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Capitals of Capital: a history of international financial centres, 1780-2005

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Youseff Cassis|
Cambridge University Press (October 2006)

International finance centres have come to represent a major economic stake. Yet no historical study has been devoted to them. Professor Cassis, a leading financial historian, attempts to fill this gap by providing a comparative history of the most important centres that constitute the capitals of capital - New York, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore - from the beginning of the industrial age up to the present.

The book has been conceived as a reflection of the dynamics of the rise and decline of international financial centres, setting them in their economic, political, social and cultural context. While rooted in a strong and lively historical narrative, it draws on the concepts of financial economics in its analysis of events. It should widely appeal to business and finance professionals as well as scholars and students in financial and economic history.

Recommendations

'In Capitals of Capital Youssef Cassis vividly explains and compares the roles of major international financial centres in creating and sustaining our current global economy. The great centres - London, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Frankfurt, Tokyo, and others - rise, decline, and rejuvenate. They compete and cooperate to pool the world's financial resources and distribute them to finance trade and investment within and among nations. Institutions and personalities of course did the work, and Cassis gives the great banks and bankers, markets, and stock exchanges due attention. The book brilliantly demonstrates that much of modern history can be brought into focus through the lens of international financial centre development.'
Richard Sylla, Stern School of Business

'A dizzying and masterful narrative of the ever-changing fate of financial centres. Combining big trends and small but exciting details, Youssef Cassis connects the dots from the decline of Amsterdam in the late 18th century to globalization in the early 21st century. How did Hong Kong and Singapore emerge as world-class financial centres? Why did Berlin dislodge Frankfurt as Germany's top financial spot in the 1870s? All of that, and much, much more is explained in detail in this book that economists, historians and just about everyone interested in international finance will enjoy reading.'
Charles Wyplosz, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva

'Youssef Cassis has presented a masterful historical profile of international financial centers. The book is a triumph.'
Mira Wilkins, Florida International University

'Capitals of Capital is the landmark achievement of a renowned comparative historian. Although the main individual international financial centres have had their histories written, there has long been a need for an authoritative, comprehensive overview of the fluctuating and often entwined fortunes of the rival centres. Youssef Cassis not only dispassionately tells that story over the last two and a quarter centuries, but also gives us much to ponder about the future as we move ever further into a post-industrial age.'
David Kynaston, author of The City of London

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