Twenty Years of Financial History as Seen by the Man Who Revolutionized the Markets
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 Forty essays and speeches, many dating back to the 1970's, by the ex-chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). Promotion is what this book really is all about. In Part I, ``The Soul of the Trader,'' Melamed--who began his career in the 1950's as a CME runner for Merrill Lynch--argues that wild and woolly Chicago futures traders, including speculators, are actually business pioneers whose arcane methods are economically sound and whose effects--primarily, he claims, the assumption of future commodities' price-risks--are socially useful. In speeches collected in ``The Birth of a Market--Financial Futures,'' Melamed extends these arguments to trading in futures contracts on foreign currencies, Treasury bills, six-month CDs, and other financial instruments as he successfully lobbies for the creation of a Chicago International Monetary Market (IMM), which became the world's first public financial futures exchange; and he traces the IMM's conceptual history from the Bretton Woods agreement of 1946 through Nixon's abandonment of the gold standard in 1971 to the phenomenal growth of the IMM over the next dozen years, during which it spawned its own federal regulatory agency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. ``Futures--Their Role and Potential'' explores the claim of futures' social usefulness in multiple variations, especially concentrating on how futures are really a tool for risk management. ``The 1987 Crash'' defends the futures market against charges that it led to the speculative fever that resulted in the crash, and ``Globalization and the New World Order'' advocates a continuing free market for new futures products and instruments, preferably without the tests of economic viability and social worth that the federal government is inclined to impose. Not a primer in the theory and practice of futures trading, which can be understood only partially by reading between the lines--but full of fascinating historical tidbits lying beneath the promotional blitz.

Pub Date: Jan. 22nd, 1993
ISBN: 0-471-57524-0
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Wiley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1992