[OPE-L] The New Masters Of Capital: American Bond Rating Agencies And The Politics Of Creditworthiness

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Fri May 06 2005 - 13:39:57 EDT

Has anyone read this yet? rb

(Cornell Studies in Political Economy)
by  Timothy J. Sinclair
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The New Masters Of Capital: American Bond Rating Agencies And The Politics Of
(Cornell Studies in Political Economy)
by  Timothy J. Sinclair  "Contemporary American power is obvious to the casual

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description
In The New Masters of Capital, Timothy J. Sinclair examines a key aspect of
the global economy=97the
rating agencies. In the global economy, trust is formalized in the daily
operations of such firms as
Moody=92s and Standard & Poor=92s, which continuously monitor the
financial health
of bond-issuers
ranging from private corporations to local and national governments. Their
judgments affect
unimaginably large sums, approximately $30 trillion in outstanding debt
issues, according to a recent
Moody=92s estimate. The difference between an AA and a BB rating may cost
millions of dollars in interest
payments or determine if a corporation or government can even issue bonds

Without bond rating agencies, there would be no standard means to compare
risks in the global
economy, and international investment would be problematic. Most observers
assume that the agencies
are neutral and scientific, and that they interpret their role in narrowly
economic terms. But these
agencies, by their nature, wield extraordinary power and exert massive
influence over public policy.
Sinclair offers a highly accessible account of these institutions, their
origins, and the rating processes
they use to judge creditworthiness. Illustrated with a wide range of cases,
this book offers a fresh
assessment of the role of an often-overlooked institution in the dynamics of
modern global capitalism.

 From the Inside Flap
"In this volume Timothy J. Sinclair systematically and thoroughly explores a
major but little-known
dimension of world affairs. The extensive expansion of international capital
mobility in recent years has
accorded bond-rating agencies a central place in the dynamics of globalization
and Sinclair does a
masterful job of explicating the various ways in which these new masters of
capital exercise their power
and perform their roles."=97James N. Rosenau, University Professor of
International Affairs, The George
Washington University

"In The New Masters of Capital, Timothy J. Sinclair investigates the world of
bond rating agencies. These
private institutions have immense power, as their judgments can profoundly
affect the financial
conditions faced by corporations, cities, and countries. Their ratings can
determine whether or not poor
countries or struggling municipalities can borrow on private markets, a
consideration of profound
importance to their economic success. Sinclair explores how the bond rating
agencies function, and
how they can malfunction, as part of the broader international political
economy. The New Masters of
Capital will be interesting and informative for all those concerned to
understand the operation of
today=92s global financial markets.

James Carville once famously said that when he was reincarnated he wanted to
come back as the bond
market, because =91then you can intimidate everyone.=92 If Carville had read
Sinclair=92s book, he would have
chosen to come back as a bond rating agency, because then he could even
intimidate the bond
market!"=97Jeffry A. Frieden, Stanfield Professor of International Peace,
Harvard University

"Timothy J. Sinclair offers an admirably jargon-free account of bond rating
agencies. This book will be
widely read, as it is the first to systematically tackle this aspect of the
politics of economic
globalization. The New Masters of Capital makes a strong and intriguing
argument about the role of
power and authority in the social construction of knowledge in international
market settings."=97
Kathleen McNamara, Georgetown University

   See all Editorial Reviews

Product Details

Hardcover: 186 pages

Publisher: Cornell University Press  (March 1, 2005)

ISBN: 0801443288

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