How A Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World

Book - 2018
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Looks at the ways that current dramatic shifts in the domestic and global economy have their roots in the 2008 economic crisis and its aftermath, exploring novel themes in the way the crisis has played out for the past decade and will influence the future.
Publisher: New York, New York :, Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC,, [2018]
ISBN: 9780670024933
Branch Call Number: 332.042 Tooze
Characteristics: xii, 706 pages :,illustrations ;,25 cm


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Aug 28, 2018

the lessons of 1914 seem particularly pertinent. . .for thinking about the kind of historical problem that the financial crisis of 2008 represents.

Aug 28, 2018

Of course, we can peer only dimly into the future. So what might we learn by looking into the past?

Aug 27, 2018

Chapter 24 "Trump"

On July 21, 2016, a burly figure strode across a stage dressed seemingly to inspire memories of Captain America, Citizen Kane or a 1930s fascist rally.

Aug 27, 2018

The paradoxical effect of the European Central Bank's 'liberating' move to QE was that it allowed [European creditors' Greek] extend-and-pretend and its concomitant, relentless austerity, to continue.

Aug 25, 2018

"The system isn't broken, it's rigged." . . . It was precisely the conversion of commentators of [the liberal center] to a more radical view that marked how serious the sense of crisis had become.

Aug 21, 2018

.. .Dodd-Frank [contained] sensible and worthwhile measures . . . .but in general they had little to do with the implosion of the wholesale-funded shadow banking system that actually brought down the house in 2008.

Aug 21, 2018

The stress tests. . .placed a seal of official approval on profit-driven private business activity. . . .For the largest eighteen US banks, this implied an ANNUAL subsidy of at least $34 billion.

Aug 20, 2018

in the spring of 2009. . .the historical memory that was most alive in the Obama administration was NOT that of FDR or JFK, but that of the last "Democratic" administration, under Bill Clinton in the 1990s. . . .

In the face of the crisis, the "Democrats" would prove themselves not as 'bold' or 'imaginative,' but as sound MANAGERS of the economy whose task it was to put right another era of Republican misrule.

Aug 20, 2018

As the G20 leaders assembled that afternoon [April 1, 2009] in Buckingham Palace, it was a freak show of outsized personalities.

Aug 19, 2018

when the Chinese looked to the United States, what they saw was not capitalist democracy, but "socialism with American characteristics."

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Jan 03, 2019

his suggestion about a similarity between 1914 and 2008 is troubling, particularly with a Trump presidency

Dec 04, 2018

Crashed is a history of the present. This is by far the best book available on the 2008 banking meltdown and its international ramifications over the decade since then. Tooze combines a journalist’s eye for detail with his historian’s ability to understand the larger significance of the patterns of the crises and the governmental responses to it. The book is truly international in its breadth and while it focuses on European, Chinese, British and American roles, it includes shorter analysis of smaller countries and emerging markets. Surprisingly the heroes of the story are the U.S. government elites who basically refloated the entire system by making dollars easily available across the globe and the Chinese whose massive Keynesian investments carried much of the globe with it. Tooze sees that the alternative of a complete collapse would have inflicted such pain as to be unfathomable.

Tooze is a left critic who understands the system creates the grotesque inequalities that Piketty has explained. Crashed makes strong arguments correlating globalization of markets and finance and the growing political polarization across the world, the rise of right wing populism and right wing governments as well as a growing left. Tooze doesn’t focus on personality (Trump is hardly mentioned until the penultimate chapter), but on structural and systemic pressures.

A large question is left dangling at the book's end. As Tooze argues that the repercussions of the 2008 crises continue to roil the world's economic markets and political stability, it appears that while the immediate disastrous threats of the crash were averted, the contradictions leading to the crash were not resolved. With corporate, personal and governmental debts again inflating quickly, are we due for round two?

