Recent Publications

Review by John Chown
“Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth – and How to Fix It”

Dambisa Moyo, Little Brown, 2018. In press: Central Banking (Probably August 2018).

Review by John Chown Crash Bang Wallop: The Inside Story of London’s big Bang and a Financial Revolution that Changed the World

Iain Martin. Sceptre, 2016, 352 pages. In Central Banking, Vol XXVIII, Number 1, August 2017.

What the Financial Crisis should have taught us about conflicts of interest and how to avoid them

John Chown, David Russell, QC. Trust & Trustees, January 2017, Oxford University Press. Trusts & Trustees (2017) 23 (2): 209-214.

This is a key document, a requested up-date of “Conflicts of Interest and Systemic Risk”, November 2011 Available via:

How to Sell the Family Silver – Lessons from the Royal Mail Sale

The Pointmaker. Centre for Policy Studies, May 2016

This shows how my 2011 paper “No to Underwriting” was ignored. The rip-off. The outcome was even worse than in the earlier privatisations and in this case we know that most of the beneficiaries were not long-term investors. (See Public Policy)

Review by John Chown Stabilising capitalism: a greater role for Central Banks

Pierluigi Ciocca. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, 105 pages. In Central Banking Volume XXVI, Number 3, February 2016

Review by John Chown Europe’s Orphan: the future of the euro and politics of debt.

Martin Sandbu, Princeton University Press, 2015, 336 pages. In: Central Banking Volume XXVI, Number 2, November 2015, pp94-95

Review by John Chown The Media and Financial Crises – Comparative and Historical Perspectives

Steve Schifferes and Richard Roberts. (editors and contributors) Routledge 2015. In Central Banking May 2015

This fascinating book discusses what the Press had to say about a series of crises. Although some contributors treat this subject as a history of journalism others cast an interesting and very different point of view on the crises themselves.

Review by John Chown Alexandre Lamfalussy: the wise man of the euro

Christophe Lamfalussy, Ivo Maes and Sabine Peters, Lannoo Campus, 2014, 256 pages. In: Central Banking, Volume XXV, Number 1, August 2014

This picks up from the Harold James review (see below) and shows clearly that although the economists’ view that Monetary Union would only work if combined with a Fiscal and Transfer Union, they were over-ruled by politicians who (mostly) did not take the point. As we suspected, others (as the “Wise Man” himself now confesses) who, knowing this, thought they could achieve their political objective by non-constitutional means. Very revealing.

Review by John Chown Saving the City: the Great Financial Crisis of 1914

Richard Roberts, Oxford University Press, 2013, 320 pages. In Central Banking Volume XXIV, Number 4, May 2014

A fascinating and detailed account of a major crisis, previously rather ignored because it was effectively resolved very quickly.

Review by John Chown The Unloved Dollar Standard from Bretton Woods to the Rise of China

Ronald McKinnon. In Central Banking August 2013

Ronald McKinnon argues that in spite of its ups and downs, the dollar standard has served us well and it should be revived particularly in the context of US – China relations. As usual, he has some challenging, if not always convincing, views on economic orthodoxy.

The Tobin Tax Rears its Ugly Head, Again

John Chown, The Pointmaker, Centre for Policy Studies, May 2013

Foreword by Nigel Lawson. This was upstaged by a leaked false report, timed to coincide with the publication, that Brussels were having second thoughts. This is an update of `Time to Bin the Tobin Tax, CPS April 2012.

Lessons from Monetary History

contributory chapter by John Chown, in “The Euro, The Beginning, the Middle … and the End?” Editor Philip Booth. IEA Hobart Paperback, 2013

This draws on my `History of Monetary Unions’ but puts it into the context of current events.

Principled Tax Planning

John Chown. Financial World, 28 May 2013

This advises against taking any part in `schemes’ which are sold, but suggests that taxes can be minimized using accepted reliefs following a full analysis of the taxpayer’s priorities and needs.

