Interest rates are “the lowest in history, from the Code of Hammurabi to Babylon Civilization, Greek and Roman Civilization, the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and early modern history, right up until the present. I can assure listeners that the rates we have now are the lowest in human history.”
So says Richard Sylla, professor emeritus of economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and author of several books, most notably “A History of Interest Rates.” He describes how the ultra-low rates of the past decade simply had no prior historical precedent in all of human history.
These are not the rantings of a gold bug or foe of the Federal Reserve. Sylla has spent his career studying and teaching financial history. A professor at NYU since 1990, he is also Chairman of the Board of the Museum of American Finance, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum’s mission is to preserve, exhibit and teach about American financial history.
He was one of the first students to major in economics at Harvard; post graduate career then took him to the Indian Statistical Institute at Calcutta, before returning to Harvard to to earn his masters and doctorate in economics.
A few favorite books are referenced here.
You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Bloomberg, Overcast, and Stitcher. Our earlier podcasts can all be found on iTunes, Stitcher, Overcast, and Bloomberg.
Next week, we speak with venture capitalist Bill Janeway, former Warburg Pincus banker, where he co-founded and funded BEA Systems.