Financial Crisis: The United States in the Early Twenty-first Century
Call Number: HB 3722 .H46 2013
Publication Date: 2013
The 2007-2009 financial crisis caught many by surprise. When the dust began to settle, people began looking around and asking how this could have happened and why we did not see it coming. Criticism fell heavily on the economics profession because there was a feeling that the models and theories of economics had failed to properly warn and prepare us for a significant crisis. This book carefully analyses existing theories of financial crisis to determine if they are still appropriate for understanding modern financial crises. This is an important endeavour because financial crisis theory has largely been ignored for many years. Indeed, it has been almost twenty years since economists have seriously reconsidered financial crisis theory. This book fills that gap and offers insight into the current debate regarding the efficacy of economic models and theories relevant to understanding financial distress.
After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead
Call Number: HB 3717 2008 .B55 2013
Publication Date: 2013
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#151;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#151;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#151;and too unregulated for the public good#151;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 #147;bond bubble” was larger and more devastating. Some people think of the financial industry as a sideshow with little relevance to the real economy#151;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#151;and fragile#151;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#151;and certainly misunderstood#151;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.
Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays
Publication Date: 2012
The dire economic situation we find ourselves in is not a result of economic forces alone, but of the policies pursued, and not pursued, by world leaders. In this collection of his recent writings on the global financial situation, George Soros presents his views and analysis of key economic policy choices leading up to, during, and following the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Soros explores domestic and international policy choices like how to manage the (then) potential implosion of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, deploying measures to stem global contagion from the sub-prime crisis, alternative options on bailing out lesser developed countries and why this was vital, the structural problems of European economic management, and more. Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States elegantly distills the choices at hand, and takes the reader on a journey of real time economic policy work and experimentation.
Anatomy of a Financial Crisis: A Real Estate Bubble, Runaway Credit Market, and Regulatory Failure
Call Number: HB 3722 .J37 2010
Publication Date: 2010
An in-depth look at the origins and development of the current financial crisis, from an economist and Washington insider.nbsp;The author explains how a wide array of financial institutionsnbsp;-- including mortgage banks, commercial banks, and investment banks -- created a credit bubble that supported nonprime mortgage lending and helped to inflate house prices.nbsp;The near-collapse is shown to be the result of multiple regulatory failures and reckless decisions by financial firms that were less sophisticated than they appeared.nbsp; The author concludes that significant changes in financial market regulation, especially with respect to firms that are “too big to fail,” will be needed to prevent future crises and the damage they cause.nbsp;
Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy
Publication Date: 2009
Plunder and Blunder chronicles the growth and collapse of the stock and housing bubbles, explains how policy changes since 1980 laid the groundwork for catastrophic--but completely predictable--market meltdowns, and offers prescriptions for avoiding these disasters in the future. Dean Baker argues not only that competent economists should have recognized the developing housing bubble, but also that policy makers and the media cheerfully neglected those economists who did predict danger. Baker doesn't engage in 20-20 hindsight, but thoroughly documents how fundamental policy shifts destabilized the economy and eroded the broad prosperity of the post-war period. His expert analysis explains the outcomes clearly so we can prevent similar financial disasters."Dean Baker warned us what was coming. Now we can read why Dean got it right when so many experts were blind. The story is intriguing--and deeply disturbing."--William Greider, national affairs correspondent, The Nation, and author of Come Home, America
False Profits: Recovering from the Bubble Economy
Publication Date: 2011-01-15
Dean Baker, codirector of the Center for Economic and Policy Research recounts the strategies used by the country's top economic policymakers to conceal their failure to recognize the housing bubble or take steps to rein it in before it grew to unprecedented levels, resulting in the loss of millions of jobs, homes, and the life savings of tens of millions of people. He quashes dire warnings of looming rampant inflation and spiraling debt with solid historic evidence to the contrary--evidence that supports more stimulus, not less. He reveals the evolving role of the U.S. dollar in today's global economy and lays down cogent arguments about why the dollar will fall in value. With a dose of optimism, Baker outlines a thoughtful progressive program for rebuilding the economy and reshaping the financial system, including new financial transaction taxes that will reduce or eliminate economic waste while providing stimulus and incentives where and when they are most needed. "Simply the best succinct explanation of the causes, cures, dynamics, and politics of the financial crisis--an indispensible book."--Robert Kuttner, coeditor, The American Prospect
A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of '08 and the Descent into Depression
Call Number: HB 3722 .P67 2009
Publication Date: 2009
The best book describing this malaise is Richard Posner's A Failure of Capitalism. The distinctiveness of his case is that he is a prominent conservative thinker with the intellectual acuity to argue that the crisis is not to do with the traditional enemy of conservatism, big government, but is a consequence of decisions taken by private firms. The ill-effects of those decisions were worsened by deregulation of banking.
