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The Shifts and the Shocks: What we've learned - and have still to learn - from the financial crisis (Anglais) Relié – 4 septembre 2014

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Revue de presse

Felix Salmon, The New York Times Book Review:
“Martin Wolf is as grand and important as an economic journalist can ever become.... The Shifts and the Shocks is extremely good at untangling the causes of the global financial crisis.”

Joseph Stiglitz, Financial Times:
“Martin Wolf has outdone himself. The FT’s chief economics commentator has written a book that not only explains the malaise in which we have been mired since 2008 but also—depressingly—provides a convincing analysis of why we are likely to remain so. Already, the crisis has spawned a plethora of titles examining what went wrong. The Shifts and the Shocks is among the first to address the absence of a robust recovery and it sets a high bar for those that will surely follow…One of the things that distinguishes Wolf’s analysis from so many others is that he sees the crisis as more than a financial crisis—an insight that is essential if we are to understand the failure to achieve a robust recovery…Wolf may have written the book to shake us out of our stupor.”

Paul Krugman, The New York Review of Books:
“Extended, learned, and well-informed…Since the new sort-of consensus is clearly much more realistic than the pre-crisis complacency, Wolf, the chief economics commentator of the Financial Times, has performed a very useful service by putting it all together in one readable book…Wolf argues rightly that a fuller picture requires paying attention to the wider world…The Shifts and the Shocks is an excellent survey of how we arrived at the mess we’re in, and Wolf’s substantive proposals at the end, especially for reform of the euro system—system-wide deposit insurance, higher inflation so that the burden of adjustment is better shared, among other reforms—are all worthy and laudable. But the gods themselves contend in vain against stupidity. What are the odds that financial reformers can do better?"

The Economist:
The Shifts and the Shocks is a fierce indictment of the global economy and a call for radical reform…Mr Wolf’s contribution is comprehensiveness and a piercing logic in piecing the disparate elements together. He weaves the macroeconomic and financial elements of the crisis, its origins and aftermath, into an all-encompassing analysis. Along the way he demolishes many of the popular explanations—such as that the mess was due to greedy bankers or to loose monetary policy—as too simplistic. The result is convincing and depressing; there are no quick fixes…An important contribution that anyone involved in economic policy ought to read.”

Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times:
“A surprisingly refreshing look at the biggest financial calamity since the Great Depression. Just when you thought everything that could be said about the crisis had been said, Mr. Wolf adds something new…Wolf deftly weaves together the components of the crisis, examining it from 10,000 feet up: globalization, monetary policy, banking architecture.”

Robert Lenzner, Forbes:
“[A] worthy and wise new book…A primer on the interaction between global macroeconomic forces and what Wolf dares to call ‘an increasingly fragile, liberalized financial system.’ And it never goes off the rational, pragmatic track toward order, fragile or not.”

Irish Examiner (UK):
“Profound, disturbing and prophetic… [Wolf’s] analysis is rigorous and deals fairly with opposing points of view. As a result, the proposals he presents for future action merit very close consideration.”
“Unsettling to anyone who thinks the financial system is any more stable now…Wolf has, once again, written an erudite, brilliant and data-heavy book on global macroeconomics.”

Ben Bernanke:
“Building on his earlier book, Fixing Global Finance, in The Shifts and the Shocks Martin Wolf provides an insightful and timely analysis of how global imbalances, international capital flows, and economic policies have helped create a financially fragile world.”

Lawrence Summers:
“Martin Wolf is unsurpassed in the world of economic journalists. His superb book may be the best of all those spawned by the Great Recession. It is analytical and rigorous and without ever succumbing to fatalism or complacency. It should be read by anyone concerned with macroeconomic or financial policy going forward.”

George Soros:
“In this important book, Martin Wolf demonstrates that the Eurozone crisis was due to the interaction between powerful global economic and financial forces and the inadequacies of its economic and political structure. He also demonstrates that the Eurozone has not eliminated these weaknesses. The crisis is not yet over.”

Mervyn King:
“A masterly account of the financial crisis seen in its true international perspective.”

