Seven Crashes


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The Economic Crises That Shaped Globalization

Harold James

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A leading economic historian presents a new history of financial crises, showing how some led to greater globalization while others kept nations apart
In this book, leading economic historian Harold James presents a new history of the past two hundred years of globalization and its turning points. Examining seven economic crises that occurred during this time—in the late 1840s, the simultaneous stock market shocks of 1873, the First World War years, the Great Depression era, the 1970s, the Global Financial Crisis of 2007–2008, and most recently the Covid-19 crisis—he shows how some of these ultimately pushed markets in the direction of more cross-border integration of labor, goods, and capital markets while others prompted substantial deglobalization.
James identifies two types of crises. Those prompted by shortages—such as the events of the First World War and the oil shocks of the 1970s—have led to greater globalization, as markets expand and producers innovate to increase supply. By contrast, demand-driven crises, such as those that caused the Great Depression and the Global Financial Crisis of 2007–2008, generally lead international trade to contract, resulting in less globalization—along with widespread skepticism of governments that accompanies these incidents.
The book also makes its case by examining the key observers whose writings shaped our understanding of each crisis: Karl Marx in 1848; Stanley Jevons, Léon Walras, and Carl Menger in the 1870s; German Treasury Secretary Karl Helfferich in the First World War; John Maynard Keynes in the Great Depression; Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek in the 1970s; Ben Bernanke in 2008; and Larry Summers and Raj Chetty in 2020.

Harold James is the Claude and Lore Kelly Professor in European Studies and professor of history and international affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of numerous books, most recently The War of Words: A Glossary of Globalization. He lives in Princeton, NJ.

“Harold James is the master of seeing today’s global economy through the lens of history, and in Seven Crashes brings the lessons of previous crises to bear on the predicament we find ourselves in.”—Diane Coyle, author of Cogs and Monsters: What Economics Is and What It Should Be

“An audacious historical interpretation of how global mega-shocks have driven globalization cycles over the last two centuries. Anyone hoping to forecast the future of the world economy should read it.”—Maurice Obstfeld, Class of 1958 Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley

“Those who cherish economics will be fascinated by Harold James’s exploration of financial crises, and the ways in which they have validated the views of those economists who saw them coming.”—Edmund Phelps, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences and Director of the Center on Capitalism and Society, Columbia University

“A brilliant book—James shows how economists often draw the wrong lessons from the past and why globalization is unlikely to vanish in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.”—Odd Arne Westad, author of The Cold War: A World History

“James’s masterful account sheds new light on how globalization has been shaped by economic crises since the nineteenth century and deepens our understanding of globalization’s opportunities and its challenges.”—Linda Yueh, author of The Great Crashes: Lessons from Global Meltdowns and How to Prevent Them

“If you are looking for a book that puts the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic into historical context and considers what it means for the economy’s future, this is it.”—Mark Zandi, author of Paying the Price: Ending the Great Recession and Ensuring a New American Century
ISBN: 9780300263398
Publication Date: May 16, 2023
376 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
16 b/w illus.