Nowhere to Hide: The Great Financial Crisis and Challenges for Asia

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Institute of Southeast Asian, 2010 - Political Science - 174 pages
This book takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the great financial crisis of 2007-09. It combines the disciplines of economics, finance, sociology and politics to analyse the causes, consequences and challenges of the crisis. The authors propose that the causes of the crisis should be understood at three inter-related levels - the level of theory and ideology; the level of financial industry practices and malpractices; and finally the level of structural imbalances in the international economy. Above all, the book is historical and holistic in perspective. This book is an excellent read for the critical layman interested in understanding the causes that underlie the global financial crisis. The authors combine the inquisitive and critical mind of a scholar and the lucid writing style of a journalist. The book provides a perspective on the crisis that is both practical and down to earth and at the same time, rigorous and holistic. Khor Hoe Ee, Chief Economist, Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, and former Assistant Managing Director, Economics, Monetary Authority of Singapore The authors trace the rise of finance and its domination over the real economy, the consequences of financial innovation and deregulation for systemic fragility, and the failure of conventional economic and financial theory to analyse and anticipate the consequent dangers. Their main original contribution is to relate these Western market developments to recent trends in the East Asian region and to call for appropriate systemic reforms, not only to avoid similar future crises, but also to address other underlying development and analytical problems. K.S. Jomo, Assistant Secretary General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations In linking wealth and income distribution to financial instability, this book makes an important point that is often missed in the debate on the crisis. Central Banks have become strongly opposed to the idea of accommodating wage demands with the help of monetary easing, but they have been increasingly tolerant, or even supportive, of debt-financed consumption and asset inflation. Indeed, by serving to concentrate wealth further in the hands of a small rentier class, while protecting that class from the risks of debt defaults, they are only adding to systemic pressures that give rise to serious financial crises. Yilmaz Akyuz, Special Economic Advisor, South Centre, and former Chief Economist at United Nations Conference for Trade and Development
 

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Contents

1 The Power and Pitfalls of Theory
1
2 Financial Innovations and Industry Practices
16
3 The Financial Industry Dominates Again
44
4 Structural Changes and Three Macroeconomic Imbalances
60
5 Impact on Asia and Challenges Ahead
83
6 The Three Contested Terrains
114
Bibliography
133
Index
150
About the Authors
173
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

 • Michael Lim Mah-Hui is a Senior Fellow at the Asian Public Intellectuals Program, Nippon Foundation. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Social-Economic and Environment Research Institute (SERI) in Penang, Malaysia.

• Lim Chin is currently an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Business Administration at the National University of Singapore. He was a formerly a tenured Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. His published works are in the areas of microeconomics, industrial organization theory, and applied economics.

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