Friday, July 05, 2019

On Reading Adam Tooze's "Crashed"

I'm currently reading Adam Tooze's "Crashed, How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World". The Amazon blurb is:"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."

That's the aspect of the book I'd highlight--I've read Bernanke, Paulson, and Geithner's books on the crisis, but they give a US -centric view of the Great Recession and its aftermath.  So Tooze provides a more complete picture. 

He's not a great stylist, and I was disappointed by the Introduction, but he does the narrative well, and the book grows on you.  Some of the discussions are over my head.  Lots of the financial details go by too fast for me to deeply understand, but I get enough out of it.  Tooze is critical of decisions made by many of the leaders,  but I think fairly so. I recommend it.

But all that's not why I'm moved to post about it.

Tooze reminds me of the turmoil and tension of those days, the uncertainty over how things would turn out.  And that brings me back to today, and our current President.

Bottom line: we should thank our stars and stripes that Obama was president then and not Trump.  It's impossible to imagine the damage he would have done.

On the other hand, the existence of the crisis and perhaps the mistakes made in handling it and the aftermath might well have been a necessary condition for Trump's victory in 2016.  A question to consider in the future.

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