Monetary History Study Group
Waseda Institute of Political Economy, the Global Economic History Study Group Workshop (co-hosted by the Center for Positive/Empirical Analysis of Political Economy of the Top Global University Project, Waseda University; Japan Society of Monetary Economics (JSME), Monetary History Study Group on July 3.
Date:16:30-18:00, July 3, Wednesday
Venue:Room 306 on the 3rd floor, the 3rd Building, Waseda Campus
Speaker:Mark Metzler (University of Washington and Waseda University)
Title:An Outline History of Financial Crises
My outline history of financial crises starts with Joseph Schumpeter’s insight that business cycles are intrinsic to and essentially constitutive of the capitalistprocess. To trace the history of business cycles is to trace the history of the core capitalist process itself. Schumpeter, however, viewed bubbles and crashes?crises?as epiphenomenal and non-intrinsic to the capitalist process. Following Schumpeter’s ownlogic, I argue rather that crises are the most revealing moments of all. By definition, crises are the moments when critical thresholds are reached. They are the moments when self-reinforcing feedback loops that have begun to generate exponential growth ofclaims to wealth suddenly stop, when structures of wealth and authority collapse, when trends reverse, and when a new tendency replaces the old one. It is enormously productive to begin with such moments. For this, a useful counterpart to Schumpeter is thesemi-popular survey by Charles Kindleberger, Manias, Panics, and Crashes, which aimed for a schematic typology of the phases of a typical crisis. Kindleberger’s work thus offers what Schumpeter’s work lacked. However, Kindleberger set aside all discussionof the business-cyclic processes of which crises form the signal moments. His study also disavowed chronological order, make the history on which he drew incoherent to most readers. My talk, as a charter statement for a new book project, brings these two approachestogether. It discusses why crises are so productive of insights into the history of capitalism, explores the geographical location of crises within long-distance networks, and sketches a chronology of the earliest well documented crises. These go back at leastseven centuries, to the time international capitalist networks were first taking form.
Hosted by Waseda Institute of Political Economy (WINPEC), Global Economic History Study Group(organizer; Prof. Masato Shizume)
Co-hosted by the Center for Positive/Empirical Analysis of Political Economy of the Top Global University Project, Waseda University; Japan Society of Monetary Economics (JSME), Monetary History Study Group