WINNER OF THE LIONEL GELBER PRIZE
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018
ONE OF THE ECONOMIST'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS' TOP BOOK
"An intelligent explanation of the mechanisms that produced the crisis and the response to it...One of the great strengths of Tooze's book is to demonstrate the deeply intertwined nature of the European and American financial systems."--The New York Times Book Review
From a prizewinning economic historian, an eye-opening reinterpretation of the 2008 economic crisis (and its ten-year aftermath) 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 dramatic caesura of 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 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 dramatic new narrative resting on 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 spectacular rise of social media, the crisis of middle-class America, the rise of China, and global struggles over fossil fuels.
Finally, Tooze asks, given this history, what now are the prospects for a liberal, stable, and coherent world order?
Columbia history professor Tooze (The Deluge) recounts and analyzes the continuing repercussions of the 2008 economic crisis in this dense, but accessible, book. Although he presents more information than most readers will require (including a chart titled, "Demand for Dollar Funding in the European Central Bank's One-Month Auctions"), Tooze makes the arcana of international economic policy relevant to a lay audience by framing his account with Donald Trump's political ascension. He walks through the significant financial crises of the previous 10 years, not neglecting those possibly less familiar to Americans than Lehman Brothers' collapse, such as the debt crisis in Greece and Ireland. Tooze amasses telling details from the bailout of the big banks (for instance, that they more than doubled their funding advantage relative to small banks after the crisis) to bolster his contention that Trump's surprise electoral victory was rooted in the U.S. government's response to the 2008 meltdown. Those government policies gave "absolute priority to saving the financial system" and disregarded "the arrow of causation," reshaping American politics and setting the stage for a populist backlash. In addition to making international economics understandable and attention grabbing, Tooze has written an essential addition to the ranks of histories that place Trumpism in context.