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Sebastian Mallaby

Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economics

Expertise

Globalization, international finance, monetary policy, hedge funds.

Programs

The Stephen C. Freidheim Symposium on Global Economics , World Economic Update Series , High-Level Roundtable Series on International Economics , Roundtable on Global Economics

Bio

Sebastian Mallaby is Paul A. Volcker senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). An experienced journalist and public speaker, Mr. Mallaby has served as a contributing editor for the Financial Times and as a columnist and editorial board member at the Washington Post. His interests cover a wide variety of domestic and international issues, including financial markets, the implications of the rise of newly emerging powers, and the intersection of economics and international relations. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Atlantic Monthly.

Mr. Mallaby is currently writing a biography of the former Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan. His previous book, More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite, was released in June 2010. New York Times columnist David Brooks has called it "superb." Washington Post columnist Steve Pearlstein has called it "the definitive history of the hedge fund, a compelling narrative full of larger-than-life characters and dramatic tales of their financial triumphs and reversals." More Money Than God was the recipient of the 2011 Loeb Prize, a finalist in the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs prize, and a New York Times bestseller. Mr. Mallaby's earlier books are The World's Banker (2004), a portrait of the World Bank under James Wolfensohn, which was named as an "Editor's Choice" by the New York Times; and After Apartheid (1992), which was named by the New York Times as a "Notable Book." An essay in the Financial Times said of The World's Banker, "Mallaby's book may well be the most hilarious depiction of a big organization and its controversial boss since Michael Lewis's, Liar's Poker."

Before joining the Post in 1999, Mr. Mallaby spent thirteen years with the Economist. While at the Economist, he worked in London, where he wrote about foreign policy and international finance; in Africa, where he covered Nelson Mandela's release and the collapse of apartheid; and in Japan, where he covered the breakdown of the country's political and economic consensus. Between 1997 and 1999, Mr. Mallaby was the Economist's Washington bureau chief and wrote the magazine's weekly Lexington column on American politics and foreign policy. His Foreign Affairs essay on failed states in 2002 was cited by commentators in the New York Times, Financial Times, and Time Magazine. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist: once for editorials on Darfur and once for a series on economic inequality.

Mr. Mallaby was educated at Oxford. He graduated in 1986 with a First Class degree in modern history.

Alan Greenspan and the Making of the Modern Financial System

Alan Greenspan made his first foray onto the national scene in 1968 when he served as an advisor to the Nixon presidential campaign. From that point until his retirement from the Federal Reserve in 2006, Greenspan was at or near the center of economic and financial policy. Over those four decades, the United States moved from a gold link to a free-floating currency, from autarkic capital controls to globalized finance, and from a highly regulated banking system to free-wheeling markets. Greenspan was close to the decisions that drove these changes—whether through his stint as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors in the Ford years, through his many roles as an informal advisor to Republican administrations, through his positions on the boards of various financial institutions, or through his long years at the helm of the Federal Reserve. By tracing these twin threads, my forthcoming biography of the former Federal Reserve chairman will therefore tell two stories: the making of the man, and the making of the modern financial system.

Surveying the Global Crossroads of Politics and Finance

As globalization blurs the boundaries between national economies, the distinctions between political news and financial news are dissolving. Because events in one corner of the world can have major implications for markets around the globe, staying abreast of the latest political developments and economic data is essential in order to have a clear view of the forces shaping government and business decisions. Through roundtables, panel discussions, and quarterly World Economic Update meetings, I seek to put these current events in a larger macroeconomic context and consider their significance for leaders in both the public and private sector.

Featured Publications

All Publications

Op-Ed

What OPEC Teaches China

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
Washington Post

In this Washington Post op-ed, Sebastian Mallaby writes that China's currency manipulation is arguably the most important cause of the financial crisis. However, to get global growth going, it is more important to persuade China to extend its fiscal stimulus than to revalue its currency.

 

See more in China; Monetary Policy

Op-Ed

Supersize the IMF

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
Washington Post

The financial insurance scheme known as the IMF has not kept up with the volume of capital flooding through the world's system. Sebastian Mallaby argues that it is time to radically update this insurance scheme and that government commitments to the IMF should be tripled.

See more in International Organizations and Alliances

Op-Ed

Rocky Market Horror Show

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
Washington Post

Sebastian Mallaby discusses how the financial crisis has shifted from scene to scene with terrifying speed. The crisis has now migrated into parts of the financial system which are hard to rescue-emerging markets and unregulated hedge funds.

See more in Financial Crises

Op-Ed

Bretton Woods, The Sequel?

