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The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead

by Alan S. Blinder

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1594205309
Publisher: Penguin Press

An experienced economist explains the global financial crisis that began in 2008 and continues.

Blinder (Economics and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) has accumulated real-world experience in the political realm of finance as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve board of governors and on President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers. Noting that numerous books have already chronicled the origins and impacts of the crisis, Blinder suggests that his is unique for a few reasons: It is the most comprehensive so far, is less of a whodunit and more of a "why did they do it,” emphasizes public policymaking over arcane financial dealings and looks to the future. After explaining the genesis of the crisis, Blinder analyzes the responses by policymakers. In the United States, the policymaking yielded a paradox: financial markets left to police themselves after ill-advised, ideologically based government deregulation needed previously unwelcome intervention to avert complete calamity. But then public opinion seemed to view the federal government as villainous. Blinder does not portray government decision-makers as heroic, but he demonstrates that without their energetic intervention, far more institutions would have collapsed, more homes would have been foreclosed on, and more jobs would have been eliminated. Throughout the book, the author explains nuances unexamined or underexamined in the large number of previous books appearing since 2008.

A clearheaded analysis with a final section suggesting that lessons learned from the crisis are already being ignored.