The Economists

Back to the Future in Finance

Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker provided the central inspiration for President Barack Obama’s proposal for overhauling banking. Without question the most successful central banker of the twentieth century, Volcker was an early and persistent voice warning of the problems of what he called “the bright new financial system.”

Will China rule the World?

Thirty years ago, China had a tiny footprint on the global economy and little influence outside its borders, save for a few countries with which it had close political and military relationships. Today, the country is a remarkable economic power: the world’s manufacturing workshop, its foremost financier, a leading investor across the globe from Africa to Latin America, and, increasingly, a major source of research and development.

Why Big Banks Will Get Bigger

Severe banking crises bring painful and long-lasting disruptions. But they also lead to surprises. The lessons learned in the immediate aftermath bear little relationship to the eventual outcome. There are immediate and obvious answers to the question of who was to blame, but they rarely correspond with the new shape of the financial landscape that ultimately emerges.

Insecure Securities

Once upon a time, stocks were risky and collateralized securities were safe. That time is over, as the breakdown of the American mortgage securitization market has shown.
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