Review by John Chown Making the European Monetary Union – the Role of the Committee of Central Bank Governors and the Origins of the European Central Bank

Harold James, with foreword by Mario Draghi and Jaime Caruana. In Central Banking, February 2013

Covering the period to 1993 for which archives are available, this shows that all the issues apparently ignored by the creators and would be rescuers of the Eurozone were fully argued during the two previous attempts (see also Lamfalussy above).
“Forget Italy: Fiscal union is unlikely to mend the euro’s defective heart”, CityAM, Thursday 28 February 2013, p. 24.

Review by John Chown Sovereign Wealth Funds: The New Intersection of Money and Politics

Christopher Balding, Oxford University Press, 2012. In Central Banking, May 2012

I agreed to review this book because I needed to know more about the subject, which fitted in very well with my own. The author’s introduction begins by saying he decided to write it for the same reason.

The future of European Monetary Union: early background and long-term thoughts

Adam Smith Institute/

No to Underwriting: How the Coalition can avoid being Ripped Off

Centre for Policy Studies, August 2011

This was written to prevent a repeat of the outrageous profits made by underwriters at the expense of taxpayers during the early privatisations.

Review by John Chown The New International Money Game (7th edition)

Robert Aliber. Palgrave Macmillan, May 2011, Central Banking, August 2011

This is an updated edition of the standard text book by Robert Aliber who used to commute between Chicago and the London Business School.

Conflicts of Interest and Systemic Risk

John Chown, Central Banking, November 2010

The financial crisis has uncovered many conflicts of interest. Although these concern regulators who are duty-bound to protect investors against malpractice. I explain that Central Bankers should be aware of this as, if banks were making improper profits by dubious means, then in due course there would be a systemic crisis when these were attacked. This was specifically requested by the editor following the November 2009 article.

Towards a New Banking System

John Chown, Central Banking, November 2009

One paragraph in this article led to an invitation to write the “Conflicts of Interest” – see above.

Eliminating Tax Obstacles for Cross-Border Operations (Recent Developments in European Company Law)/ Talk given to the European Law Academy in Trier, Germany, in February 2007. Published in Tax Notes International, May 2007.

This is a key document on how and why European Union policy on tax harmonisation has failed by not recognising how many apparently unlikely issues (pensions policy, corporate governance, and the growth of private equity) have been involved.

A History of Monetary Unions

John Chown. Routledge London and New York 2003. Paperback 2006

This book has again become topical now that it is more generally realised that EMU is not for ever. It draws on the experience of Latin Monetary Union, Bretton Woods, the Sterling area and the break-up of the Soviet Union.

"A History of Money."

Routledge, 1994, paperback 1996, Chinese translation 2002


Earlier Books

"Tax Efficient Foreign Exchange Management"

John F Chown. Woodhead‑Faulkner, Cambridge, 1990. ISBN 0 85941 595 3.

"Tax Efficient Forex Management"

Professional Publishing. 1986.

"Foreign Exchange Risk: A Tax and Financial Analysis

(Oyez Longman 1983.)

Corporate Finance under Floating Exchange Rates

J F Chown. Cityforum Ltd, 1979.

“A Guide to Capital Transfer Tax”

John Chown, Kogan Page Limited, 1975

"Taxation and Multinational Enterprise"

J F Chown. Longman, 1974.

"VAT Explained"

J F Chown. Kogan Page, 1972 and 1973.

"International Bond Market in the 1960's"

John Chown and Robert Valentine. Frederick A Praeger, 1968.

“A History of Money: From AD 800”

by John Chown - Foreword by Forrest Capie

This book presents a detailed and surprising history of money from Charlemagne's reform in approximately AD800 to the end of the Silver Wars in 1896. It also summarizes twentieth century developments and places them in their historical context.
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“A History of Monetary Unions”

by John Chown

In this comprehensive historical overview, the author writes about monetary unions with an admirable completeness.
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