Ten years on from the global financial crisis of 2008 it helps to see it in historical and geopolitical terms. Many continuing effects of the crisis generate fears it could recur, triggered next time more from political economy than finance.
Such perspectives reveal 2008 is aptly named. It was a crisis greater in scale and speed than that of 1929, defying claims that capitalism is no longer prone to disaster. It played out financially through the banking system before morphing into the politics of austerity, inequality and reactive populist revolts in the major western states. And it was genuinely global, rolling over from the United States to Europe and immediately affecting China and then major emerging economies.
The crisis revealed how vulnerable this more open structure was to collapse in one country which was then rapidly generalised globally
It is salutary to recall ideas about the “great moderation” in the 2000s. They asserted that economic cycles and crises had been ironed out by self-sustaining markets and policy wisdom arising from the rebellions against Keynesian policies of the 1970s and 1980s now commonly labelled neoliberalism.
Deregulation of national and international financial controls in the 1990s dramatically increased wholesale cross-border lending, which along with far greater world trade is dubbed globalisation.
The crisis revealed how vulnerable this more open structure was to collapse in one country which was then rapidly generalised globally.