Adair Turner:
“The 2008 financial crisis was an economic disaster, but as Martin Wolf brilliantly argues the policy response has failed to address the fundamental drivers of instability—excessive debt creation, global imbalances and inequality. To think straight about causes and solutions we must reject orthodox assumptions that more finance and global financial integration are limitlessly beneficial. The Shifts and the Shocks does just that, providing an intellectually sparkling and vital account of why the crisis occurred, and of the radical reforms needed if we are to avoid a future repeat.”

Paul Tucker, Senior Fellow, Harvard University:
“Martin Wolf has ranged more widely than perhaps any other author in trying to make sense of the global financial crisis and how to avoid its recurrence. Macroeconomics, finance, ideas, institutions, policy, politics; Europe, Asia, the US—they are all here. Whether or not one agrees with Wolf’s analysis and prescriptions, this book will help everyone work out what they think. A must read.”

Anat Admati, Stanford University; co-author of The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do About It:
“In this powerful and important book, Martin Wolf exposes the forces that shaped our fragile financial system and brought harm to so many, with particular attention to the crisis in Europe. His insights and urgent call to prevent more harm must be heard.”

William H. Janeway, Warburg Pincus; University of Cambridge:
"Martin Wolf has been the world's leading commentator on the Global Financial Crisis and its economic consequences: now in The Shifts and the Shocks he demonstrates with compelling force that the essential response to financial fragility is to make banks boring: lots more capital, much lower prospective returns."
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

Présentation de l'éditeur

In The Shifts and the Shocks, Martin Wolf - one of the world's most influential economic commentators and author of Why Globalization Works - presents his controversial and highly original analysis of the economic course of the last seven yearsThere have been many books that have sought to explain the causes and courses of the financial and economic crisis which began in 2007-8. The Shifts and the Shocks is not another detailed history of the crisis, but the most persuasive and complete account yet published of what the crisis should teach us us about modern economies and economics.The book identifies the origin of the crisis in the complex interaction between globalization, hugely destabilizing global imbalances and our dangerously fragile financial system. In the eurozone, these sources of instability were multiplied by the tragically defective architecture of the monetary union. It also shows how much of the orthodoxy that shaped monetary and financial policy before the crisis occurred was complacent and wrong. In doing so, it mercilessly reveals the failures of the financial, political and intellectual elites who ran the system.The book also examines what has been done to reform the financial and monetary systems since the worst of the crisis passed. 'Are we now on a sustainable course?' Wolf asks. 'The answer is no.' He explains with great clarity why 'further crises seem certain' and why the management of the eurozone in particular 'guarantees a huge political crisis at some point in the future.' Wolf provides far more ambitious and comprehensive plans for reform than any currently being implemented.Written with all the intellectual command and trenchant judgement that have made Martin Wolf one of the world's most influential economic commentators, The Shifts and the Shocks matches impressive analysis with no-holds-barred criticism and persuasive prescription for a more stable future. It is a book no-one with an interest in global affairs will want to neglect.MARTIN WOLF is Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times, London. He is the recipient of many awards for financial journalism, for which he was also made a CBE in 2000. His previous books include Why Globalization Works and Fixing Global Finance."We have been inundated with books about the 'financial' aspects of the crisis. There have also been many books about specific institutions or memoirs by retired policy-makers. We need something different. There are two dimensions of the crisis that have received surprisingly little treatment. One is the link between developments in the macro-economy and the behaviour of the financial sector. The other is the global dimension of the crisis. Both these lie at the heart of Martin Wolf's analysis of the causes of the crisis and of his proposals to reduce the risk of another crisis. For these two reasons this is an important book that will be influential. Most important of all, it is in my view the right analysis and remedy" Mervyn King"To think straight about the causes and solutions of the financial crisis we must reject orthodox assumptions that more finance and global financial integration are limitlessly beneficial. The Shifts and the Shocks does just that, providing an intellectually sparkling and vital account of why the crisis occurred, and of the radical reforms needed if we are to avoid a future repeat" Adair Turner"Martin Wolf is unsurpassed in the world of economic journalists. His superb book may be the best of all those spawned by the Great Recession. It is analytical and rigorous without ever succumbing to fatalism or complacency" Lawrence Summers

