The Only Game in Town Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse Mohamed A. El-Erian

Publication date:
02 Jun 2017
Yale University Press
320 pages:
16 b-w figs.
Sales territories:
Territories listed in the Appendix to the Agreement, and non-exclusively throughout the rest of the world excluding the US, its territories and dependencies, the Republic of the Philippines and Canada  


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An incisive analysis of the state of the global economy and what the future holds.

Surrounded by sluggish growth, high rates of unemployment, rising inequality, growing financial instability and increased social tensions, pessimism about our future abounds.
Dr. Mohamed A. El-Erian, one of the world’s most influential economic thinkers, explains lucidly the realities of the economic choices that we will soon face. The path that the global economy and markets are on is ending. But what comes thereafter is far from predestined. It critically depends on choices that we make as households and companies, and decisions that our political representatives take.
The Only Game in Town details how the world is increasingly being shaken, both from above and from below. It illuminates the growing internal contradictions, the constraints that are undermining growth and prosperity, and the radical overhaul in thinking that is required. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, central banks were handed responsibility for the fate of the global economy. Lifting the veil on the inner workings of these powerful and innovative institutions, El-Erian explains why they cannot save us this time around.
Laying out a road map for growth, The Only Game in Town shows how and why collaboration between central bankers, policymakers and business leaders is essential. Drawing on insights from behavioral science, economics and finance, this book provides the tools needed to understand the uncertainties that lie ahead and return us to a path of prosperity. Thought provoking and insightful, this book is required reading for investors, policymakers, and anyone interested in the future.

Mohamed A. El-Erian is chief economic advisor at Allianz, the corporate parent of PIMCO where he served as CEO and co-CIO (2007-2014), and chair of President Obama’s Global Development Council. His last book, When Markets Collide, won the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Award for the best business book of the year, was highlighted as a best book of the year by The Economist, and was called the best business book of all time by The Independent. El-Erian is a contributing editor at the Financial Times, a Bloomberg columnist and his writings have appeared in The Guardian, Project Syndicate, The Telegraph, the Huffington Post and Reuters.

‘Central banks saved the world economy from collapse. But they cannot create enduring and stable economic growth. What is needed now, argues this distinguished and knowledgeable author, are “invigorating structural reforms, rebalancing aggregate demand, lifting crippling debt overhangs, and modernising regional and global architectures”. He is right.’ - Martin Wolf, Financial Times

The Only Game in Town explains how central banks have found themselves driving an untested car down an unmarked road in uncharted territory. It also provides a possible roadmap back home. For students and watchers of central banking – as well as for central bankers themselves – it is as close to essential reading as you are likely to find.”
—Andrew G. Haldane is the chief economist at the Bank of England and executive director, Monetary Analysis and Statistics

In this characteristically insightful book, Mohamed El-Erian explains how central banks have saved the world economy from financial and economic disaster. But the capabilities of these institutions are inherently limited. They cannot restore rapid, inclusive and reasonably stable economic growth. If the world is to enjoy this combination, he argues, other state and non-state actors have to play a bigger, more pro-active and more imaginative role."
—Martin Wolf, Financial Times

 “If you are only going to read one book which explains how we got to where we have and what needs to be done, I recommend The Only Game in Town. Mohamed El-Erian lifts the veil which shrouds the secretive central banks, and lays bare the deep weaknesses which continue to bedevil the global economy.”
—Ian Goldin, director of the Oxford Martin School and professor of globalization and development at the University of Oxford

“This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the global economy. A masterful account of how central banks became the only game in town after the global financial crisis but also how other structural and fiscal policies are necessary to resolve key global economic issues. El-Erian is the best thinker on the key global issues of our times.”
—Nouriel Roubini, chairman, Roubini Global Economics and professor of economics, Stern School of Business, NYU

Widely regarded as one of the most astute observers of global economic trends, Mohamed El-Erian is famous for having coined the now-ubiquitous phrase ‘the new normal.’ Five years ago, he was worried that the global economy might take years to regain its footing. Now El-Erian worries it could fall off a cliff. The good news from this book is that if policymakers get their act together, things could be a lot better. The bad news is that this seasoned and influential veteran isn’t at all sure this will happen. The Only Game in Town is simply a must-read for anyone trying to understand how the global economy might unfold in the next five years.”
—Kenneth Rogoff, Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University, and former chief economist and director of research at the International Monetary Fund

“An indispensable guide to understanding the rapid expansion and current role of central banks in the global economy, as well as the challenges and opportunities that they will confront in responding to future economic shocks.”
—James Poterba, professor of economics, MIT, and president and CEO, National Bureau of Economic Research

“From setting interest rates to avoiding financial crises, if you want to understand the expanding - and sometimes mysterious - role of central banks then look no further
than this book. Expertly written, it cuts through the jargon to explain how they will be instrumental in getting the economy back on track to deliver growth in an era when
the risk of debt crises makes stagnation a serious threat.
—George Buckley, Chief UK Economist at Deutsche Bank, UK

There are few economists with the breadth of experience of Mohamed El-Erian. His insights have been well-honed in the private sector and policy sphere, which shine
through in this must-read book. It covers not only where we have been, but also where the global economy is headed, and why economies need a better strategy for growth, which is a key question for our time.
—Dr. Yueh is Fellow in Economics at St Edmund Hall, Oxford University, Adjunct Professor of Economics at London Business School and Visiting