One of the contributors to my book workshop this week was Richard Grossman, who spoke about this forthcoming book entitled "WRONG: Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn from Them". In this book, Richard looks at policy mistakes made by governments because they were blinded by ideology rather than clearly seeing the economic problem at hand. For example, he looks at how the British government's policy during the Great Famine was wrong and how Britain's return to the gold standard in 1925 was wrong. He also looks at wrong economic policy in the run-up to the subprime and Euro crises. His book is due out soon and can be pre-ordered at Amazon by clicking here.
As an undergraduate, I was taught about the failure of Herstatt Bank in 1974 and Herstatt risk. This bank was only the 35th largest bank in Germany at the time so why would anyone be interested in studying its failure? Herstatt failed because of its involvement in risky foreign exchange business. When it closed its doors on 26 June 1974, counterparty banks (mainly in New York) had not received dollars due to them because of time-zone differences - this is known as settlement risk. The cross-jurisdictional implications of its failure resulted in the Bank for International Settlements setting up the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and Herstatt's failure was a key reason for the establishment of real-time gross settlements systems, which ensures that payments between two banks are executed in real time. The Bank of England's Ben Norman has an interesting post on Herstatt over at the Bank's new blog ( Bank Underground ). As well as giving an excellent overview of