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Financial Stability: Fraud, Confidence and the Wealth of Nations, + Website


Praise for Financial Stability

“Read this book! In my 25 years of working in the fields of banking and financial academia, I have yet to meet a better mind for financial markets than Fred Feldkamp. He has a rare ability to navigate the legal, regulatory, trading, and practical elements of financial markets with crystal clear thinking and easy to understand writing.”
Paul Schulte, CEO, Schulte Research, Assistant Professor of Finance at Hong Kong University and Senior Fellow at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

“Santayana’s dictum that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it is never truer than when it comes to financial history. Scams, panics, and crashes come with startling regularity, but everyday investors fall prey to events every time. Fortunately, astute readers now have a new book, Financial Stability from Chris Whalen and Fred Feldkamp, that devotes considerable space to the long history of financial chicanery of all types. The scope is impressive including ancient empires, the Bank of England, the history of U.S. banking, the Great Depression, and more recent follies. But the book does not stop at history; it goes on to survey today’s financial landscape with a gimlet eye that looks at hidden liabilities, disappearing assets, and bubbles-in-the-making that should give savers and investors pause. Importantly, Whalen and Feldkamp separate themselves from the doom-and gloom crowd by using hard data instead of conspiracy theories and sound analysis instead of ideological rants. They also offer concrete solutions and thoughtful policy recommendations in case any bankers or policymakers are still listening. Even if the elites are not paying attention, the everyday investor can benefit greatly from the scholarship and engaging style on display here. Whalen and Feldkamp’s book is a tour de force and badly needed right now.”
—James Rickards, author of bestsellers The Death of Money and Currency Wars

“Isaac Newton’s observations about a falling apple revealed the simple natural order from which God set the world in motion. In this book, Feldkamp and Whalen make observations that similarly touch on the natural order of commercial relations among men. As one of the leading U.S. finance lawyers with a forty-year focus on the interplay between law, accounting, and economics, Feldkamp has held a unique vantage point from which to observe how changes in laws and rules impact markets. Feldkamp and Whalen review the fall of the U.S. economy in 2008 and the subsequent recovery and compare that experience against the history of markets over 2,000 years to make observations that every government official, policy maker, lawyer, trader, accountant, economist, businessperson, and citizen needs to understand.”
—Michael S. Smith, Managing Partner of Chicago Office, Baker McKenzie

FREDERICK L. FELDKAMP is a retired partner of Foley & Lardner, LLP, where he chaired the firm’s financial asset securitization practice. He has been a key contributor to the legal basis of mortgage-backed securities and other financial innovations in the United States. Feldkamp’s numerous publications have appeared in peer-reviewed legal journals around the world.

R. CHRISTOPHER WHALEN is an investment banker and author who lives in New York City. He is Senior Managing Director and Head of Research at Kroll Bond Rating Agency, where he is responsible for financial institution and corporate ratings. Over the past three decades, he has worked for financial firms such as Bear, Stearns & Co., Prudential Securities, Tangent Capital Partners, and Carrington. He was a co-founder and principal of Institutional Risk Analytics from 2003 through 2013, when the firm was acquired by Total Bank Solutions.



Part 1: A Flight through Financial Market History--Freedom and Fraud

Chapter 1 The First Few Millennia

Chapter 2 The Bank of England and the Scottish Enlightenment

Chapter 3 US Banking, from British Colonies to 1865

Chapter 4 Bagehot's Dictum (aka the "Greenspan Put")

Chapter 5 US Financial Markets from 1865 to the Great Depression

Chapter 6 Depression, War, and Aftermath--Reflecting on Finance from 1929 to 1973

Chapter 7 Early Deregulation: The Transactions that Replaced Depression Era Thrifts

Chapter 8 Riskless Arbitrage--Stand-alone Collateralized Mortgage Obligations ("CMOs")

Chapter 9 Paradise Gained, Lost, Regained, and Destroyed--1992 to 2008

Chapter 10 Resurrection, Recovery and Reform--2008-2013

Chapter 11 Different Circumstances Require Different Solutions

Part 2: The Theory of Financial Stability

Chapter 12 Statement: Rule of Law + Freedom + Transparency → Equilibrium

Chapter 13 Saying vs Doing

Part 3: Proofs of the Theory of Financial Stability

Chapter 14 Mathematics: (1 + i)x > (E = mc2)

Chapter 15 Law: Incomplete "Sale" ≡ Secured Borrowing

Chapter 16 Economics: Savings ≡ Investment

Chapter 17 Accounting:  Assets ≡ Liabilities + Capital

Chapter 18 International Trade:  Current Account Deficit ≡ Capital Investment -- Domestic Savings

Chapter 19 Philosophy: Benevolence > Self Interest > Fraud

Part 4: The Future

Chapter 20 Achieving Wisdom While Avoiding Mistakes of Experience

Chapter 21 Capital Needs

Chapter 22 Sources of Capital

Chapter 23 Managing the Water Balloon

Chapter 24 Balancing the Bubbles

Epilogue: Truth and Consequences


About the Companion Website

About the Authors