Boomer Destiny: Leading the U.S. through the Worst Crisis Since the Great Depression
Call Number: HB 3722 .O84 2009
Publication Date: 2009
The U.S. experiences a major crisis about every eighty years, and the last big crisis started more than eighty years ago. If history is any indicator, argues author Tom Osenton, we are in the very early stages of the next major crisis--one that could make the Great Depression seem like a day at the beach. The storm clouds are on the horizon: A slowing U.S. economy, major banks failing, a weakening dollar, the subprime mortgage debacle, a widening gap between the wealthy and working class, credit delinquencies and bankruptcies on the rise, infrastructure crumbling, healthcare in crisis--the list goes on and on. Baby Boomers, says Osenton, are standing precisely where FDR stood at the beginning of the Great Depression, and they are in a unique position to help pull society out of the morass and set the country on a course of growth and contentment for generations to come.
Getting off Track: How the Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Finanical Crisis
Publication Date: 2009
Throughout history, financial crises have always been caused by excesses-frequently monetary excesses-which lead to a boom and an inevitable bust. In our current crisis it was a housing boom and bust that in turn led to financial turmoil in the United States and other countries. How did everything deteriorate so suddenly and dramatically? In Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis, Hoover fellow and Stanford economist John B. Taylor offers empirical research to explain what caused the current financial crisis, what prolonged it, and what worsened it dramatically more than a year after it began. The author tells how unusually easy monetary policy helped set the crisis in motion, as interest rates at the Federal Reserve and several other central banks deviated from historical regularities. He explains monetary interaction with the subprime mortgage problem, showing how the use of these mortgages, especially the adjustable-rate variety, led to excessive risk taking. In the United States this was encouraged by government programs designed to promote home ownership, a worthwhile goal but overdone in retrospect. Looking ahead, the author suggests a set of principles to follow to prevent misguided actions and interventions in the future.
Financial Crisis in America
Publication Date: 2008
There is no precise definition of "financial crisis," but a common view is that disruptions in financial markets rise to the level of a crisis when the flow of credit to households and businesses is constrained and the real economy of goods and services is adversely affected. Since mid-2007, central bankers -- including the Federal Reserve -- have laboured to keep the downturn in U.S. subprime housing from developing into such a crisis. While subprime problems were widely anticipated, the subsequent spread of turmoil into many seemingly unrelated parts of the global financial system was not. Many losses occurring in diverse firms and markets -- often quite severe -- have features in common: the use of complex, hard-to-value financial instruments; large speculative positions underwritten by borrowed funds, or leverage; and the use of off-the-books entities to remove risky trading activities from the balance sheets of major financial institutions. It is not yet clear whether financial market problems will significantly slow the economy: many believe that the current episode is simply the downside of a normal credit cycle, that is, a natural corrective to several years of unusually easy credit conditions. On the other hand, some analysts identify market dynamics that may amplify the effects of financial shocks and have the potential to generate self-reinforcing, downward financial and economic spirals. The Federal Reserve has used its traditional tools to avert such an outcome: it has lowered short-term interest rates dramatically and injected billions of dollars into the banking system to support market liquidity and keep credit flowing. In addition, the Fed has expanded its sphere by making funds available to securities firms, which it does not regulate, and has provided funding to underwrite the rescue-through-acquisition of Bear Stearns, a leading investment bank. The duration of the current instability is in marked contrast to financial shocks of recent decades -- stock market crashes, bond market disruptions, the 9/11 attacks -- when the central bank was able to contain market problems quickly with little or no interruption of U.S. economic growth. Depending on how soon normal market conditions are restored, and at what cost, policy makers may consider whether regulators have access to adequate information about market conditions, and whether currently unregulated market participants should be subjected to disclosure and reporting requirements. In addition, the social costs of failed financial speculation may be judged great enough to warrant new restrictions designed to lower the incidence of losses that have system-wide impacts or to put the markets and the economy in a better position to weather such shocks.
