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Money For Nothing Reviews

Money For Nothing by Thomas Levenson

Money For Nothing: The South Sea Bubble and the Invention of Modern Capitalism

Thomas Levenson

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1 review

Category: History, Non-fiction
Imprint: Head of Zeus
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication date: 3 Sep 2020
ISBN: 9781784973940

A narrative of early capitalism's most famous scandal, a speculative frenzy that nearly bankrupted the British state during the hot summer of 1720 - and paradoxically led to the birth of modern finance.

4 stars out of 5
5 Sep 2020

"This is not a new tale, but Levenson tells it with a light touch"

Bonds were key to the South Sea Company’s scheme, in which they would exchange shares for government bonds. Levenson is very fluent in his descriptions of precisely how these swaps worked, in a way that is clear to those without a financial background. And of course these are the forerunners of the kind of money magic that brought us the crash of 2008. Unlike more recent ‘pump and dump’ schemes, it wasn’t intended to be a scam, or not entirely. The creators of the South Sea Company (as far as we can tell) hoped for their business to be a success — although they were skimming profits for themselves on the way.

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