Nov 20, 2018

if you're a liberal you'll love this book

a conservative you'll hate it

if you hate both parties please don't waste your time reading it like I did

Nov 15, 2018

Oh wow, yet another compendium of the official news stories of the day, packaged as a topical historical text, simply missing a bunch of really important stuff, of course! The discerning reader will not be any better informed after investing their time in reading this 616-page book.
It's like studying automotive mechanics and skipping a whole bunch of the sections on the internal combustion engine, electric engines and motors, ignition systems, universal joint, braking and fuel systems and on-board digital electronics, et cetera, et cetera!
The author gives us NO adequate explanation of the Credit Default Swap - - that grand insurance swindle instrument. He doesn't cover MERS [Mortgage Electronic Reporting System] nor any mention of the Markit Group and the perfect criminal synergy between the two of them!?
No mention of how unlimited, but never paid, commodity futures purchases fueled perfectly controlled, targeted and executed speculation strategies. Not any explanation of why it was important for credit derivatives to be included in the WTO's Financial Services Agreement, et cetera!
Nothing on the details nor mechanics of PSAs of securitization - - and how they were universally and legally violated!
No mention of Citigroups' LIQUIDITY PUTS and how many billions of dollars the government paid out on them. [Money-back guarantees to investors in Citi's crap CDOs - - i.e., high-risk investments with all the risk removed, instead shifting all financial burden onto the taxpayers - - the absolute word on ultra-socialism for the super-rich! ! ! [Not a mention of the FCIC nor Brooksley Born?????]
And the author is SERIOUSLY WRONG when he stated that the first securitization in America occurred back in 1970 [the author is an historian, not a forensic finance guy, so he is just repeating what he's read] - - the first occurred back in 1907, and really, really exploded during the Roaring '20s, leading up to the Great Crash and Great Depression - - only that time it was the securitization of stocks, whereas this time it was the securitization of bonds.
No serious explanation of the typical two-step process of political theater: President Clinton signs all the legislation required to end the New Deal, while President Bush kills all the oversight at the SEC, Dept. of Treasury and DoJ, thus implementing what Clinton signed into law, while passing a bankruptcy bill destroying the futures of countless college students and grads and privatizing eminent domain, et cetera!
The process of allowing unrelated investors to buy an unlimited number of CDSes [credit default swaps] against a corporation or bond issue - - an act in and of itself which speculates those targets downwards while also having the potential to purchase an unlimited [and unpaid-for] number of commodity futures against something, thus driving up their prices/valuations and providing the ability of vast market manipulation, allows for mind-boggling instruments of extraordinary financial power, not readily available to the 90 percent!
The author appears to love quoting Paul Krugman, yet it was Krugman and Larry Summers who are members of the Group of Thirty which urged the widespread adoption of credit derivatives [CDS, CDO, ABS, et cetera] while REMOVING LEGAL RISK which allowed for and led up to the largest wealth transfer in human history: between $23 trillion to $27 trillion between 2007 to 2010 from the 90 percent to the highest 10 percent, especially the top 1 and .01 percent groups!
How sweet it is . . . . . . . for the super-rich!

Oct 20, 2018

this book feels nearly as long, 616 pages, as the ten years it talks about, from 2008 to now, and the road isn't at all easy, nor pleasant, acronyms abound, AIG, CDO, ECB, MOUSE, come up like road bumps, gravel, on an equally confounding bankers' jargon, economists' talk, that doesn't let up until the very last chapter, where it tells us where we're at with considerable insight, but should you manage it, some sense is made out of our present historical predicament, the clash between globalism and populism, the revolution, for better or for worse, we are presently living out

NFreaderNWPL Oct 13, 2018

While this book goes into a *lot* of detail about global finance, the overall arc is well-worth taking in. It helps somewhat to look up the meaning of a few global finance terms as you go, (e.g. "haircut.") But it is also possible to follow the overall argument without hammering out all the details. The big takeaway has to do with the way the actions of individual political leaders can have outsize consequences (as in the case of Greece and Angela Merkel) but at other times leaders find themselves severely hemmed in by the complexity of intertwined systems. Entanglements between different countries, for example through banking arrangements or trade, mean that politicians and senior bureaucrats have to be ready to act quickly but also know how to achieve cooperative solutions. This is a highly illuminating - if nerve-wracking - history of the present.

Aug 09, 2018

One of the great virtues of this bravura work of economic history is how much attention it devotes to issues of power. "Who was hurt? Who was included in the circle of those who needed to be protected? And who was not?"

Neoliberal centrists, in their bid to paper over such fundamental political questions with technical solutions, inadvertently provided the answer.

Incremental tweaking did little to address the grief and suffering caused by the crisis, making political power MORE visible. By laying bare who would be sacrificed when the tide went out, they left a ragged hole for the likes of Trump and Bannon to walk through.

Part of Tooze's argument is that technical know-how can be useful. He depicts Timothy Geithner as a technocrat 'ne plus ultra.'

What Geithner didn't do, though, was nationalize or break up the too-big-to-fail banks, or pay much heed to struggling homeowners. Instead, he invested the regulatory bureaucracy with greater powers of oversight.

This apparently satisfied Obama, whose administration is described as an embodiment of "American corporate liberalism." "Rather than seeking to mobilize the indignation simmering in American society," the Obama administration sought to tamp it down, offering one beaucratic fix after another.

But at least Obama took seriously his responsibility to govern, unlike the Republicans, portrayed here as gifted obstructionists "incapable of legislation or cooperating effectively."

"Crashed" details how Republican administrations had abandoned fiscal responsibility long before, bloating the deficit with pumped-up military spending and protracted, expensive wars, while leaving it to their Democratic successors to clean up the mess.

Finally, Tooze emphasizes the 'aftershocks.' Even after the acute stress on the financial system had been relieved, the world still had the misery of millions of struggling households to deal with. To this day - as comments here attest - the economic and political scars have not healed.


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