Tag: financial crisis

The G20 Leaders Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy took place on November 14–15, 2008, in Washington DC. Many commentators dubbed this meeting ‘Bretton Woods II’. Bretton Woods – Mark I was a meeting in the summer of 1944 that set out the foundations for the post World War II economic order. It set up a system of semi-fixed exchange rates and led to the establishment of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Bretton Woods Mark II was perhaps less historically significant, but the world leaders agreed a plan to boost the world economy through tax cuts, higher public expenditure and lower interest rates; something Lord Keynes, the principal negotiator for the UK at Bretton Woods Mark I, would have wholeheartedly approved of!

G20 to back global tax cuts Times Online (16/11/08)
This week, our leaders have a chance to make the world anew Guardian (9/11/08)
A dangerous free-for-all Guardian (11/11/08)
Bretton Woods II – five key points on the road to a new global financial deal Guardian (14/11/08)
G20 summit: ‘The world economy is broken and they need to reflate’ Guardian (14/11/08) Podcast
Doubts raised over prospects of success for ‘hasty summit’ Guardian (15/11/08)
Our chance for a working regulatory regime Guardian (15/11/08)

Questions

  1. Write a short paragraph summarising the outcomes of Bretton Woods II.
  2. Assess the extent to which the fiscal and monetary stimulus agreed by the G20 leaders will be successful at minimising the depth of the global recession.
  3. Discuss the need for regulatory reform of the world financial system (as considered at Bretton Woods II).
  4. The G20 “signalled a determination to press on with the completion of the Doha world trade round”. Assess the extent towhich this is likely to be successful.

The current financial crisis has led many to wonder whether this may mark the ‘death of capitalism’. While this may almost certainly be an over-statement, it may mark a fundamental sea change in the way in which we oversee and manage a capitalist system. The articles below look at some of the implication of this possible change in approach.

Positive thinking Guardian (18/10/08)
A category error Guardian (10/10/08)
History can guide, yet there are new limits of the possible Guardian (10/10/08)
I’ve watched the economy for 30 years. Now I’m truly scared Guardian (28/10/08)
The new New Dealers Guardian (26/9/08)
Europe and America in the shadows as a new era dawns Telegraph (26/10/08)

Questions

1. Explain what is meant by a capitalist system of economic organisation.
2. Assess the extent to which a ‘soft-touch’ regulatory approach can be blamed for the current financial crisis.
3. Discuss the extent to which greater levels of government intervention and economic regulation are likely to result from the current financial crisis.
4. Are we witnessing the death of capitalism?

“‘Capitalism,’ Schumpeter wrote, ‘is by nature a form or method of economic change and not only never is but never can be stationary … This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism”. In the article below William Keegan looks at this process of creative destruction and relates it to the current financial crisis and the downturn in the business cycle.

Moral hazard? It’s just another danger along the capitalist way Guardian (5/10/08)
Time To Drop The Baggage That Comes With Moral Hazard Financial Times (4/10/08)

Questions

1. Explain what is meant by the term ‘Creative Destruction’.
2. Explain what is meant by the term ‘Moral Hazard’.
3. “In theory, enlightened economic policies can moderate the workings of the business cycle”. Discuss possible policies that can moderate the workings of the business cycle.
4. Discuss the extent to which the recent economic boom was an ‘asset-price boom’ rather than a ‘traditional one’.

The recent credit crunch has resulted in a lot of criticism of the banks and other financial institutions. Many commentators have argued for reforms to the financial system with greater controls on lending and restrictions on banks’ ability to create credit. The articles below have a common theme – assessing the actions that politicians and policy makers need to consider as a result of the recent credit crunch.

After excess comes fear – and then socialism, at least for the bankers Guardian (23/3/08)
Capitalism’s too important to be left to capitalists Observer (23/3/08)
If the City won’t put its house in order, politicians must Observer (23/3/08)

Podcast

How to stop the market mayhem Guardian (19/3/08)

Questions

1. Explain what is meant by the ‘liberalisation of financial markets’.
2. “If the City won’t put its house in order, the politicians must”. Examine the validity of Will Hutton’s argument.
3. Discuss the extent to which the freedom of banks to lend has been the cause of the recent credit crunch.