The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned--and Have Still to Learn--from the Financial Crisis

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From the chief economic commentator for the Financial Times—a brilliant tour d’horizon of the new global economy
 
There have been many books that have sought to explain the causes and courses of the financial and economic crisis that began in 2007. The Shifts and the Shocks is not another detailed history of the crisis but is the most persuasive and complete account yet published of what the crisis should teach us about modern economies and econom­ics. Written with all the intellectual command and trenchant judgment that have made Martin Wolf one of the world’s most influential economic com­mentators, The Shifts and the Shocks matches impressive analysis with no-holds-barred criti­cism and persuasive prescription for a more stable future. It is a book no one with an interest in global affairs will want to neglect.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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About the author

Martin Wolf is the associate editor and chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, London. He is the recipient of many awards for financial journalism, for which he was also made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2000. His previous books include Fixing Global Finance andWhy Globalization Works.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Sep 11, 2014
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Pages
528
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ISBN
9781101608449
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / Macroeconomics
Business & Economics / International / Economics
Political Science / Political Economy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Barry Eichengreen
The two great financial crises of the past century are the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Recession, which began in 2008. Both occurred against the backdrop of sharp credit booms, dubious banking practices, and a fragile and unstable global financial system. When markets went into cardiac arrest in 2008, policymakers invoked the lessons of the Great Depression in attempting to avert the worst. While their response prevented a financial collapse and catastrophic depression like that of the 1930s, unemployment in the U.S. and Europe still rose to excruciating high levels. Pain and suffering were widespread. The question, given this, is why didn't policymakers do better? Hall of Mirrors, Barry Eichengreen's monumental twinned history of the two crises, provides the farthest-reaching answer to this question to date. Alternating back and forth between the two crises and between North America and Europe, Eichengreen shows how fear of another Depression following the collapse of Lehman Brothers shaped policy responses on both continents, with both positive and negative results. Since bank failures were a prominent feature of the Great Depression, policymakers moved quickly to strengthen troubled banks. But because derivatives markets were not important in the 1930s, they missed problems in the so-called shadow banking system. Having done too little to support spending in the 1930s, governments also ramped up public spending this time around. But the response was indiscriminate and quickly came back to haunt overly indebted governments, particularly in Southern Europe. Moreover, because politicians overpromised, and because their measures failed to stave off a major recession, a backlash quickly developed against activist governments and central banks. Policymakers then prematurely succumbed to the temptation to return to normal policies before normal conditions had returned. The result has been a grindingly slow recovery in the United States and endless recession in Europe. Hall of Mirrors is both a major work of economic history and an essential exploration of how we avoided making only some of the same mistakes twice. It shows not just how the "lessons" of Great Depression history continue to shape society's response to contemporary economic problems, but also how the experience of the Great Recession will permanently change how we think about the Great Depression.
Alan S. Blinder
New York Times Bestseller

One of our wisest and most clear-eyed economic thinkers offers a masterful narrative of the crisis and its lessons.

Many fine books on the financial crisis were first drafts of history—books written to fill the need for immediate understanding. Alan S. Blinder, esteemed Princeton professor, Wall Street Journal columnist, and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, held off, taking the time to understand the crisis and to think his way through to a truly comprehensive and coherent narrative of how the worst economic crisis in postwar American history happened, what the government did to fight it, and what we can do from here—mired as we still are in its wreckage.

With bracing clarity, Blinder shows us how the U.S. financial system, which had grown far too complex for its own good—and too unregulated for the public good—experienced a perfect storm beginning in 2007. Things started unraveling when the much-chronicled housing bubble burst, but the ensuing implosion of what Blinder calls the “bond bubble” was larger and more devastating. Some people think of the financial industry as a sideshow with little relevance to the real economy—where the jobs, factories, and shops are. But finance is more like the circulatory system of the economic body: if the blood stops flowing, the body goes into cardiac arrest. When America’s financial structure crumbled, the damage proved to be not only deep, but wide. It took the crisis for the world to discover, to its horror, just how truly interconnected—and fragile—the global financial system is. Some observers argue that large global forces were the major culprits of the crisis. Blinder disagrees, arguing that the problem started in the U.S. and was pushed abroad, as complex, opaque, and overrated investment products were exported to a hungry world, which was nearly poisoned by them.

The second part of the story explains how American and international government intervention kept us from a total meltdown. Many of the U.S. government’s actions, particularly the Fed’s, were previously unimaginable. And to an amazing—and certainly misunderstood—extent, they worked. The worst did not happen. Blinder offers clear-eyed answers to the questions still before us, even if some of the choices ahead are as divisive as they are unavoidable. After the Music Stopped is an essential history that we cannot afford to forget, because one thing history teaches is that it will happen again.
Bretislav Friedrich
This book is open access under a CC BY-NC 2.5 license.

