Ep.87 – The Global Impact of the Financial Crisis

When we think back to ten years ago and the events of the financial crisis, such as the fall of Lehman Brothers and the bailout of AIG, it’s easy to only recall what happened in the U.S.

But in reality, the crisis was an enormous global mess, and one that actually started in Europe.

That’s why today we’re joined by Adam Tooze, professor of history at Columbia University and author of Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World.

Tooze delivers an in-depth reinterpretation of the 2008 economic crisis as a global event that directly led to the shockwaves being felt around the world today.

In September 2008 President George Bush could still describe the financial crisis as an incident local to Wall Street.

In fact it was a period of dramatic global significance that spiraled around the world, from the financial markets of the UK and Europe to the factories and dockyards of Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, forcing a rearrangement of global governance.

In the United States and Europe, it caused a fundamental reconsideration of capitalist democracy, eventually leading to the war in the Ukraine, the chaos of Greece, Brexit, and the eventual election of Donald Trump.

It was the greatest crisis to have struck Western societies since the end of the Cold War, but was it inevitable? And is it over?

Crashed is a narrative resting on three original themes:

  • The haphazard nature of economic development and the erratic path of debt around the world
  • The unseen way individual countries and regions are linked together in deeply unequal relationships through financial interdependence, investment, politics, and force
  • The ways the financial crisis interacted with the rise of social media, the crisis of middle-class America, the rise of China, and global struggles over fossil fuels

Given this history, what are the prospects for a stable and coherent world order?

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“Better Off” theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.