Harold James

Expertise: History & International Affairs| China|Globalisation
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Harold James

Harold James is Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University and a senior fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation. A specialist on German economic history and on globalization, he is a co-author of the new book The Euro and The Battle of Ideas, and the author of The Creation and Destruction of Value: The Globalization CycleKrupp: A History of the Legendary German Firm, and Making the European Monetary Union.

He was educated at Cambridge University and was a Fellow of Peterhouse for eight years before joining Princeton University in 1986. He is director of the Center for European Politics and Society at Princeton. He is also Marie Curie Visiting Professor at the European University Institute, and writes a monthly column for Project Syndicate.

Harold James has written extensively on the economic implications of globalization, drawing comparisons with historical attempts at globalization which ended with the Great Depression in 1929. He argues the Great Depression must not be considered as only an American phenomenon, but instead as a global economic crisis. He examines the contemporary issues associated with globalization in the context of larger economic trends, which were disrupted by the World Wars and the Great Depression.

His most recent book: The Euro and the Battle of Ideas was published in September 2016 and has received fantastic reviews from Larry Summers and Ben Bernanke

Why is Europe’s great monetary endeavor, the Euro, in trouble? A string of economic difficulties in Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and other Eurozone nations has left observers wondering whether the currency union can survive. In this book, Markus Brunnermeier, Harold James, and Jean-Pierre Landau argue that the core problem with the Euro lies in the philosophical differences between the founding countries of the Eurozone, particularly Germany and France. But the authors also show how these seemingly incompatible differences can be reconciled to ensure Europe’s survival.

As the authors demonstrate, Germany, a federal state with strong regional governments, saw the Maastricht Treaty, the framework for the Euro, as a set of rules. France, on the other hand, with a more centralized system of government, saw the framework as flexible, to be overseen by governments. The authors discuss how the troubles faced by the Euro have led its member states to focus on national, as opposed to collective, responses, a reaction explained by the resurgence of the battle of economic ideas: rules vs. discretion, liability vs. solidarity, solvency vs. liquidity, austerity vs. stimulus.

Weaving together economic analysis and historical reflection, The Euro and the Battle of Ideas provides a forensic investigation and a road map for Europe’s future.

Markus K. Brunnermeier is the Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Economics at Princeton University and Director of Princeton’s Bendheim Center of Finance. He has written extensively on financial crises and monetary policy. Harold James is professor of history and international affairs and the Claude and Lore Kelly Professor of European Studies at Princeton University. His books include Making the European Monetary Union and Europe RebornJean-Pierre Landau is former deputy governor of the Banque de France and executive director of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He is associate professor of economics at Sciences Po in Paris.


“A book of depth and subtlety that is helpful in understanding matters well outside the questions it seems to address. . . . This is a fascinating and informative book.” – Geoffrey Wood, Central Banking Journal

“[The authors] have the advantage of being deeply involved. . . . If Europe is high on your list of concerns, you should read this book; European leaders will.” – David Warsh, Economic Principals


“The advent of the Euro is a singular event in monetary history. This is the best and most important book so far on an experiment with profound economic and geopolitical implications.” – Lawrence H. Summers, former Secretary of the U.S.Treasury

“I very much appreciate this book’s efforts to explain the highly diverse approaches to economic and fiscal policy in Europe and to shape them into a common strategy. If this could succeed in reality in today’s Europe, much would be gained indeed.” – Wolfgang Schäuble, Finance Minister of Germany

“International divergences in economic policy are as much the result of differences in intellectual frameworks as of variation in economic circumstances. This valuable book explains the critical differences in national economic philosophies and how they have conditioned policy choices over the past decade.”–Ben S. Bernanke, former Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve



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