On April 22, 1915, the German military released 150 tons of chlorine gas at Ypres, Belgium. Carried by a long-awaited wind, the chlorine cloud passed within a few minutes through the British and French trenches, leaving behind at least 1,000 dead and 4,000 injured. This chemical attack, which amounted to the first use of a weapon of mass destruction, marks a turning point in world history. The preparation as well as the execution of the gas attack was orchestrated by Fritz Haber, the director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry in Berlin-Dahlem. During World War I, Haber transformed his research institute into a center for the development of chemical weapons (and of the means of protection against them).

Bretislav Friedrich and Martin Wolf (Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, the successor institution of Haber’s institute) together with Dieter Hoffmann, Jürgen Renn, and Florian Schmaltz (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science) organized an international symposium to commemorate the centenary of the infamous chemical attack. The symposium examined crucial facets of chemical warfare from the first research on and deployment of chemical weapons in WWI to the development and use of chemical warfare during the century hence. The focus was on scientific, ethical, legal, and political issues of chemical weapons research and deployment — including the issue of dual use — as well as the ongoing effort to control the possession of chemical weapons and to ultimately achieve their elimination.

The volume consists of papers presented at the symposium and supplemented by additional articles that together cover key aspects of chemical warfare from 22 April 1915 until the summer of 2015.

Martin Wolf
Fachbuch aus dem Jahr 2013 im Fachbereich Jura - Steuerrecht, , Sprache: Deutsch, Abstract: Ein Blick in die Unternehmensstatistik liefert den eindeutigen Beweis: Das wirtschaftliche Rückgrat der Bundesrepublik Deutschland – als viertgrößte Volkswirtschaft der Welt – bilden nicht etwa international agierende Dax-Konzerne, sondern der klassische Mittelstand. Er erwirtschaftet 39,1% aller Umsätze, beschäftigt 60,8% aller sozialversicherungspflichtigen Angestellten, schafft 83,1% aller Ausbildungsplätze in Deutschland und ist insbesondere geprägt durch die Rechtsform des Einzelunternehmens. Neben dem operativen Geschäft des Einzelunternehmens stehen vielfach die etablierten betriebswirtschaftlichen Disziplinen wie Controlling, Finanzierung, Marketing oder Einkauf im Mittelpunkt des unternehmerischen Interesses. Ein spezifischer Planungsbereich wird unterdessen häufig weniger professionell behandelt, obwohl er langfristig eine der größten Herausforderungen für den Unternehmer darstellt: die rechtzeitige und konzeptionell sinnvolle Gestaltung der Unternehmensnachfolge. Besonders bei Einzelunternehmen, die durch die Bündelung von Eigentum und Leitung geprägt sind, gilt es, für den Fall des Rückzuges oder Ablebens ihres Eigentümers, den geeigneten Übergang des Unternehmensvermögens auf die nächste Generation zu gestalten und dadurch die Kontinuität des Unternehmens zu sichern. Die wirtschaftliche Bedeutung dieser Problematik zeigt sich eindrucksvoll an einer Schätzung des Instituts für Mittelstandsforschung Bonn, laut der für den Zeitraum 2010 bis 2014 rund 110.000 eigentümergeführte Unternehmen vor der Herausforderung stehen, eine Unternehmensnachfolge erfolgreich zu vollziehen. Dies entspricht einer Anzahl von ca. 22.000 Unternehmensübertragungen jährlich. [...]
馬丁.沃夫/Martin Wolf
後海嘯時代,當危機成為常態,
唯有確實數算金融經濟體系的確知與未知,
才能安然挺過下一波瘋狗浪。

自1980年起,世界經歷了六次具全球意義的金融危機:1980年代初的拉丁美洲債務危機;1990年代的日本危機;1994年以墨西哥為中心的龍舌蘭危機,拉丁美洲許多地區也受到波及;1997至1999年的東亞危機;2007至2009年的全球金融危機;以及2010至2013年的歐元區金融危機。

這六次危機,地區和原因或許不盡相同,卻儼然自成一股不可挽回的頹勢:不但一次比一次嚴重,衝擊也愈來愈全球化;最近兩次危機甚至危及世界經濟體系的核心,甚至影響將近一半的全球經濟產出。

金融海嘯爆發已經超過七年,危機遠去了嗎?沒有人敢確定。危機會再來嗎?很可惜,答案是肯定的。我們仍然不能掉以輕心。

下一次危機再來,就是毀滅的大火!

世界歷經六次危機金融之後,我們終於醒悟,在全球化及自由化的架構下,當前的金融體系,脆弱是本質,危機屬內生。而看似有效化解危機的方法,尤其是財政寬鬆和信貸擴張,其實都深化了金融長期的脆弱性。

這一切是怎麼發生的?我們要如何跳脫惡性循環的陷阱?當前,世界經濟前景仍不確定,全球金融秩序仍不穩定,全球首屈一指的經濟評論家馬丁‧沃夫寫作本書,做為下一次全球經濟危機的備忘錄,也是我們在渾沌中思考來路、展望出路的必讀之作。

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