Publication Date: 07/07/2022 ISBN: 9780241569160 Category:

The Price of Time

Edward Chancellor

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication Date: 07/07/2022 ISBN: 9780241569160 Category:


This book is scheduled to be published on 07/07/2022.
You can order it now and we'll ship it once available.


The first book of the next crisis.

All economic and financial activities take place across time. Interest coordinates these activities. The story of capitalism is thus the story of interest: the price that individuals, companies and nations pay to borrow money.

In The Price of Time, Edward Chancellor traces the history of interest from its origins in ancient Mesopotamia, through debates about usury in Restoration Britain and John Law ‘ s ill-fated Mississippi scheme, to the global credit booms of the twenty-first century. We generally assume that high interest rates are harmful, but Chancellor argues that, whenever money is too easy, financial markets become unstable. He takes the story to the present day, when interest rates have sunk lower than at any time in the five millennia since they were first recorded – including the extraordinary appearance of negative rates in Europe and Japan – and highlights how this has contributed to profound economic insecurity and financial fragility.

Chancellor reveals how extremely low interest rates not only create asset price inflation but are also largely responsible for weak economic growth, rising inequality, zombie companies, elevated debt levels and the pensions crises that have afflicted the West in recent years – conditions under which economies cannot possibly thrive. At the same time, easy money in China has inflated an epic real estate bubble, accompanied by the greatest credit and investment boom in history. As the global financial system edges closer to yet another crisis, Chancellor shows that only by understanding interest can we hope to face the challenges ahead.

Publisher Review

Is it possible to write a highly engaging history of the world going back to Hammurabi, unfolding along the way a bitingly comprehensive explanation for its problems today, all told through a single character? Apparently yes. Edward Chancellor has done it, an achievement all the more notable since his drama is built around a character so unheroic on its surface: his "price of time" is interest rates. This is a timely, vitally important and hugely readable book. -- Ruchir Sharma * Chairman, Rockefeller International and New York Times bestselling author * Edward Chancellor has produced not just a brilliant explainer of the value of money and time but a hugely engaging history of the greatest problem confronting markets today. The Price of Time is a must read - a copy should be on the desk of everyone who has anything to do with financial markets or wondered why things work as they do. -- Merryn Somerset Webb * Editor-in-Chief, MoneyWeek * In Chancellor's terrific new book The Price of Time, he argues that well-meaning attempts by central bankers to manage interest rates have brought disaster ... It is no mean task to turn such a dry topic into a lively read, but Chancellor pulls it off. This is not just a worthy successor to his history of financial speculation, Devil Take the Hindmost, but an urgently needed warning. Rock-bottom interest rates were imposed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and have now lasted so long that they have started to seem almost tolerable. To read this book is to be reacquainted with the bizarre, Alice-in-Wonderland condition of modern finance. ... Anyone who wants a fresh perspective on today's problems - and anyone in Westminster hoping to chart a new economic course as Boris Johnson's successor - needs this book on their summer reading list. -- Marc Sidwell * Sunday Telegraph * Interest rates haven't simply fallen - they were pushed. And by their pushing, the world's central banks have constructed the hall of mirrors in which every investor has become, of necessity, a speculator. So argues Edward Chancellor in this brilliant chronicle of the most important prices in capitalism. You must read it. It is a masterpiece of history, analysis-and properly understated outrage. -- James Grant * editor of Grant's Interest Rate Observer * I wish The Price of Time were the book that I had written. I am reminded of Keynes' letter to Hayek after reading The Road to Serfdom where he said "In my opinion it is a grand book. We all have the greatest reason to be thankful to you for saying so well what needs so much to be said. .... I find myself in agreement with virtually the whole of it, and not only in agreement but in a deeply moved agreement" -- William White * former Chief Economist, Bank for International Settlements * Well I'll be darned! Chancellor has done the nearly impossible: he has made a potentially dreary topic - interest rates - into a witty, philosophical and highly entertaining story crammed with historical anecdotes starting with the Babylonians and ending yesterday. At the same time the obvious weight and breadth of his research leads us to his important conclusion: for Heaven's Sake leave interest rates to market forces; manipulation by Central Banks leads to chain linked disasters, another of which may well be imminent. -- Jeremy Grantham, Founder and Chief Investment Strategist, GMO LLC Superb! A worthy successor to Devil Take the Hindmost. -- William Bernstein * author of The Delusion of Crowds * Praise for Devil Take the Hindmost * --- * An admirably researched and very well written account of speculative insanity from the earliest times to, let no one doubt, the present. -- J.K. Galbraith Entertaining, useful, admirable scholarship... Chancellor seems to have read everything. -- New York Times Book Review Praise for Crunch-Time for Credit? -- --- There was no single, dominant, astonishing voice in the wilderness in the debate on the credit crunch, but... Edward Chancellor, an economic historian, foresaw almost everything. -- Charles Moore * Daily Telegraph *

Book experts at your service

What are you looking for?

A recommendation
Something specific
  • Mr B's Recommendation Station
  • Fill in the three questions below, along with your name and email address, and our book experts will be in touch soon with their personal recommendations

  • I'm after something specific
  • Tell us about the book, author or subject you're looking for, along with your name and email address and our book experts will be in touch as soon as possible