The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash
Call Number: HG 4910 .M667 2008
Publication Date: 2009
Previously published as The Trillion Dollar Meltdown Now fully updated with the latest financial developments, this is the bestselling book that briefly and brilliantly explains how we got into the economic mess that is the Credit Crunch. With the housing markets unravelling daily and distress signals flying throughout the rest of the economy, there is little doubt that we are facing a fierce recession. In crisp, gripping prose, Charles R. Morris shows how got into this mess. He explains the arcane financial instruments, the chicanery, the policy misjudgments, the dogmas, and the delusions that created the greatest credit bubble in world history. Paul Volcker slew the inflation dragon in the early 1980s, and set the stage for the high performance economy of the 1980s and 1990s. But Wall Street's prosperity soon tilted into gross excess. The astronomical leverage at major banks and their hedge fund and private equity clients led to massive disruption in global markets. A quarter century of free-market zealotry that extolled asset stripping, abusive lending, and hedge fund secrecy will go down in flames with it. Continued denial and concealment could cause the crisis to stretch out for years, but financial and government leaders are still downplaying the problem. The required restructuring will be at least as painful as the very difficult period of 1979-1983. The Two Trillion-Dollar Meltdown, updated to include the latest financial developments, is indispensable to understanding how the world economy has been put on the brink.
Undue Influence: How Wall Street Elite Put the Financial System at Risk
Call Number: HG 4910 .G449 2005
Publication Date: 2004
A critical look at over 80 years of conflict, collusion, and corruption between financiers and politicians Undue Influence paints a vivid portrait of the dealings between "the few", in this case members of Congress, the banking community, and the Fed, and sheds light on how radical new deregulatory measures could be introduced by unelected officials and then foisted upon Congress in the name of progress. In the process, the background of the new financial elite is examined-because they are markedly different than their predecessors of the 1920s and 1930s. Undue Influence also brings readers up to speed on other important issues, including how the financial elite has been able to perpetuate itself, how the markets lend themselves to these special interest groups, and how it is possible that after 80 years of financial regulation and regulatory bodies the same problems of financial malfeasance and fraud still plague the markets. Charles R. Geisst (Oradell, NJ) is the author of 15 books, including Wheels of Fortune (0-471-47973-X), Deals of the Century (0-471-26397-4) and the bestsellers Wall Street: A History and 100 Years of Wall Street. Geisst has taught both political science and finance, worked in banking and finance on Wall Street and in London, as well as consulted. His articles have been published in the International Herald Tribune, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Newsday, Wall Street Journal, and Euromoney.
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
Call Number: HC 106.83 .L5 2011
Publication Date: 2011
The real story of the crash began in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn't shine and the SEC doesn't dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can't pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren't talking.Michael Lewis creates a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 bestseller Liar's Poker. Out of a handful of unlikely-really unlikely-heroes, Lewis fashions a story as compelling and unusual as any of his earlier bestsellers, proving yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our time.
