The Status Quo Crisis: Global Financial Governance After the 2008 Meltdown

Oxford University Press
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The 2008 financial crisis was the worst since the Great Depression and many voices argued that it would transform global financial governance. Analysts anticipated a "Bretton Woods moment", referring to the 1944 conference that established the postwar international financial order. Widespread expectations of change were then reinforced by the creation of the G20 leaders' forum, extensive debates about the dollar's global role, the launching of international financial regulatory reforms, and the establishment of the Financial Stability Board. But half a decade later, how much has really changed? In The Status Quo Crisis, Helleiner surveys the landscape and argues that continuity has marked global financial governance more than dramatic transformation. The G20 leaders forum contributed much less to the management of the crisis than advertised. The US dollar remains unchallenged as the world's dominant international currency. The market-friendly nature of pre-crisis international financial regulation has been not overturned in a significant manner. And the Financial Stability Board has strengthened the governance of international financial standards in only very modest ways. What we are left with are some small-bore incremental changes that, collectively, have not fundamentally restructured the governance of the global financial system. Helleiner argues that this strangely conservative result was generated partly by the structural power and active policy choices of the country at the center of the crisis: the United States. Status quo outcomes also reflected the unexpected weakness of Europe and conservatism of policymakers in large emerging market countries. Only if this distinct configuration of power and politics among and within influential states shifted in the coming years might the 2008 crisis leave a more transformative legacy over the longer term. Cutting against much of the received wisdom on offer today, The Status Quo Crisis will be essential reading for those interested in the politics of global finance and for anyone curious how expectations of change can be thwarted after even in the most dire of crises.
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About the author

Eric Helleiner is Faculty of Arts Chair in International Political Economy, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Waterloo, and author of States and the Reemergence of Global Finance (Cornell UP) and The Making of National Money (Cornell UP)
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Jun 19, 2014
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780199973644
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economic Conditions
Political Science / Political Economy
Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Eric Helleiner
Eric Helleiner
Most accounts explain the postwar globalization of financial markets as a product of unstoppable technological and market forces. Drawing on extensive historical research, Eric Helleiner provides the first comprehensive political history of the phenomenon, one that details and explains the central role played by states in permitting and encouraging financial globalization.

Helleiner begins by highlighting the commitment of advanced industrial states to a restrictive international financial order at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference and during the early postwar years. He then explains the growing political support for the globalization of financial markets after the late 1950s by analyzing five sets of episodes: the creation of the Euromarket in the 1960s, the rejection in the early 1970s of proposals to reregulate global financial markets, four aborted initiatives in the late 1970s and early 1980s to implement effective controls on financial movements, the extensive liberalization of capital controls in the 1980s, and the containment of international financial crises at three critical junctures in the 1970s and 1980s.

He shows that these developments resulted from various factors, including the unique hegemonic interests of the United States and Britain in finance, a competitive deregulation dynamic, ideological shifts, and the construction of a crisis-prevention regime among leading central bankers. In his conclusion Helleiner addresses the question of why states have increasingly embraced an open, liberal international financial order in an era of considerable trade protectionism.

Eric Helleiner
Eric Helleiner
The 2008 financial crisis was the worst since the Great Depression and many voices argued that it would transform global financial governance. Analysts anticipated a "Bretton Woods moment", referring to the 1944 conference that established the postwar international financial order. Widespread expectations of change were then reinforced by the creation of the G20 leaders' forum, extensive debates about the dollar's global role, the launching of international financial regulatory reforms, and the establishment of the Financial Stability Board. But half a decade later, how much has really changed? In The Status Quo Crisis, Helleiner surveys the landscape and argues that continuity has marked global financial governance more than dramatic transformation. The G20 leaders forum contributed much less to the management of the crisis than advertised. The US dollar remains unchallenged as the world's dominant international currency. The market-friendly nature of pre-crisis international financial regulation has been not overturned in a significant manner. And the Financial Stability Board has strengthened the governance of international financial standards in only very modest ways. What we are left with are some small-bore incremental changes that, collectively, have not fundamentally restructured the governance of the global financial system. Helleiner argues that this strangely conservative result was generated partly by the structural power and active policy choices of the country at the center of the crisis: the United States. Status quo outcomes also reflected the unexpected weakness of Europe and conservatism of policymakers in large emerging market countries. Only if this distinct configuration of power and politics among and within influential states shifted in the coming years might the 2008 crisis leave a more transformative legacy over the longer term. Cutting against much of the received wisdom on offer today, The Status Quo Crisis will be essential reading for those interested in the politics of global finance and for anyone curious how expectations of change can be thwarted after even in the most dire of crises.
Eric Helleiner
Most accounts explain the postwar globalization of financial markets as a product of unstoppable technological and market forces. Drawing on extensive historical research, Eric Helleiner provides the first comprehensive political history of the phenomenon, one that details and explains the central role played by states in permitting and encouraging financial globalization.

Helleiner begins by highlighting the commitment of advanced industrial states to a restrictive international financial order at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference and during the early postwar years. He then explains the growing political support for the globalization of financial markets after the late 1950s by analyzing five sets of episodes: the creation of the Euromarket in the 1960s, the rejection in the early 1970s of proposals to reregulate global financial markets, four aborted initiatives in the late 1970s and early 1980s to implement effective controls on financial movements, the extensive liberalization of capital controls in the 1980s, and the containment of international financial crises at three critical junctures in the 1970s and 1980s.

He shows that these developments resulted from various factors, including the unique hegemonic interests of the United States and Britain in finance, a competitive deregulation dynamic, ideological shifts, and the construction of a crisis-prevention regime among leading central bankers. In his conclusion Helleiner addresses the question of why states have increasingly embraced an open, liberal international financial order in an era of considerable trade protectionism.

Eric Helleiner
As an economic superpower, China has become an increasingly important player in the international monetary system. Its foreign exchange reserves are the largest in the world and its exchange rate policy has become a major subject of international economic diplomacy. The internationalization of the renminbi (RMB) raises critical questions in international policy circles: What kinds of power is China acquiring in international monetary relations? What are the priorities of the Chinese government? What explains its preferences?

In The Great Wall of Money, a distinguished group of contributors addresses these questions from distinct perspectives, revealing the extent to which China's choices, and global monetary affairs, will be shaped by internal political factors and affect world politics. The RMB is a likely competitor for the dollar in the next couple of decades; its emergence as an important international currency would have substantial effects on the balance of power between the United States and China. By illuminating the politics of China’s international monetary relations, this book provides a timely account of the global economy, the role of the renminbi in international relations, and the trajectory of China’s continuing ascendency in the coming decades.

Contributors: Gregory Chin, York University; Benjamin J. Cohen, University of California, Santa Barbara; Eric Helleiner, University of Waterloo and Balsillie School of International Affairs; Yang Jiang, Danish Institute for International Studies; Jonathan Kirshner, Cornell University; Bessma Momani, University of Waterloo and Balsillie School of International Affairs; David Steinberg, University of Oregon; Andrew Walter, University of Melbourne; Hongying Wang, University of Waterloo and Balsillie School of International Affairs

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