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
The Washington Post

The Europeans have pressed successfully for a new Bretton Woods summit in response to the global financial crisis, but the Bretton Woods analogy is contrived. Sebastian Mallaby argues that while there is a role for global cooperation, it is worth remembering that after the last global crisis in 1997-98, the only important reforms were national ones.

See more in International Organizations and Alliances; Financial Crises

Op-Ed

Main Street's Rescue

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
The Washington Post

Sebastian Mallaby says that federal policy needs to pay more attention to ordinary families now that Wall Street has gotten its bailout. The fastest and fairest way to help ordinary people is via a budget stimulus package.

See more in Financial Crises

Op-Ed

Blaming Deregulation

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
The Washington Post

In this Washington Post op-ed, Sebastian Mallaby argues that blaming deregulation for the financial mess is both misguided and dangerous. One of the big challenges for the next president will be to defend markets against the inevitable backlash that follows this crisis.

See more in Financial Crises; Elections

Op-Ed

A Bad Bank Rescue

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
Washington Post

Sebastian Mallaby says, the Treasury plan outlined Friday (9/26) involves vast risks, huge complexity and no guarantee of success. There are better ways forward, such as ordering banks to raise capital or buying equity stakes in them.

See more in North America; Financial Crises

Op-Ed

Paulson's Moment of Truth

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
Washington Post

Sebastian Mallaby writes that in refusing to bail out Lehman, Paulson gambled that he could let the institution fail without sowing market pandemonium. If he is right, Paulson's move may limit the damage to U.S.-style financial globalization.

 

 

See more in Financial Crises

Events

The Stephen C. Freidheim Symposium on Global Economics

Staff: Sebastian Mallaby, Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economics
May 12, 2009—Present

This endowed annual symposium was established in 2008 through the generosity of a gift from CFR member Stephen C. Freidheim, CIO and managing partner of Cyrus Capital Partners. The symposium addresses any of the broad spectrum of issues affecting Wall Street and international economics.

World Economic Update Series

Staff: Sebastian Mallaby, Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economics
January 1, 2000—Present

A spirited exchange among chief economists and leading financial analysts, the WEU highlights the quarter's most important signals and emerging trends. Discussions cover changes in the global marketplace with special emphasis on current economic events and their implications for U.S. policy.

High-Level Roundtable Series on International Economics

Staff: Sebastian Mallaby, Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economics
April 2010—Present

This roundtable series brings together senior financial experts from the private sector and the academic world to discuss ideas presented by a guest speaker on a pressing topic in international economics.

Roundtable on Global Economics

Director: Sebastian Mallaby, Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economics
October 1, 2001—Present

This roundtable series brings together key players from the private markets, government, Federal Reserve, IMF, World Bank, and think tanks to discuss pressing policy issues in international economics. The group, which meets monthly, has so far discussed issues such as the impact of terrorism on economic prospects, the outlook for emerging markets, and U.S. trade policy.

CFR Events

Session Two: The Federal Reserve—Looking Back and Forward

This meeting is on the record.

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World Economic Update

This meeting is on the record.

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Foreign Affairs Media Call on the Nomination of Janet Yellen to Chair the Federal Reserve

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

An Overview of the Global Debt Crisis

This meeting is on the record.

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Listen-Only Teleconference: Can the Eurozone be Rescued?

This meeting is on the record.

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Listen-Only Teleconference: World Economic Update

This meeting is on the record.

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CFR Call: Debt Crisis Implications

This meeting is on the record.

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Charter Cities: New Options for the Bottom Billion

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Currency Wars, Capital Controls, and the Outlook for the International Monetary System

This meeting is on the record.

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Currency Wars, Capital Controls, and the Outlook for the International Monetary System

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The History of Hedge Funds

This meeting is not for attribution.

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The United States and Japan Looking Forward: New Opportunities, New Synergies, New Challenges

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Read

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite

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"More Money than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite"

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Risk Spotting at Bloomberg

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World Economic Update

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Reforming Global Finance: The Squam Lake Papers

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The Global Consequences of the Crisis

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The United States and the Future of Global Governance: The Financial Crisis and Global Financial and Monetary Cooperation

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The President's Inbox: Asia and the Economy

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The Financial Crisis: Long Term Implications

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Wall Street in Crisis

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New York Telephone Conference Call: Wall Street in Crisis

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Global Economic Trends: The Credit Crunch

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Update on the Global Economy

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A Foreign Policy Mandate? Thirty Years of Oil and Gas (Session 1)

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The Range of the Possible: Energy Alternatives in the Market (Session 2)

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What Next? Government Action and the Policy Puzzle (Session 3)

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Energy Policy and the Search for Alternatives: Keynote Address (Session 4)

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Funding an Energy Revolution? Ethanol and Energy Security

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The World's Banker and the World's Poor: A Complex Relationship

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Press/Panels