On Thursday, January 24th, Alan Blinder, former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve board, joined The Common Good for a special luncheon to discuss how our economy collapsed, how our government responded, and what needs to be done to get us back on track.
Blinder also discussed his brand-new book: “After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead”
”If you want to understand every aspect of our economic crisis—how we got into it, how we escaped a depression, why we haven’t fully recovered, and what we have to do now—read this book. It’s a masterpiece—simple, straightforward and wise.”
– President William J. Clinton“The best comprehensive history of the financial crisis so far makes the case for the US government response”
– John McDermott, FT(Excerpt)
Thursday, January 24th at the Friar’s Club
ABOUT ALAN S. BLINDER
Alan S. Blinder has been on thePrinceton faculty since 1971, taking time off from January 1993 through January 1996 for service in the U.S. government—first as a member of President Clinton’s original Council of Economic Advisers, and then as Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.In addition to his academic writings [books, academic articles] and his best-selling introductory textbook, he has written many newspaper and magazine columns and op-eds and, in recent years, has been a regular columnist for The Wall Street Journal.
He also appears frequently on television on PBS, CNBC, CNN, Bloomberg, and others. Dr. Blinder is a Distinguished Fellow and past vice president of the American Economic Association, a past president of the Eastern Economic Association, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
ABOUT “AFTER THE MUSIC STOPPED”
One of our wisest and most clear-eyed economic thinkers offers a masterful narrative of the crisis and its lessonsMany fine books on the financial crisis were first drafts of history—books written to fill the need for immediate understanding. Alan S. Blinder, esteemed Princeton professor, Wall Street Journal columnist, and former deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, held off, taking the time to understand the crisis and to think his way through to a truly comprehensive and coherent narrative of how the worst economic crisis in postwar American history happened, what the government did to fight it, and what we can do from here—mired as we still are in its wreckage.
With bracing clarity, Blinder shows us how the U.S. financial system, which had grown far too complex for its own good—and too unregulated for the public good—experienced a perfect storm beginning in 2007. Things started unraveling when the much-chronicled housing bubble burst, but the ensuing implosion of what Blinder calls the “bond bubble” was larger and more devastating. Some people think of the financial industry as a sideshow with little relevance to the real economy—where the jobs, factories, and shops are. But finance is more like the circulatory system of the economic body: if the blood stops flowing, the body goes into cardiac arrest. When America’s financial structure crumbled, the damage proved to be not only deep, but wide. It took the crisis for the world to discover, to its horror, just how truly interconnected—and fragile—the global financial system is. Some observers argue that large global forces were the major culprits of the crisis. Blinder disagrees, arguing that the problem started in the U.S. and was pushed abroad, as complex, opaque, and overrated investment products were exported to a hungry world, which was nearly poisoned by them.
The second part of the story explains how American and international government intervention kept us from a total meltdown. Many of the U.S. government’s actions, particularly the Fed’s, were previously unimaginable. And to an amazing—and certainly misunderstood—extent, they worked. The worst did not happen. Blinder offers clear-eyed answers to the questions still before us, even if some of the choices ahead are as divisive as they are unavoidable. After the Music Stopped is an essential history that we cannot afford to forget, because one thing history teaches is that it will happen again.
REVIEWS FOR AFTER THE MUSIC STOPPED
“If you want to understand every aspect of our economic crisis—how we got into it, how we escaped a depression, why we haven’t fully recovered, and what we have to do now—read this book. It’s a masterpiece—simple, straightforward and wise.”
—President William J. Clinton“The best comprehensive history of the financial crisis so far makes the case for the US government response” – John McDermott, Financial Times, 1/11/2013 (Excerpt here)
“True to his scholarly roots and informed by his practical insights, Alan Blinder has produced in After the Music Stopped both a comprehensive and, mirabile dictu, engagingly readable analysis of the great financial crisis. Whether or not one agrees with every particular judgment, the force of the argument is clear: here we are, four years later, still short of reforms that are needed.”
—Paul A. Volcker
“Alan Blinder is one of the world’s best informed and most balanced, sensible economists. His credentials include years as a senior adviser in the Clinton White House, then as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve and as regular op-ed contributor to the Wall Street Journal. After the Music Stopped is the best account available of what really happened in the 2008 financial crisis, why and what it now means for the future.”
“Of all the books that I have read on the topic—and I have read quite a few—After the Music Stopped provides the most authoritative account of the why, how and what of the global financial crisis. This highly readable analysis takes you brilliantly through the construction of America’s fragile house of financial cards, its sudden and dramatic collapse and, as important, the difficult reconstruction and rehabilitation work that must still be done. Whether you are interested in current affairs or in history, read this book if you want an expert and well-written analysis of how economics and politics interacted to create one big mess, not just for America but also for the global economy.”
—Mohamed A. El-Erian