My lecture at Columbia University on the euro crisis

As the followers of my blog would know I recently did a 11 day speaking tour in the US. I want to share a bit of that with my readers.

Here you can watch my lecture at Columbia University on the euro crisis.

And this is the Powerpoint presentation from the lecture.

I want to thank my big hero Adam Tooze who is head of the Europe Institute of Columbia University for the invitation to speak at Columbia.


If you want to hear me speak about these topics or other related topics don’t hesitate to contact my speaker agency Specialist Speakers – e-mail: or

Adam Tooze’s great insights into the history of Europe

I spend the weekend with my family in the Christensen vacation home in Skåne (Southern Sweden). I didn’t do any reading, but I had time to watch a fantastic lecture series on YouTube with one of my absolute favourite historians Adam Tooze.

Tooze did the lectures last year at Stanford University’s Europe Center. Watch the great lectures here:

“Making Peace in Europe 1917-1919: Brest-Litovsk and Versailles”
“Hegemony: Europe, America and the problem of financial reconstruction, 1916-1933”
“Unsettled Lands: the interwar crisis of agrarian Europe”

While I do not agree with all of Tooze’s thinking continue to think that he is one of the most inspiring historians in the world to listen to – particularly for economists. Enjoy the lectures!

PS I equally recommend Tooze’s two latest books Wages of Destruction and The Deluge. Both books give great insight not only into history, but also teaches us great lessons for today’s world.


Update: For some reason I had missed David Frum’s excellent review of Wages of Destruction and The Deluge – and Brad DeLong’s “thoughts on David From’s review”.

I simply have to read Adam Tooze’s new book

Adam Tooze is one of my favorite historians and I have often written about his fantastic book Wages of Destruction. It is an amazing book about the Nazi time German economy, which I strongly recommend to anybody who cares about listening to me.

Now Adam Tooze is ready with a new book – The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of Global Order 1916-1931According to Amazon the book will be released on May 29 2014. Here is the book description:

On the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, Deluge is a powerful explanation of why the war’s legacy continues to shape our world – from Adam Tooze, the Wolfson Prize-winning author of The Wages of Destruction

In the depths of the Great War, with millions of dead and no imaginable end to the conflict, societies around the world began to buckle. As the cataclysmic battles continued, a new global order was being born.

Adam Tooze’s panoramic new book tells a radical, new story of the struggle for global mastery from the battles of the Western Front in 1916 to the Great Depression of the 1930s. The war shook the foundations of political and economic order across Eurasia. Empires that had lasted since the Middle Ages collapsed into ruins. New nations sprang up. Strikes, street-fighting and revolution convulsed much of the world. And beneath the surface turmoil, the war set in motion a deeper and more lasting shift, a transformation that continues to shape the present day: 1916 was the year when world affairs began to revolve around the United States.

America was both a uniquely powerful global force: a force that was forward-looking, the focus of hope, money and ideas, and at the same time elusive, unpredictable and in fundamental respects unwilling to confront these unwished for responsibilities. Tooze shows how the fate of effectively the whole of civilization – the British Empire, the future of peace in Europe, the survival of the Weimar Republic, both the Russian and Chinese revolutions and stability in the Pacific – now came to revolve around this new power’s fraught relationship with a shockingly changed world.

The Deluge is both a brilliantly illuminating exploration of the past and an essential history for the present.

Damn, I look forward to reading this book!

Lorenzo on Tooze – and a bit on 1931

The other day I was asking for comments on Adam Tooze’s book  “Wages of Destruction”. Now our good friend “Lorenzo from Oz” has answered my call. It turns out that he already back in 2009 wrote a review on the book on his excellent blog Thinking Out Aloud.

Here is Lorenzo’s wrap-up:

“Tooze’s book is genuinely revelatory. The purposiveness of Nazi policy, the fears and aspirations that drove it, the limitations it laboured under are all made clear. Hitler was, from first to last, a wilful gambler who knew himself to be such. He was also a consummate political game player who attracted and used people of genuine talent for a purpose that was horrific. That the Nazi economy was a loot economy was not happenstance but the nature of the beast. Genghis Khan with a telephone indeed.”

So far every single review of this book I have read has been positive – I am still hoping to find some time to read it – until then I highly recommend that you all have a look at Lorenzo’s review of the book.

PS I continue to think that we can learn a lot about the present crisis by studying history. Yesterday I spend some time in the company the Danish central bank governor Niels Bernstein and Polish central bank governor Marek Belka. Dr. Belka brought up the year of 1931. Dr. Belka of course spend time at the University of Chicago in 1980s so he full well understand monetary policy and monetary history. I hope that Dr. Belka will educate his European colleagues about monetary history (he yesterday also referenced Friedman’s and Schwartz’s “Monetary History”). See what I earlier have written on the “Tagic year 1931”.

“The Wages of Destruction”

It is always nice to open the mailbox and see a new book in the mail. The latest arrival at the Christensen household is The Wages of Destruction” by Adam Tooze on “The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy”.

I have not read it yet, but my feeling is that is will be an interesting read. Most of the reviews of the book I have seen are very positive.

Here is from Richard Tilly’s review of the book:

“The narrative follows a broad chronology. Part one, covering the early 1930s, examines the country’s recovery from the Depression, the reorganization of its economy, and the beginnings of rearmament. Perhaps the most striking feature of these years was the extent to which Germany was driven to reorganize its international economic relations in response to the hegemony of its main creditor, the United States. In part two, “The War in Europe,” Tooze describes the Four Year Plan of 1936–1939 to mobilize the economy for war, culminating in Germany’s successful campaigns against Poland and France. Tooze points out that these triumphs were the result less of superior economic preparedness and more advanced technology than of luck and skillful military leadership. The net gains to Germany’s war economy from these victories were meager, and it could even be said in retrospect, since they accelerated Anglo-American cooperation, that they had a negative impact. Part three describes the economic costs and benefits to Nazi Germany of widening the conflict by invading the Soviet Union in June and declaring war on the United States in December of 1941. These hostile acts, Tooze reminds us, reflected both economic considerations—a desire to gain access to Russia’s oil and grain reserves—and racist ideology—as home to millions of Jews, the Soviet Union was the object of future “Germanization,” and the United States was considered to be the headquarters of “world Jewry.”

If any of my readers have read the book I would be interested in hearing what you think? And can we draw any lessons from the book? Does it tell us anything about today’s euro crisis?

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