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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 Author: Sebastian Mallaby
Financial Times

Sebastian Mallaby argues that because hedge funds are small enough to fail, they represent an appealing alternative to too-big-to-fail banks. If the new Financial Stability Oversight Council were to burden hedge funds with oversight and hamper their growth, it would reduce the amount of risk that they absorb, paradoxically making the financial system less stable.

See more in Financial Crises

Article

Go for the Jugular

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
Atlantic Monthly

In this excerpt from his new book, More Money Than God, on the history of hedge funds, Sebastian Mallaby tells the story of the break-up of Europe's Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 from inside of George Soros's Quantum Fund.

See more in International Finance

Op-Ed

Leaving the Euro Behind?

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
Washington Post

Sebastian Mallaby says that the eurozone's twin temptations--to borrow too much, to raise wages too much--always threatened the cohesion of the currency union. If Greece is rescued from its follies, these temptations will become stronger.

See more in Financial Crises; EU

Interview

The Sovereign Debt Dilemma

Sebastian Mallaby interviewed by Roya Wolverson

Markets' reaction to the sovereign debt crisis in Greece and other European countries suggests global governments "have used up all their ammunition to boost global growth," and could be punished by the markets if they sustain stimulus programs, says CFR's Sebastian Mallaby.

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

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World Economic Update

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

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An Overview of the Global Debt Crisis

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Listen-Only Teleconference: Can the Eurozone be Rescued?

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Listen-Only Teleconference: World Economic Update

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CFR Call: Debt Crisis Implications

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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

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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

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

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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