The Leaderless Economy: Why the World Economic System Fell Apart and How to Fix It

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9780691157436: The Leaderless Economy: Why the World Economic System Fell Apart and How to Fix It


The Leaderless Economy reveals why international financial cooperation is the only solution to today's global economic crisis. In this timely and important book, Peter Temin and David Vines argue that our current predicament is a catastrophe rivaled only by the Great Depression. Taking an in-depth look at the history of both, they explain what went wrong and why, and demonstrate why international leadership is needed to restore prosperity and prevent future crises.


Temin and Vines argue that the financial collapse of the 1930s was an "end-of-regime crisis" in which the economic leader of the nineteenth century, Great Britain, found itself unable to stem international panic as countries abandoned the gold standard. They trace how John Maynard Keynes struggled for years to identify the causes of the Great Depression, and draw valuable lessons from his intellectual journey. Today we are in the midst of a similar crisis, one in which the regime that led the world economy in the twentieth century--that of the United States--is ending. Temin and Vines show how America emerged from World War II as an economic and military powerhouse, but how deregulation and a lax attitude toward international monetary flows left the nation incapable of reining in an overleveraged financial sector and powerless to contain the 2008 financial panic. Fixed exchange rates in Europe and Asia have exacerbated the problem.



The Leaderless Economy provides a blueprint for how renewed international leadership can bring today's industrial nations back into financial balance--domestically and between each other.

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From the Inside Flap:


"Looking back, we know now that the Great Depression and the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system were turning points in modern economic history. Temin and Vines make a compelling case that we are now at another such juncture. Policymakers have signally failed to come to grips with the depth of this crisis--they would be well advised to read this book."--Jonathan Portes, Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, London


"The global economy is deeply troubled, and the United States faces no more pressing task than to fix it. Temin and Vines recount in rich detail the history of the modern world economy and the currents of economic thought that attempted to explain it, providing a fascinating explanation of the roots of today's crisis and the way forward."--Jeffry A. Frieden, coauthor of Lost Decades: The Making of America's Debt Crisis and the Long Recovery


"In this thoughtful and cogently argued book, Temin and Vines enlist the history of the Great Depression to provide a powerful set of dos and don'ts for the current financial crisis. The interesting question they pose is why today's policymakers, to a remarkable and alarming extent, have embraced the don'ts."--Barry Eichengreen, author of Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System


"For the world economy to truly return to health, advanced nations must cut domestic spending and make it up through higher exports, while emerging economies must do the reverse. Fiscal policies, interest rates, and exchange rates must adjust. Can it happen? Will it happen? Temin and Vines say it can, but only through international cooperation. Otherwise, history tells us, there are good reasons to worry. A great read."--Olivier Blanchard, International Monetary Fund


"This work dissects the global and euro area crises with refreshing clarity. It also sheds new light on Keynes's intellectual struggle to diagnose correctly the related events of the 1930s. The warning is clear: policymakers today need a clearer vision of how to deal with the domestic and international stress affecting their economies. Otherwise, they risk repeating the experience of the Great Depression rather than learning from it. Temin and Vines have done economists and the general public a huge service."--Max Watson, University of Oxford


"The Leaderless Economy focuses a historical lens on our current economic problems. While there have been many superficial analogies between the Great Depression and today, this illuminating book offers a more detailed, international economic look at those parallels."--Douglas A. Irwin, author of Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression


About the Author:

Peter Temin is the Elisha Gray II Professor Emeritus of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His books include Prometheus Shackled, The Roman Market Economy (Princeton), and The World Economy between the World Wars. David Vines is Professor of Economics and a Fellow of Balliol College, University of Oxford. His books include The IMF and Its Critics and The Asian Financial Crisis.

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