The financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 is the most alarming of our lifetime because of the warp-speed at which it is occurring. How could it have happened, especially after all that we've learned from the Great Depression? Why wasn't it anticipated so that remedial steps could be taken to avoid or mitigate it? What can be done to reverse a slide into a full-blown depression? Why have the responses to date of the government and the economics profession been so lackluster? Richard Posner presents a concise and non-technical examination of this mother of all financial disasters and of the, as yet, stumbling efforts to cope with it. No previous acquaintance on the part of the reader with macroeconomics or the theory of finance is presupposed. This is a book for intelligent generalists that will interest specialists as well.
Among the facts and causes Posner identifies are: excess savings flowing in from Asia and the reckless lowering of interest rates by the Federal Reserve Board; the relation between executive compensation, short-term profit goals, and risky lending; the housing bubble fuelled by low interest rates, aggressive mortgage marketing, and loose regulations; the low savings rate of American people; and the highly leveraged balance sheets of large financial institutions.
Posner analyzes the two basic remedial approaches to the crisis, which correspond to the two theories of the cause of the Great Depression: the monetarist--that the Federal Reserve Board allowed the money supply to shrink, thus failing to prevent a disastrous deflation--and the Keynesian--that the depression was the product of a credit binge in the 1920's, a stock-market crash, and the ensuing downward spiral in economic activity. Posner concludes that the pendulum swung too far and that our financial markets need to be more heavily regulated. Read Richard Posner's blog, and his latest article in The Atlantic.
A clear, authoritative guide to the crisis of 2008, its continuing repercussions, and the needed reforms ahead.
The U.S. economy lost the first decade of the twenty-first century to an ill-conceived boom and subsequent bust. It is in danger of losing another decade to the stagnation of an incomplete recovery. How did this happen? Read this lucid explanation of the origins and long-term effects of the recent financial crisis, drawn in historical and comparative perspective by two leading political economists.
By 2008 the United States had become the biggest international borrower in world history, with more than two-thirds of its $6 trillion federal debt in foreign hands. The proportion of foreign loans to the size of the economy put the United States in league with Mexico, Indonesia, and other third-world debtor nations. The massive inflow of foreign funds financed the booms in housing prices and consumer spending that fueled the economy until the collapse of late 2008. This was the most serious international economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Menzie Chinn and Jeffry Frieden explain the political and economic roots of this crisis as well as its long-term effects. They explore the political strategies behind the Bush administration’s policy of funding massive deficits with foreign borrowing. They show that the crisis was foreseen by many and was avoidable through appropriate policy measures. They examine the continuing impact of our huge debt on the continuing slow recovery from the recession. Lost Decades will long be regarded as the standard account of the crisis and its aftermath.
Now completely revised in paperback, "The Housing Boom and Bust" is designed to unravel the tangled threads of that story. It also attempts to determine whether what is being done to deal with the problem is more likely to make things better or worse.
Renowned economist Nouriel Roubini electrified his profession and the larger financial community by predicting the current crisis well in advance of anyone else. Unlike most in his profession who treat economic disasters as freakish once-in-a-lifetime events without clear cause, Roubini, after decades of careful research around the world, realized that they were both probable and predictable. Armed with an unconventional blend of historical analysis and global economics, Roubini has forced politicians, policy makers, investors, and market watchers to face a long-neglected truth: financial systems are inherently fragile and prone to collapse.
Drawing on the parallels from many countries and centuries, Nouriel Roubini and Stephen Mihm, a professor of economic history and a New York Times Magazine writer, show that financial cataclysms are as old and as ubiquitous as capitalism itself. The last two decades alone have witnessed comparable crises in countries as diverse as Mexico, Thailand, Brazil, Pakistan, and Argentina. All of these crises-not to mention the more sweeping cataclysms such as the Great Depression-have much in common with the current downturn. Bringing lessons of earlier episodes to bear on our present predicament, Roubini and Mihm show how we can recognize and grapple with the inherent instability of the global financial system, understand its pressure points, learn from previous episodes of "irrational exuberance," pinpoint the course of global contagion, and plan for our immediate future. Perhaps most important, the authors-considering theories, statistics, and mathematical models with the skepticism that recent history warrants—explain how the world's economy can get out of the mess we're in, and stay out.
