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A Brief History of Doom
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About the Author

Philanthropist and former banker Richard Vague is a managing partner of Gabriel Investments, Chairman of The Governor's Woods Foundation, and author of The Next Economic Disaster: Why It's Coming and How to Avoid It, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Reviews

"Debt booms are the Achilles heel of modern economies, and nobody understands this better than Richard Vague. It takes a former banker to expose the folly of lenders in fueling credit booms that lead to devastating financial crises. In his sweeping account of 200 years of financial history, Vague builds on his intimate understanding of banking to explain how private debt booms put economic and social prosperity at risk. This is a must read for anyone who wants to see the next crisis coming."-Moritz Schularick, University of Bonn


"Richard Vague unmasks a very important insight that financial crises throughout history have originated in bubble formation in the private sector. This diagnosis presents a huge challenge to the political system regarding how to implement the preventative medicine to impede bubbles. The stakes are high for preventing prolonged economic downturns, and the impotence of the public sector is devastating to the reputation of experts and governance, not only in the financial sector but across every division of government. The demoralization on both the left and right after the Great Financial Crisis remains a major contributor to the politics of today. Vague challenges us to face up to these costs."-Robert Johnson, Institute for New Economic Thinking


"Debt is always the biggest indicator of where financial crises will strike next. But while most people focus on government debt, private debt has been overlooked as a risk factor. Richard Vague rectifies that problem-and given that corporate debt is now at record highs-there couldn't be a better time to read his book."-Rana Foroohar, Financial Times

"Just when U.S. regulators and lenders are showing signs of forgetting the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis, Richard Vague comes out with this timely treatise on the dangers of excessive private debt. Deeply researched yet easily understandable, it's must-reading for anyone who wants to understand the financial crises of the past-and anticipate the catastrophes of the future."-Rich Miller, Bloomberg News

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