From Malaise to Meltdown: The International Origins of Financial Folly, 1844–
For the past two centuries, the great power sitting atop the international global financial system has enjoyed outsized rewards. As the saying goes, however, all good things come to an end. Providing insights into the evolution of the global political economy, From Malaise to Meltdown identifies the main instigators behind the global financial crises we’ve seen in the last two hundred years. Michael Lee shows that, in time, power diffuses from the leading economy to others, creating an intensely competitive push for global financial leadership. Hungry for the benefits of global leadership, declining leaders and aspiring challengers alike roll back long-standing regulatory safeguards in an effort to spark growth. Risks to global financial stability mount as a result of this rollback and waves of severe financial crises soon follow. As Lee deftly shows, the Long Depression of 1873–1896, the Great Depression of 1929–1939, and the financial crisis of 2008 are part of the same recurrent pattern: global competition disrupts the longstanding political equilibria, prompting a search for new, risky ideas among the most powerful states. From Malaise to Meltdown presents a sweeping but accessible historical narrative about the coevolution of power, ideas, and domestic politics, supported by archival research into the risky decisions that ushered in the worst financial crises in history.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 264 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.1in x 9.1in
"From Malaise to Meltdown is a truly impressive piece of scholarship – impeccably researched, carefully reasoned, and containing a wealth of innovative material representing the best of new scholarship in this area. Michael Lee’s ambitious analysis is one all scholars will need to pay close attention to."
Kevin L. Young, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
"In this book, Michael Lee systematically invokes the long history of banking regulation and crisis to argue that global financial regulatory cycles are rooted in struggles for geopolitical dominance. From Malaise to Meltdown will be essential reading for scholars of global financial networks and political orders alike."
Sarah Bauerle Danzman, Department of Political Science, Indiana University Bloomington
"An excellent piece of scholarship, From Malaise to Meltdown places the 2008 crisis in a broader historical context to consider whether it was a symptom of America’s hegemonic decline. It is one of the very best works on the post-global financial crisis and a must-read for anyone interested in the relationship between great power politics and international finance."
Thomas Oatley, Corasaniti-Zondorak Chair of International Relations, Tulane University
"From Malaise to Meltdown is on par with some of the best works written on the politics of financial regulation. It offers a distinct contribution to extremely important debates in the politics of finance and does so in an accessible way, well suited to readers interested in learning about financial instability and why it has become such a ubiquitous element in the global financial order."
Guillermo Rosas, Department of Political Science, Washington University, St Louis
"In From Malaise to Meltdown, Michael Lee demonstrates that regulation and de-regulation are subject to political rhythms in the world system’s lead economy. When the lead economy’s position is externally challenged, domestic de-regulation becomes politically more probable, and so too does risky economic behaviour. To explain American domestic economic crises, then, we must first decipher the historical vicissitudes of international political economy. Lee’s book does just that."
William R. Thompson, Rogers Professor Emeritus, Political Science, Indiana University Bloomington
Author InformationMichael Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Hunter College.
Table of contents
Growth vs. Stability in Financial Regulation
The Argument in Brief
Decline, Deregulation, and Crises through History
The Plan of this Book
2. A Theory of Great Deregulations
What is Financial Leadership?
The Causes and Consequences of Decline
How do Lead Economies (and Challengers) Respond to Decline?
3. The Great Deregulation of the 1850s
The Origins of the Joint Stock Banking Act
Napoléon III and the French Financial Revolution
The Turn to Limited Liability in Britain
4. The Interwar Battle for Financial Supremacy
The [Financial] Pax Britannica
The American Challenge to British Financial Leadership
The First World War
The Gold-Exchange Standard and Britain’s Return to Gold
From Restoration to Depression
5. The Great Deregulation of 1980-2000
An Era of Stability: Bretton Woods and the Glass-Steagall Era
Deregulation Stalls, 1980-1986
The Rise of Japan
A British Challenge
Competitiveness and The End of Glass-Steagall, 1986-2000
List of Works Cited
Subjects and Courses