In Roubini's shadow, economists and investors are increasingly realizing that they can no longer afford to consider crises the black swans of financial history. A vital and timeless book, Crisis Economics proves calamities to be not only predictable but also preventable and, with the right medicine, curable.
Successful home ownership requires the availability of appropriate mortgage products. In the years leading up to the collapse of the housing market, home buyers frequently accepted mortgages that were not only wrong for them but catastrophic for the economy as a whole. When the housing market bubble burst, so did a cornerstone of the American dream for many families. Restoring the promise of this dream requires an unflinching inspection of lending institutions and the right tools to repair the structures that support solid home purchases. The American Mortgage System: Crisis and Reform focuses on the causes of the housing market collapse and proposes solutions to prevent another rash of foreclosures.
Edited by two leaders in the field of real estate and finance, Susan M. Wachter and Marvin M. Smith, The American Mortgage System examines key elements of the mortgage meltdown. The volume's contributors address the influence of the Community Reinvestment Act, which is often blamed for the crisis. They uncover how the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac invested outside the housing market with disastrous results. They present surprising information about low-income borrowers and the strengths of local banks. This collection of thoughtful studies includes extensive analysis of loan practices and the creation of unstable mortgage securities, presenting data largely unavailable until now. More than a critique, The American Mortgage System offers solutions to the problems facing the future of American home ownership, including identifying asset price bubbles, calculating risk, and preventing discrimination in lending.
Measured yet timely and by turns provocative, The American Mortgage System provides a careful assessment of a troubled but indispensable part of the economic and social structure of the United States. This book is a sound investment for economists, urban planners, and all who shape public policy.
The genuine prosperity of the preceding two decades slowly morphed into a false sense of wealth, brought about by excessive dependence on credit by both the public and private sector. When the credit bubble burst, the economy collapsed. In short, policy makers dismissed sound classical economics and instead relied on the false promise of Keynesianism, the theory that the government itself can generate prosperity through easy credit and heavy government spending.
Offering enlightening answers in an uncertain time, The Great Money Binge not only traces the failures of Keynesian policies and past administrations, but outlines a clear, authoritative solution: a return to supply-side economics and a rejection of the trendy but ultimately disastrous stimulus packages, which only lead to a new era of inflation and global depression.
Uncontrolled Risk: Lessons of Lehman Brothers and How Systemic Risk Can Still Bring Down the World Financial System
Why was Lehman ignored when everyone else was bailed out?
A risk advisor for top financial institutions and top B-school professor, Mark Williams explains how uncontrolled risk toppled a 158-year-old institution, using this story as a microcosm to illuminate the interconnection of the global financial system, as well as broader policy implications.
This story is told through the eyes of an experienced risk manager and educator in a detailed and engaging way and provides the reader with a complete summary of how a savvy company with sophisticated employees and systems could have gotten it so wrong.
The financial collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008 led to one of the most sweeping government interventions in private financial markets in history. The bailout has already cost American taxpayers close to $150 billion, and substantially more will be needed. The U.S. economy--and by extension, the global financial system--has a lot riding on Fannie and Freddie. They cannot fail, yet that is precisely what these mortgage giants are guaranteed to do. How can we limit the damage to our economy, and avoid making the same mistakes in the future?
Guaranteed to Fail explains how poorly designed government guarantees for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac led to the debacle of mortgage finance in the United States, weighs different reform proposals, and provides sensible, practical recommendations. Despite repeated calls for tougher action, Washington has expanded the scope of its guarantees to Fannie and Freddie, fueling more and more housing and mortgages all across the economy--and putting all of us at risk. This book unravels the dizzyingly immense, highly interconnected businesses of Fannie and Freddie. It proposes a unique model of reform that emphasizes public-private partnership, one that can serve as a blueprint for better organizing and managing government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In doing so, Guaranteed to Fail strikes a cautionary note about excessive government intervention in markets.