The Contemporary Global Economy: A History Since 1980
Publication Date: 2011
The Contemporary Global Economy provides a lively overview of recent turbulence in the world economy, focusing on the dynamics of globalization since the 1980s. It explains the main drivers of economic change and how we are able to discern their effects in the world today. A lucid and balanced survey, based on extensive research in data and documents, accessible to the non-specialist Written by a renowned specialist in international economic relations with academic and government credentials Offers clear and engaging explanations of the main motors of economic change and how we are able to discern their effects in the world today The author assumes little knowledge of economic theory or financial markets Identifies the challenges for sustainable recovery and economic growth in the years ahead
What Caused the Financial Crisis
The deflation of the subprime mortgage bubble in 2006-7 is widely agreed to have been the immediate cause of the collapse of the financial sector in 2008. Consequently, one might think that uncovering the origins of subprime lending would make the root causes of the crisis obvious. That is essentially where public debate about the causes of the crisis began--and ended--in the month following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the 502-point fall in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in mid-September 2008. However, the subprime housing bubble is just one piece of the puzzle. Asset bubbles inflate and burst frequently, but severe worldwide recessions are rare. What was different this time? In What Caused the Financial Crisis leading economists and scholars delve into the major causes of the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression and, together, present a comprehensive picture of the factors that led to it. One essay examines the role of government regulation in expanding home ownership through mortgage subsidies for impoverished borrowers, encouraging the subprime housing bubble. Another explores how banks were able to securitize mortgages by manipulating criteria used for bond ratings. How this led to inaccurate risk assessments that could not be covered by sufficient capital reserves mandated under the Basel accords is made clear in a third essay. Other essays identify monetary policy in the United States and Europe, corporate pay structures, credit-default swaps, banks' leverage, and financial deregulation as possible causes of the crisis. With contributions from Richard A. Posner, Vernon L. Smith, Joseph E. Stiglitz, and John B. Taylor, among others, What Caused the Financial Crisis provides a cogent, comprehensive, and credible explanation of why the crisis happened. It will be an essential resource for scholars and students of finance, economics, history, law, political science, and sociology, as well as others interested in the financial crisis and the nature of modern capitalism and regulation.
All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis
Call Number: HB 3717 2008 .M35 2010
Publication Date: 2010
"Hell is empty, and all the devils are here." -Shakespeare, The Tempest As soon as the financial crisis erupted, the finger-pointing began. Should the blame fall on Wall Street, Main Street, or Pennsylvania Avenue? On greedy traders, misguided regulators, sleazy subprime companies, cowardly legislators, or clueless home buyers? According to Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, two of America's most acclaimed business journalists, the real answer is all of the above-and more. Many devils helped bring hell to the economy. And the full story, in all of its complexity and detail, is like the legend of the blind men and the elephant. Almost everyone has missed the big picture. Almost no one has put all the pieces together. All the Devils Are Here goes back several decades to weave the hidden history of the financial crisis in a way no previous book has done. It explores the motivations of everyone from famous CEOs, cabinet secretaries, and politicians to anonymous lenders, borrowers, analysts, and Wall Street traders. It delves into the powerful American mythology of homeownership. And it proves that the crisis ultimately wasn't about finance at all; it was about human nature. Among the devils you'll meet in vivid detail: * Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide, who dreamed of spreading homeownership to the masses, only to succumb to the peer pressure-and the outsized profits-of the sleaziest subprime lending. * Roland Arnall, a respected philanthropist and diplomat, who made his fortune building Ameriquest, a subprime lending empire that relied on blatantly deceptive lending practices. * Hank Greenberg, who built AIG into a Rube Goldberg contraption with an undeserved triple-A rating, and who ran it so tightly that he was the only one who knew where all the bodies were buried. * Stan O'Neal of Merrill Lynch, aloof and suspicious, who suffered from "Goldman envy" and drove a proud old firm into the ground by promoting cronies and pushing out his smartest lieutenants. * Lloyd Blankfein, who helped turn Goldman Sachs from a culture that famously put clients first to one that made clients secondary to its own bottom line. * Franklin Raines of Fannie Mae, who (like his predecessors) bullied regulators into submission and let his firm drift away from its original, noble mission. * Brian Clarkson of Moody's, who aggressively pushed to increase his rating agency's market share and stock price, at the cost of its integrity. * Alan Greenspan, the legendary maestro of the Federal Reserve, who ignored the evidence of a growing housing bubble and turned a blind eye to the lending practices that ultimately brought down Wall Street-and inflicted enormous pain on the country. Just as McLean's The Smartest Guys in the Room was hailed as the best Enron book on a crowded shelf, so will All the Devils Are Here be remembered for finally making sense of the meltdown and its consequences.