The Intellectual Origins of the Global Financial Crisis

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 09/01/2012
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press

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Commentary on the financial crisis has offered technical analysis, political finger pointing, and a myriad of economic and political solutions. But rarely do these investigations reach beyond the economic and political causes of the crisis to explore their underlying intellectual grounds. The essays in this volume delve deeper into the cultural and intellectual foundations, philosophical ideas, political traditions, and economic movements that underlie the greatest financial crisis in nearly a century. Moving beyond traditional economic and political science approaches, these essays engage thinkers from Hannah Arendt to Max Weber and Adam Smith to Michel Foucault. With Arendt as a catalyst, the authors probe the philosophical as well as the cultural origins of the Great Recession. Orienting the volume is Arendt's argument that past financial crises and also totalitarianism are rooted, at least in part, in the tendency for capital to expand its reach globally without regard to political and moral borders or limits. That politics is made subservient to economics names a cultural transformation that, in the spirit of Arendt, guides these essays in making sense of our present world. Political thinkers Roger Berkowitz, Antonia Grunenberg, Jerry Kohn, Drucilla Cornell, and Tracy Strong explore the real-world consequences of the elevation of economics over politics in our present age. Hunter Lewis, founder of Cambridge Associates, argues that Keynesianism, far from providing an answer to the crisis, is actually its underlying cause. Dimitri Papadimitriou, president of the Levy Economics Institute, responds that the crisis is rooted in the rise of a money-manager capitalism. Other contributors include: Raymundo Magliano Filho, former CEO of the Bolsa de Valores de So Paulo (The Bovespa Stock Exchange); Vincent Mai, chairman of AEA Investors in New York City; Raymond Baker, Director of Global Financial Integrity, and David Callahan, author of The Cheating Culture. Including articles, interviews and commentary from leading scholars and businessmen, this volume offers views that are as diverse as they are timely. By reaching beyond "how" the crisis happened to "why" the crisis happened, the authors re-imagine the recent financial crisis and thus provide fresh thinking about how to respond.

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