair Turner's Between Debt and the Devil: Money, Credit and Fixing Global Finance--out this month--joins a select group of books that provide as clear an explanation of the financial crisis as one could hope for."--Diane Coyle, The Enlightened Economist "Some astonishingly original ideas."--Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
Adair Turner is senior fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and the author of Economics after the Crisis. He lives in London.
Acknowledgments ix Preface: The Crisis I Didn't See Coming xi Introduction: Too Important to Be Left to the Bankers 1 Part I Swollen Finance 17 1 The Utopia of Finance for All 19 2 Inefficient Financial Markets 34 Part II Dangerous Debt 49 3 Debt, Banks, and the Money They Create 51 4 Too Much of the Wrong Sort of Debt 61 5 Caught in the Debt Overhang Trap 74 6 Liberalization, Innovation, and the Credit Cycle on Steroids 88 7 Speculation, Inequality, and Unnecessary Credit 108 Part III Debt, Development, and Capital Flows 131 8 Debt and Development: The Merits and Dangers of Financial Repression 133 9 Too Much of the Wrong Sort of Capital Flow: Global and Eurozone Delusions 149 Part IV Fixing the System 161 10 Irrelevant Bankers in an Unstable System 163 11 Fixing Fundamentals 175 12 Abolishing Banks, Taxing Debt Pollution, and Encouraging Equity 186 13 Managing the Quantity and Mix of Debt 195 Part V Escaping the Debt Overhang 211 14 Monetary Finance--Breaking the Taboo 213 15 Between Debt and the Devil--A Choice of Dangers 231 Epilogue: The Queen's Question and the Fatal Conceit 241 Notes 253 Bibliography 277 Index 289