Moments of Truth : The Politics of Financial Crises in Comparative Perspective book cover
1st Edition

Moments of Truth
The Politics of Financial Crises in Comparative Perspective

ISBN 9780415834117
Published August 7, 2013 by Routledge
228 Pages

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Book Description

The current financial and sovereign debt crisis of the European Union and the United States can be regarded as the most recent of a wave of financial and sovereign debt crises that have affected different regions of the world over the past quarter century. While there is a large and growing body of literature on the economic aspects of financial crises, its political elements remain surprisingly under-studied.

Moments of Truth: The Politics of Financial Crises in Comparative Perspective fills this gap in the literature by looking at the political repercussions and policy implications of financial crises in comparative perspective, using case studies in Latin America, Korea, and Russia, as well as the contemporary crises in the US and in key European countries. Contributors to this volume look at the crises as critical junctures that generate high levels of uncertainty while calling for decisive action. The chapters emphasize structural or agency based explanations and give relevance to the role of ideas, interests, and institutions in explaining different outcomes. The questions addressed by the case studies include: how the crises were defined by key actors, the range of political and policy options available to deal with their impact, the role of ideas in policy shifts, how political and economic actors redefine their interests in contexts of uncertainty,  how political institutions mediate reactions to the crises, what explains the choice of a certain option over other alternatives, and whether the crisis has (so far) resulted in significant political and policy changes or in incremental adjustments to the status quo.

The first book to comparatively analyze the political dimensions of financial crises across different global regions, Moments of Truth will be highly significant for any scholars interested in the contemporary debate on financial crises.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Crises as Moments of Truth Francisco Panizza  1. Crises and their Consequences in Latin America: Mexico in 1982 and 1994 and Venezuela in 1994 George Philip  2. "Everybody Out," "We are Fantastic." The Politics of Financial Crises in Argentina and Uruguay 2001-2003 Francisco Panizza  3. After Neoliberal Constitutionalism: Financial Crisis and State Resurgence in Russia and Argentina David M. Woodruff  4. The Neoliberalization of South Korea after the 1997 Economic Crisis: A Cultural Political Economy of Crisis Discourse and Management Joo-Hyoung Ji  5. The United States: Institutional Continuities, Reform, and "Critical Junctures" Edward Ashbee  6. Financialization, Financial Crisis, and Deficit Hysteria: Neoliberalism Redux Bob Jessop  7. A Critical Juncture in EU Integration? The Eurozone Crisis and its Management 2010-2012 Mathis Heinrich and Amelie Kutter  8. The Trouble with Economic Reform: Understanding the Debt Crisis in Spain and Italy Jonathan Hopkin  9. Greece and the Recent Financial crisis: Meltdown or Configuration? Sotirios Zartaloudis  10. The Promise and Peril of Smallness in World Markets: The Case of Financial Crisis in Denmark Martin B. Carstensen  Conclusion George Philip

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Francisco Panizza is Reader in Latin American Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

George Philip is Professor in Latin American Politics and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science.


"Trying to grasp the implications of financial upheavals since 2008, most commentators have drawn on a narrow range of European and American examples. Moments of Truth provides a crucial corrective by widening the range of comparisons. Contributors also offer insightful analyses of each, helping this book provide a much needed perspective not just on financial crises but also on their political and social implications."
—Craig Calhoun, Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science

"Everywhere, politicians, activists and academics are striving to make sense of a global financial and economic crisis. In this empirically rich, methodologically sophisticated and theoretically innovative book, some of the finest international scholars take a step back and ask how we make sense of such crises in the ways we do, why and with what effects. Through a series of highly illuminating case-studies, the book explores the ideas, institutions and actors that define contexts, specify options and shape choices in what is, after all political economy. It is a welcome contribution to debates in international political economy, comparative politics and political sociology."

—Alan Finlayson, University of East Anglia