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 71 commentaires
56 internautes sur 62 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Both a detailed analysis of the 2007-2008 economic crisis and a call to action to avert a far more severe meltdown 29 août 2014
Par Kcorn - Publié sur
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
Martin Wolf's latest book may well be the subject of debate, even strong controversy. I'd argue that this makes it even more worth reading, and would add it to the top of any list of "must read" books, especially for those interested in the state of our economy - past, present, and future. His take on the economic crisis of 2007 goes well beyond other works on the subject. It also isn't simplistic nor is it reassuring about the state of the economy. And it isn't a history or rehash of the crisis but is instead a look at what we should learn from it and a warning against complacency. He stresses that there are still great reforms that are needed - and the need is an urgent one. While that stance isn't unique, his rationale offers new perspectives.

Although it is impossible to list all the topics covered in this complex and extremely detailed book in a single review, some of the major ones are: the global financial crisis, policy measures used to tackle them, the Eurozone crisis, the fragility of the world economy which led to huge financial and economic shocks, possible solutions and where we should be going from here, the search for better economic ideas, and how to create a stronger financial system. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to listing the various "shifts and shocks" which are included in the book. I hope it is enough to spark readers' interest.

Wolf's views are both blunt and what some may see as alarmist in his assessment of the current economy, an economy he sees as still being in great danger. And he also doesn't hold back when criticizing what he perceives as the flawed views of everyone from Ben Bernanke and Gordon Brown to those who he classifies as the "economic, financial, and political elites". At the same time, he is very open and honest about his own failure to anticipate the possibility of a meltdown of the Western financial system - and this in spite of the fact that he spent his career analyzing the world economy. His economic model simply didn't include the possibility of another Great Depression.

Partly because he felt that his own personal perspective was so mistaken - and on such a large scale - he was driven to write The Shifts and The Shocks. He wanted to impart the lessons he learned as well as share his strong belief that democracy is still greatly threatened by financial instability and rising inequality (among other factors noted) .

Wolf looks to the future by advocating actions, even radical ones, to avert a crisis which could be far worse than the one which shook the country to the core. In fact, Wolf notes that another one could be so severe that "our open world economy could end in the fire." He makes a strong case for this. Some may find this overly alarmist. But Wolf passionately refuses to believe that we are currently on a sustainable course or out of economic danger. Instead, he notes that the world has been forever changed by the crisis and the aftermath of high unemployment, low productivity growth, and uncertainty about fiscal solvency has failed to return high-income countries to anywhere even remotely close to good economic health.

Potential readers should know that this book is frequently so detailed and dense that it reads more like an academic book than one aimed at a general readership. But it is well worth the effort to tackle. At the back of the book, there is an extensive list of notes and sources listed for each chapter. There is also a detailed compilation of the many studies, articles, and books which were used as reference material. There were times when I took breaks from reading The Shifts and the Shocks and instead read some of the other material Wolf cited (some written in a less dense style). These included pieces on everything from what went wrong with the banking system to overcoming the greatest challenges still faced by the global economy.
20 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Financial and Monetary System Reform Is Still Unfinished Business 28 septembre 2014
Par Serge J. Van Steenkiste - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
In his newest book, Martin Wolf relentlessly explores the ins and outs of the financial and economic crisis which began in 2007-2008.

Mr. Wolf first reviews the shocks that have humbled many high-income countries, whose subdued performance stands in sharp contrast with the strong showing of many emerging and developing economies in the aftermath of that crisis.

1. A credit crash that has forced many households and businesses to stop spending consistently more than their incomes.
2. A reconfiguration of entire sectors of activity such as construction and finance in many high-income countries.
3. The higher cautiousness of chastised financial institutions in a changing regulatory environment.
4. The specter of deflation, or at least, consistently falling inflation rates in many high-income countries, especially in the Eurozone.
5. The vicious circle behind the weakening of the “animal spirits” of businesses in the same economies.

The author then clearly articulates the shifts that have led to the fragility of the world economy:

1. No living memory of the large financial and economic busts of the distant past, which bred complacency among the economic, financial, intellectual, and political elites of the West before 2007-2008.
2. No clear understanding of the ramifications associated with the evolution of the financial system, i.e., liberalization, globalization, innovation, leverage, and incentives, among the same elites.

