Author Archives: Max von Thun

Book review: Vince Cable “Money and Power”

Despite his many years at the pinnacle of British politics, Vince Cable has always managed to maintain an impressive literary output. In 2009, while the party’s deputy leader and shadow chancellor, he published The Storm, an accessible analysis of the 2008 financial crash. This was followed in 2015 by After the Storm, a look at the aftermath of the crisis on British economic policy from the perspective of Cable’s five years in the Cabinet as Business Secretary. Most recently during his time as party leader, Cable even managed to find the time to publish a political thriller, Open Arms, set at the intersection of Westminster politics and the Indo-Pakistani conflict.

Cable’s latest work, Money and Power, marks a return to non-fiction and the serious economic themes that are his bread and butter. Inspired by Keynes’ oft-quoted remark that “practical men…are usually the slaves of some defunct economist”, the book is a survey of leading politicians over the past few centuries that – consciously or unconsciously – have through their actions changed or deepened our understanding of political economy. As both a trained economist and former government minister, Cable is better placed than most to take on this ambitious task.

The sixteen figures profiled by Cable are genuinely global in their breadth, and include Alexander Hamilton and Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the US, Bismarck, Lenin, and Thatcher in Europe, and Lee Kuan Yew, Deng Xiaoping and Shinzo Abe in Asia. Yet just as compelling are Cable’s profiles of lesser known yet nonetheless influential individuals, such as Ludwig Erhard, an economist turned politician who was instrumental in designing Germany’s post-war economic model, and Leszek Balcerowicz, another economist turned statesman who developed the thinking behind Poland’s largely successful “shock therapy” transition from communism to capitalism.

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