Book Cover for The Dance of the Trillions


Dance of the Trillions

Developing Countries and Global Finance

David Lubin
Release Date: August 14, 2018

In Dance of the Trillions, David Lubin tells the story of what makes money flow from high-income countries to lower-income ones; what makes it flow out again; and how developing countries have sought protection against the volatility of international capital flows. The book traces an arc from the 1970s, when developing countries first gained access to international financial markets, to the present day.

Underlying this story is a discussion of how the relationship between developing countries and global finance appears to be moving from one governed by the “Washington Consensus” to one more likely to be shaped by Beijing.

A Chatham House Insights Series book

Praise for Dance of the Trillions

This brilliant, well-written book shows how the destinies of developing countries have been shaped by the capricious flows of trillions of U.S. dollars in international capital. When the funds gushed in, many emerging markets flourished, but were just as quickly left stricken when the tides of international capital deserted them. Now, China’s rising influence is fundamentally re-plumbing the whole system of global liquidity flows—with huge implications for the future of finance, especially in the developing world.—James Kynge, emerging markets editor, Financial Times and author of China Shakes the World


Dance of the Trillions is an insightful and beautifully written panoramic narrative of international finance in the last hundred years. It describes vividly how international capital flows have played a major role in shaping the fortunes of developing countries. The over-optimistic financing booms, followed by the sudden capital flights have been a common theme in international markets from Latin America to Asia. The rise of China, affirming the primacy of states over markets, is upsetting the current order and transforming the very structure of the international financial system. A brilliant book!―Hélène Rey, Lord Bagri Professor of Economics, London Business School


David Lubin is an associate fellow in global economy and finance at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and head of emerging markets economics at Citi.