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A History of Interest Rates, 4th Edition

Sidney Homer, Richard Sylla

ISBN: 978-0-471-73283-9 August 2005 736 Pages


A History of Interest Rates presents a very readable account of interest rate trends and lending practices over four millennia of economic history. Despite the paucity of data prior to the Industrial Revolution, authors Homer and Sylla provide a highly detailed analysis of money markets and borrowing practices in major economies. Underlying the analysis is their assertion that "the free market long-term rates of interest for any industrial nation, properly charted, provide a sort of fever chart of the economic and political health of that nation." Given the enormous volatility of rates in the 20th century, this implies we're living in age of political and economic excesses that are reflected in massive interest rate swings. Gain more insight into this assertion by ordering a copy of this book today.

Foreword by Dr. Henry Kaufman vii

Preface to the Fourth Edition ix

Summary Tables xiii

Summary Charts xvii

Introduction 1

Part One. Ancient Times


1. Prehistoric and Primitive Credit and Interest 17

2. Mesopotamia: Sumer, Babylonia, and Assyria 25

3. Greece 32

4. Rome 44

5. A Summary and Analysis of Ancient Interest Rates 57

Part Two. Medieval and Renaissance Europe

6. Usury Doctrines and Their Effect on European Credit Forms and Interest 67

7. The Dark Ages 80

8. Late Medieval Times 87

9. The Renaissance 102

10. A Summary and Analysis of Medieval and Renaissance Interest Rates in Western Europe 132

Part Three. Modern Europe and North America to 1900

11. England in the Eighteenth Century 145

12. Europe in the Eighteenth Century 164

13. England in the Nineteenth Century 178

14. France in the Nineteenth Century 213

15. Other European Countries in the Nineteenth Century 230

16. The United States in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries 270

Part Four. Europe and North America Since 1900

17. The United States in the Twentieth Century: 1900–1945 329

18. The United States in the Twentieth Century: 1946–1990 366

19. England in the Twentieth Century 437

20. Europe in the Twentieth Century: France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy 462

21. Europe in the Twentieth Century: Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia, Ireland, Iberia, and Turkey 523

22. Canada in the Twentieth Century 545

23. Summary and Analysis of Interest Rates in Europe and North America Since 1700 554

Part Five. Other Countries and the 1990’s

24. Japan 575

25. The Old Sterling Area: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, and Pakistan 586

26. Russia 598

27. China 613

28. Latin America 626

29. Turn of the Millennium: 1990–2005 642

Notes 673

Index 693