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The System Worked: How the World Stopped Another Great Depression (Anglais) Relié – 26 juin 2014

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Revue de presse

The System Worked is a smart, thoughtful, and important book that I largely disagree withDrezner has put forward an argument to be reckoned with, and it is more important that the book find an audience among those who disagree with its conclusions. (Jonathan Kirshner, Boston Review)

Drezner offers a thoughtful and contemporary analysis of global governing systems and their underlying politics. (Nancy Cook, National Journal)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Global governance institutions, from the International Monetary Fund to the International Olympic Committee, are little loved. They are perceived as bastions of sclerotic mediocrity at best and outright corruption at worst, and this perception is generally not far off the mark. In the wake of the 2008 financial crash, Daniel W. Drezner, like so many others, looked at the smoking ruins of the global economy and wondered why global economic governance institutional had failed so spectacularly, and what could be done to reform them in the future. But then a funny thing happened. As he surveyed their actions in the wake of the crash, he realized that the evidence pointed to the exact opposite conclusion: global economic governance had succeeded. In The System Worked, Drezner, a renowned political scientist and international relations expert, contends that despite the massive scale and reverberations of this latest crisis (larger, arguably, than those that precipitated the Great Depression), the global economy has bounced back remarkably well. Examining the major resuscitation efforts by the G-20 IMF, WTO and other institutions, he shows that, thanks to the efforts of central bankers and other policymakers, the international response was sufficiently coordinated to prevent the crisis from becoming a full-fledged depression. Yet the narrative about the failure of multilateral economic institutions persist, largely because the Great Recession most affected powerful nations whose governments made poor decisions in the management of their own economies. Also, the most influential policy analysts who write the books and articles on the crisis hail from those nations. Nevertheless, Drezner argues, while it's true that the global economy is still fragile, these institutions survived the "stress test" of the financial crisis, and may have even become more resilient and valuable in the process. Bucking the conventional wisdom about the new "G-Zero World," Drezner rehabilitates the image of the much-maligned global economic governance institutions and demolishes some of the most dangerous myths about the financial crisis. The System Worked is a vital contribution to our understanding of an area where the stakes could not be higher.

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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
How the world stopped another great depression (2008), or did it? 8 décembre 2014
Par Gderf - Publié sur
Format: Relié
It's a revelation to find a positive take on world governance action in the 2008 recession. This is very informative and well argued, albeit not quit convincing. I take small comfort in the author's faith in the future performance of these institutions. Regarding perceptions, the public doesn't think actions were well designed. Denzer makes a convincing case that TARP was actually a bargain, What he calls interest misses egalitarian motive of cheapening money to spread the wealth. His ideas section is largely the application and misapplication of Keynes' theories.

In comparison to 1929 economic improvement is largely due to what we didn't do.
Drezner's concept of “working” apparently means anything short of the Great Depression. The 2008 downturn is compared to 1939 with three measures: industrial output, global trade flow, and global stock market capitalization. Data shows that each dropped more sharply than in 1929 and recovered more slowly. The book is a well organized discussion as to why mitigation worked better in 2008 than 1939: intersection of material interests, enduring American power, European and Chinese support, and adherence to market friendly ideas.

Drezner's conclusion may still be premature. Remember that the Great Depression deepened in the years after 1933. It wasn't over until the lend lease spending program prior to WWII. Let's hope history doesn't repeat. Now in 2014 the recovery is limited to Wall Street, bypassing middle class Americans. Also, his claim to a unique viewpoint may not be valid. It seems to me that there are as many economists that agree with him as not.

He claims that pessimism is wrong and explains some concepts that are counter intuitive. In (“counter factual reasoning”) TARP was a bargain. Eventually TARP cost “only” about 250 billion. The rest of the $800 billion came back to the Treasury to be spent by the next administration. Drezner thinks that TARP restored faith in the banking system. I think that raising the FDIC insurance level to $250,000 per account had more to do with that. Faith of the public in the FDIC may not be permanent.

The history presentation shows that stagflation starting in the early 1970's. He measures power in terms of: share of global economic output, per capita GDP,
share of global imports, share of global capital markets, share of global exports, plus an aside aside for military power. China comes out ahead on most measures although the US role is still important. National interests generally take presidence over global. He's not so complementary on the QE programs that have devalued our currency and loaded the US with debt with no social advantage. He doesn't say why it continues into the recovery. Many countries, thankful for TARP, expressed anger over QE2.

The ideas section focuses on the rise and fall of Keynesian involved in what he calls an ideological depth of neoliberalism. EU advocating austerity is working in Spain and Italy. He quotes Keynes's biographer, Skidelsky, on the moral failure of debt national governments responsible for egregious errors.

The book is very good on the roles of the G20, WTO, IMF, WB, and BIS. It's more optimistic than most about the performance in the EU. The conclusion may be a bit premature. It is certainly changing, but as long as the US has credit, reserve currency and military power the world still needs American consumerism. Every country, large and small still applies national interests ahead of globalism. The massive ineffectual debt the US has accumulated since 2008 will render the next crisis much harder to manage. It's hard to accommodate the positive attitude in the face of the US resuming its long slow drift towards third world status.
2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
good ideas, poor execution 16 octobre 2014
Par David Wilder - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Well researched, but clumsily written. It could have used some pruning. We know the author's thesis from the opening. It doesn't need re-iteration throughout.
2 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Smart, insightful 14 octobre 2014
Par welcome back - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Great book. Deserves a wide audience.
3 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Standard boilerplate 'governments saved us all from crazy markets' mantra 3 décembre 2014
Par Luca Celati - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Given the author's background, it is hardly surprising to see praise for the central planning efforts of central bankers, governments and supranational institutions. Sadly, two key points are omitted:

1) The "System" that has supposedly worked not only this time but arguably for the last 15 years is to "cure" a bust by engineering an even larger financial bubble. The Fed has been the longa manus to implement this policy. Epiosed worth recalling are the easy money strategy to offset the New Economy Bust in 2000-2002, the following real estate bubble and the subsequent ZIRP and TARP policies following the subprime bust in 2007. At present, another bubble of unprecedented size has been created in sovereign bond markets all the world over, with key central banks filling their balance sheets with assets of at least questionable quality. No one knows what will happen when the next bust comes. The "solution" has been - for a change - to try to buy time and postpone the inevitable adjustment process, ideally after the current generation of policymakers has concluded their term in office and has recycled in cozy, safe jobs in university or think tanks.
2) For all the markets'shortcomings, governments and regulators are at least equally responsible for engineering this awkward state of things. Lax regulation - courtesy of the powerful wall street and banking lobbies has been a major culprit. To date, cutting off small enterprises from bank funding has been the key outcome of the Basel III "solution", hardly a desirable ingredient for healthy economic growth.

Last, since neo-keynesian style thinking is the rage at present, it would be helpful if somebody reminded readers of the poor track record of government intervention. No such reminder appears in the book. The Great Depression of the 1930s was not "solved" by the much advertised New Deal of the Roosevelt Administration but, rather, by WW2.
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