The Last Temptation of Risk

Eichengreen explains the origins of the economic crisis.

Issue: May-June 2009

THE GREAT Credit Crisis has cast into doubt much of what we thought we knew about economics. We thought that monetary policy had tamed the business cycle. We thought that because changes in central-bank policies had delivered low and stable inflation, the volatility of the pre-1985 years had been consigned to the dustbin of history; they had given way to the quaintly dubbed "Great Moderation." We thought that financial institutions and markets had come to be self-regulating-that investors could be left largely if not wholly to their own devices. Above all we thought that we had learned how to prevent the kind of financial calamity that struck the world in 1929.

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