In all of history and in all fields of intellectual endeavor, a tension has existed between theory and practice. Those of us who earn a living in the real world seldom want to appear as slaves to some set of abstract ideas. It was no surprise, therefore, that the word "baloney" was Wall Street's greeting to the pioneering theories of finance developed by a small group of academics in their ivory towers during the years from 1954 to 1972. Yet those breakthrough theories would in time earn five Nobel Prizes in Economic Science. Baloney they were not.
In Capital Ideas Evolving, today's foremost financial historian expands upon his groundbreaking book of 1992, Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street, to recount how these financial theories finally migrated from the towers of ivory to the towers of glass on Wall Street and other financial centers around the world. The result has been a global revolution in the nature of financial markets, the menu of investment strategies, the development of exotic financial instruments, and the role of an uncertain future in all investment decisions. Even the academics who originally developed these theories are active today in the markets and in the creation of new financial structures and strategies.
The opening pages of Capital Ideas Evolving confront the attack on these theories from researchers in Behavioral Finance, who argue that the theoretical assumptions of fully rational investors are a far cryfrom reality. Bernstein finds strong positive conse-quences in the daily interaction between these critics and the impact of financial theory. Based on personal interviews with leading practitioners and theoristsincluding five of those who played a prominent role in Capital Ideasthis book also describes how today's key practical applications developed from the core ideas of finance theory into the new and exciting formats of the investment process found in today's environment. This story includes the startling success of a group of leading institutional investors, all of whom developed their strategies from a base composed of the principles once categorized as "baloney."
As Bernstein traverses between financial theory and a history of modern financial innovation, he gives us a vivid and enlightening view of today's investment world. This engaging and insightful book brings to life the individuals, ideas, and issues that are transforming the financial landscape.