When Small Countries Crash

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9781412814836: When Small Countries Crash
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The public is fascinated with financial crashes. Historians portray the roar of an angry mob toppling presidents or prime ministers and destroying the property of those who are regarded as malefactors. And certainly, financial crisis is often a factor in political change. It is often overlooked, but nonetheless significant that one of the major causes for the French Revolution was the poor state of finances, with the nation coming to bankruptcy.

Large systemic financial crises create history. Various actors, big and small, become caught in the drama, contributing to it in their own special way. When Small Countries Crash seeks to capture some of the drama of financial collapses and their impact on small countries, which the authors define as populations under 10 million, generally 5-6 million. MacDonald and Novo have selected countries that have had a financial crisis in the national economy; that included key actors; and where access to reliable data is available.

As the authors demonstrate, the story of small countries suffering the costs of financial missteps is long and painful. They argue that smaller economies tend to be more vulnerable to economic shocks, many of which are externally generated. Small economies confront particular challenges in terms of economies of scale, diversification, and depth of expertise and workforce. The chapters in this absorbing book focus on Iceland, Latvia, Ireland, the Caribbean, Scotland, Finland, and Albania. This in-depth study is unique in its close look at financial disasters in countries that have, until now, been overlooked.

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About the Author:

Scott B. MacDonald is a senior managing director and head of research at MC Asset Management Holdings, LLC. His numerous books include European Destiny, Atlantic Transformations; A History of Credit and Power in the Western World; and Asia’s Rise in the 21st Century.   

Review:

“This book by MacDonald (Aladdin Capital Management) and Novo (researcher, Harvard Univ.) seeks to address the impact of financial crises on small countries. The work spans several centuries and includes chapters on the Darien venture in late-17th-century Scotland, the Caribbean islands during the 19th century, and Austria in the 1930s up to crises of the last three decades, such as that in the Scandinavian countries in the early 1990s and the most recent difficulties... General readers and lower-division undergraduates.”

B. B. Andrew, Choice

“Why are small countries so vulnerable to the vagaries of international capital markets? What are the political and economic consequences for those countries when capital fl ows suddenly go into reverse? And what, if anything, can their governments do to protect themselves? In a masterly discussion of case studies from 17th-century Scotland to current-day Greece, When Small Countries Crash provides the answers. It will cause many of us to see the current financial crises besetting the European periphery in an entirely new light.” 

—Noel Maurer, associate professor of business administration, Harvard Business School



“In this book, MacDonald, who has an extensive background in the financial industry, and Novo, an academic specializing in the history of the Mediterranean world, focus on the particularly damaging impact of the recent global financial crisis on a select group of countries of less than 10 million inhabitants. The authors analyze not only the current financial figures, but also historical antecedents that mark similar periods in those countries’ history. Ten chapters include topics like: sinking Scotland, Caribbean follies, when Finland almost failed, and Albanian Pyramid Schemes. This book will interest readers concerned with the effects of the financial crisis beyond the borders of the United States.”

Book News Inc.

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