Subsequently, Mr. Wolf reviews what has been done to make the financial system more resilient than it was before the above-mentioned crisis. The author is clearly not impressed with the post-crisis central-bank orthodoxy as it is embraced in the high-income countries of North America and Europe. He dubbed it the new orthodoxy, i.e. inflation targeting, macroprudential policy, the strengthening of the role of central banks as lenders of last resort, and the orderly resolution of troubled institutions. Mr. Wolf is especially critical of the sheer complexity of the regulatory structure that will probably be dead on arrival in the recurrence of a major financial and economic crisis. Unsurprisingly, the author pleads for a significant increase in the capital requirements of banks as a key improvement to the new orthodoxy.

Finally, Mr. Wolf makes the case for radical reform. Radical reform does not include liquidationism light as practiced within the Eurozone under the influence of Germany. Fiscal austerity, asymmetric adjustment of competitiveness, and limited assistance with recapitalization of banks in crisis-hit countries will probably not turn around the fortunes of these countries that are operating in less auspicious external circumstances that those that benefited Germany previously.

The author mentions as examples of radical reform the creation of a global currency to replace the national currencies currently used as anchors of the system, or a partial break-up of the open world economy. Mr. Wolf makes himself no illusion about the feasibility of these radical reforms. It will depend on 1) what sort of recovery emerges and 2) how much risk societies will be prepared to tolerate.

In summary, the author calls for a reassessment of the merits of the new orthodoxy which will probably fail too many economies in dealing successfully with the recurrence of a major financial and economic crisis.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Thinking person's guide to 2008 18 octobre 2014
Par RJS - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Most people aren't apt to connect globalization and the Panic of 2008 in quite the way Wolf does here. So much additional capacity has come on to the international markets that its producers--China, for instance--either can't or won't generate enough domestic demand to soak it up. So they seek to export instead to willing consumers in places like the United States, who are all too happy to borrow to finance consumption. In fact, there's nearly as much excess savings floating around as there is excess capacity thanks to rising oil prices, aging populations, or outright repression of consumption in China's case. At the same time, the central banks of the borrowing countries make up for the stuff their own citizens don't produce by extending even more credit. You get a sort of bipolar world of high debtors and high savers, which is an accident waiting to happen. Low interest rates start driving up the prices of everything from houses to commodities, but it's a game that bound to come to grief. Nothing goes up forever, and when prices start to break, the party is over, with creditors scrambling, debtors getting wiped out, and the enablers to the the whole drama--banks and bankers, real or shadow, running for sovereign cover. What a mess.

Wolf also has lots to say about Europe, the Euro, and the ECB. The common currency was never a good idea when you had countries like Germany and Greece in the same harness. Individual debtor countries don't have a central bank that can create money, and the ECB simply doesn't have the resources to rescue all the sinners--unkindly called PI(I)GS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain, and throw in Ireland). Add to this the majestic refusal of the Germans to countenance anything other than take your medicine and lose weight, technically called austerity. What is a PIIG to do? Getting into the common currency was a bad idea, getting out is a financial and legal nightmare, and in the long run, well, Wolf actually suggests that death might not be such a good thing, but he posts the usual British warning about Keynes' flippancy. Funny that. At least the Brits never bought into the Euro. The European catastrophe is the gift that keeps on giving, well past the point when the US and the UK seem to be on a slow mend. You could be proud of Mr Bernanke. Wolf doesn't quite say that, but in his heart, he knows that Ben was right.

This is like a rich man's version of Blinder's much more user friendly book, When the Music Stopped. It's full of heavy-going open macroeconomics-speak, and it's apt to slow a lay reader down. It slowed me down in places, and I'm not a novice. But then, anybody who says sneers politely at Bob Lucas and that crowd is going to get my vote, dense prose or not. The book is too long, it needed an editor who could stand up to someone with as much horsepower as Wolf, and all of that. Still, if you really want to get a feel for what a kind of professional post-Keynesian (is there such a thing?) blast would be, this is the book for you. It is extremely smart, extremely perceptive, but slow going and not for the faint of heart. Pick something easier to start with on 2008, and work your way up to this.
26 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Prolonged 29 septembre 2014
Par MussSyke - Publié sur
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
Considering his spot with the Financial Times, the author clearly has the clout, experience, and knowledge to write his own comprehensive take on the recent financial crisis. And that he has done here. This book is packed full of information, insight, and worthwhile conjecture on every facet of the event. Having read many books on the topic, I can't say anything was totally new and crazy, but certainly, the author has his own, well thought out and defined take on the matter.

