2012年4月16日 星期一

Devil Take The Hindmost/ Value Shopper Heads to Amazon,


Today's Value Shopper Heads to Amazon, Not Walmart

By Brad Tuttle
More recent surveys show that shoppers who are most focused on value are increasingly turning away from the world's overall largest retailer to the world's largest online retailer, Amazon.


Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation (Paperback)

~ Edward Chancellor

the devil take the hindmost 書 講SPECULATION之歷史
Devil Take the Hindmost by Edward Chancellor
"The longest bull market in history" is a term that gets used a lot these days. Since 1990, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen some 8,000 points, from around 2,700 in January 1990 to nearly 11,000 today--a boom by anyone's standards, including Edward Chancellor's. In Devil Take the Hindmost, Chancellor takes an entertaining, albeit sobering, look at the history of speculative manias and the mass delusion that surrounds them.
Beginning with the "tulipomania" that gripped Holland in the 1630s, Chancellor chronicles the formations and irrational euphoria that can inflate markets, from shares of South Sea stock in England in the 1720s to real estate in Japan in the late 1980s. He characterizes the speculative spirit as one that
loves freedom, detests cant, and abhors restrictions. From the tulip Colleges of the seventeenth century to the Internet investment clubs of the late twentieth century, speculation has established itself as the most demotic of economic activities. Although profoundly secular, speculation is not simply about greed. The essence of speculation remains a Utopian yearning for freedom and equality which counterbalances the drab rationalistic materialism of the modern economic system with its inevitable inequalities of wealth.
But it's precisely such inevitability that always seems to win out, when "sharply rising prices followed by sudden panic without cause" bring speculative excess to an abrupt end.
Chancellor makes Devil Take the Hindmost especially relevant to today's U.S. investors by using his analysis of past speculative manias as a lens through which to view the current bull-market binge. No matter what his or her current investment outlook is--bull or bear--anyone with capital to invest would do well to spend a thoughtful weekend with this book. Highly recommended. --Harry C. Edwards --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

In an era of rampant speculation and questionable investor habits, it is a pleasure to read an insightful, well-focused analysis of the events that have dominated social and economic history since at least the second century B.C.E. Starting with the speculative frenzy that gripped ancient Rome, British business journalist Chancellor goes on to provide keen insight into a wide variety of events, including the emergence of stock exchanges from the great fairs of northern Europe, the tulip mania that gripped the Dutch Republic in the 1630s, the insanity of the Mississippi and South Sea bubbles, the robber barons and their impact during the Gilded Age, the events leading to the Crash of 1929, the Japanese bubble economy of the 1980s, the Mexican crisis of 1994, the Asian market crisis of 1997, and the speculative manias that have accompanied the emergence of new technologies, including railroads, the telegraph, automobiles, radio, and the Internet. A well-rounded presentation that should be included in all public and academic libraries.ANorman B. Hutcherson, Beale Memorial Lib., Bakersfield, CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Betting your shirt before you've got it is nothing new. Looking for a quick buck in the financial markets, speculators have conspired to artificially inflate stock or futures prices only to see them crashing down again several times in recorded history. As Edward Chancellor notes in Devil take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation, the cycle has resurfaced as long as the abstract distribution of profits (i.e., stocks, bonds, etc.) has existed. This existence reaches way back, he argues, to the second century BC with Rome, and he gently walks us through the more famous speculative bubbles: Holland's tulip mania, the South Sea bubble, the U.S. stock market crash of 1929, and Japan's crash in the 1980s, and even the curious stockjobbers of 1690s Britain.
Chancellor, a contributor to The Economist, is thoroughly well read and possesses an excellent eye for historical detail. He commands the particulars of the narrative with an even keel, noting opposing viewpoints to the salient economic theory wherever applicable, even in relatively obscure hypothetical texts. He also weeds out some of the more spectacular legends and presents some of the more human elements. Robert Campeau, an eccentric corporate raider in the 1980s, Chancellor reports,
flew regularly to Germany for injections of sheep brains and traveled everywhere with large supplies of mineral water and fresh oranges. His unusual appearance was enhanced by a penchant for wearing porkpie hats with feathers sticking out. In New York, Campeau would call his bankers in the middle of the night and hold meetings with them in his hotel room dressed only in a pair of underpants.
Such details are what make history fun. However, Chancellor nails his thesis so solidly -- that the cycle of financial speculation is a common one throughout history, despite loud protestations by stockholders and analysts to the contrary -- that the differences between the episodes reported in the book are so minimal as to be redundant. Widows and workingmen buy into these stocks put forth by insiders, the market crashes, there is a mild national panic, and everyone forgets and does it again two generations later. Save for the injections of personality, in many ways the chapters are nigh interchangeable. There are sufficient differences in social elements, and not simply economic ones, to warrant a more complete picture of the public's perception of speculation as it evolved and continues to evolve. Chancellor is right in thinking that crowd dynamics don't change that much, but the public climate between the tulip brokers and the corporate raiders is a fascinating story in itself. The similarity between these cycles is undeniable -- but we'd like to see enough differences to convince us we're not reading about one of them twice. The sparse gems about the individuals involved in the dealings just aren't enough to carry a book this repetitive. Shame, because today's money grubbing capitalists could do with a briny drink from the well of historical perspective.

Devil Take The Hindmost
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Edward Chancellor