One of the most important, yet perhaps still under-appreciated lessons of the global financial crisis of 2007-09 concerns the role that academic economics plays in today's society and politics.
Along with the revelations about the skewed incentive structure in the financial industry, short-termism in national economic policies, dogmatic thinking at the levels of international economics institutions and controversial processes of financial innovation, the crisis has exposed mainstream academic economics as a closed-minded enterprise, worryingly narrow in its scope and mission, and increasingly detached from the analysis of economic realities. As part of this transformation in academic economics, studying economic history and learning from the rich history of the profession, has been crowded out to the margins of economics.
Keynes, Minsky and Financial Crises in Emerging Markets represents a long-needed attempt by economists to depart from this sad trend. Radonjic and Kokotovic focus on the evolution of financial structures and the way this process has been analysed by, on the one hand, economic orthodoxy, and heterodox scholars such as John Maynard Keynes and Hyman Minsky, on the other. At the very centre of the book's critique is the relationship between privately created credit instruments and public, or official monetary support to the economy. Focusing in depth of the anatomy of financial instability and crises, the authors chart the evolution of key conceptual approaches to financial crisis, and examine in depth the key cases of fragility, crises and crashes of the past three decades. Their rigorous, reflexive and well-documented empirical analysis illustrates the effects of key processes of endogenous credit at work in different political-economy contexts: emerging economies in Latin America, East Asia and Eastern Europe, and the advanced economies of Anglo-Saxon capitalism. Carefully tracing the development of academic thought on finance over the past few decades the authors present a dynamic, critical and well-informed portrayal of the financial system driven by private financial innovation yet dependant on public liquidity provision in times of crises. Their analysis of this controversy makes this text a must-read for all students of financial capitalism post-2008, and a valuable resource to those who aim to lessen the economic burden of financial crises in the future.
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