It was a difficult book for me to get into deeply, however, mostly because the writing is so wordy. I'm not saying the author isn't a talented writer, but it reads a bit too much like a pontificating thesis for a subject I usually think of as quasi-scientific. Look at the cover of this book - it's full of words. It's a premonition as to the rest of the book: lots of unnecessary phrases inside sentences that make it difficult to become fully immersed in the material. Just as the author couldn't settle on a more concise subtitle for the book, he rarely writes a sentence without some parenthesis, pairs of dashes, multiple commas, or mixtures of these.

Many people will regardless enjoy this book. Others will consider it mandatory reading due to the author. It's just not my favorite.
27 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The author is probably too close to power to have an independent mind. 14 octobre 2014
Par Jackal - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This is an awful book not worth your time.

The author's style of argumentation is annoying because everything is obvious to him. Since everything is obvious, only his side of the story in presented in a good light. It would have been enlightening to also get the counterargument described in at least a neutral manner. Instead we get four or five points why the counterargument is incorrect. This structure is repeated throughout the book. There is no way for the reader to form his own opinion. To strengthen his conclusion further, the author throws in a bunch of academic papers (that most of the time are not peer reviewed), which support his case.

Let me provide one example: In chapter 8 the author describes how the US economy is "18% below potential". He attributes the gap to the financial crisis and says that the cost is larger than the cost of the Second World War. (Never mind that the former is imaginary and the latter a real cost.) However, the gap is probably somewhat due to the GDP being inflated by easy credit prior to 2007. He acknowledges this fact and then quickly proceeds to state that the counterargument is wrong. One reason mentioned is that unemployment went down in all sectors after the crisis. You, the reader, are left not understanding what the author really meant. (The whole book reminds me of studying macroeconomics in the 1990s. The professor also knew "everything", but many of the arguments just felt like they were grabbed from a black top-hat.)

In the introduction to the book, the author is proud to note that he has changed his opinion a couple of times in the past. He used to like globalisation, he used to like balanced budgets, but now he likes Keynesian spending. It is all right to change one's opinion, but the author always seems to change to the standard establishment viewpoint. This makes me worried that he is too close to the establishment. The book says that all kinds of powerful people listen to Mr Wolf. However, it might be that Mr Wolf is too close to powerful people and inadvertently is influenced by their opinion. He is a little bit too proud over having changed his past opinions. I want to read an independent mind that conveys the full complexity of reality. The author has spent a life-time following the world economy, he should have higher ambitions than being an echo. That should be left to younger journalists.

My advice to the author: Cut of your connections for two years. Just read reports. Read history. Go to a cottage somewhere. Cleanse your mind. Get some distance. After some time your network relationships will no longer be just pipes of information, but prisms to viewpoints.

I have often read Mr Wolf in the Financial Times. He often has valid points, but this book really makes me worried about his judgement. Since the book is dense and requires a lot of effort, it should be assessed with that in mind. The reader should be rewarded after so much effort. Instead the reader ends up understanding Mr Wolf's view in 2014. When then establishment stops liking low interest rates (2016?) because they generate bubbles, then the author is likely to change his mind again. However, the really curious journalist highlights issues ahead of time. (Highlighting does not mean having all answers.) And he is very clear about reporting facts separately from opinions. In his FT column that separation is clearer than in this book.

Another FT columnist, Gideon Rachman, has written a book, (Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety), with similar flaws. After reading his book I have stopped reading his column. I will continue to read Mr Wolf's column because it often contain useful links, but I will no longer trust his judgement. I think his columns are better than this book, because writing in real-time, Mr Wolf cannot afford to be so damned certain about everything.
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