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The American Monetary System


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Table of Contents

Introduction.- Part I.- Historical Perspectives on Money, Financial Institutions and Markets.- What Gives Money Its Value? -- From Gold to Paper.- What is Driving the Financial World Today?.- Part II Banking: Asset & Liability Management; Banking Supervision & Regulation.- How Are Banks Funded?.- How Do Banks Use Their Funds?.- Who Owns the Banks? Bank Capital and the Basel Accord.- How Safe Are Our Banks?.- Part III Financial Markets and the Management of Financial Risk.- What Makes the System Work?.- Who Finances American Industry? - The Relative Roles of Commercial and Investment Banking.- What Went Wrong and What Are We Doing to Fix It? -A Chronology of Financial Crises.- Why Have Financial Risks Skyrocketed, and How Is the Industry Dealing With It?.- Part IV Central Banking and Monetary Policy.- What Are the Purposes and Functions of the Federal Reserve System? 248.- How is American Monetary Policy Made, and How Does It Affect the Domestic and Global Economies?.- About the Author.- Bibliography.


This book is a true tour de force - a readable, comprehensive description of the evolution of The American Monetary System since the founding of the nation. Very few would have the intellectual capacity, the talent, the training and the experience to put it all in perspective. But somehow Bill Wallace has done the job.I worked with Bill closely when I was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Consequently, I was a principal beneficiary of his long experience, his well-balanced judgment, and his dedication to the Federal Reserve and its leadership.His varied responsibilities over the decades at "the Fed" provided a superb vantage point from which he could observe and participate in rapid financial change, the associated turbulence, and the official response to all-too-frequent crises. What I was slow to recognize was his ability to write so clearly and simply, making this book not only a point of reference about the world of finance but a well-informed readable analysis of one important element of American economic and political life.Bill Wallace was a model public servant, bringing his analytical skills together with a clear sense of the practical problems of monetary policy and financial regulation. He also loved to teach. It is the combination of those ingerests that make this book, with its subtitle of 'An Insider's View of Financial Institutions, Markets and Monetary Policy' so relevant today.The book is not a blow-by-blow description of the latest and largest crisis. It does something more important. It puts today's problems in the context of inevitable change - change that has recurrent market characteristics even as it has features unique to a world of computers and the internet, of instantaneous communication, and of "synthetic" securities and "derivatives" instruments.Quite simply, it is a volume that deserves space on your book shelf. Paul Volcker


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