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Banking

Book review: Crashed by Adam Tooze

Is former ECB chief Jean-Claude Trichet the real villain of the piece?

'Crashed’ finally gives the last 10 years of financial crises the coherent narrative they deserve.

History is not the forte of governments. You don’t need Trump’s tweets – like a recent one retweeted by the fake account of the deceased 37th president Richard Nixon, saying that a presidential campaign spying on a rival campaign has “never been done” – to know this.

It was not much of a surprise then that, in an April interview with Spanish newspaper Expansión this year, Single Resolution Board chair Elke König said the Banco Popular liquidation “proved that a bank can also fail due to a lack of liquidity”, as opposed to insolvency. Lehman Brothers, Northern Rock and pretty much every other bank that failed in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis offered no such confirmation, apparently.

Crashed-cover-300

Liquidity is the financial narrative that runs through Adam Tooze’s ‘Crashed: How a decade of financial crises changed the world’. The important benefit of this focus is to give the lie to the many politicians, regulators and commentators who see international economic crises simply as national diseases, born of unhealthy fiscal and financial structures indigenous to those nations, which spread to innocent, healthier nations through macroeconomic imbalances such as budget and trade deficits. 

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