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The Introduction provides a guided tour of the content of the book, highlighting its main themes and historical sequences of crises and slumps. It discusses the frequency and intensity of recessions; the relationship between war and recessions; the impact of hyperinflation on economic activity; the role of currency crashes, debt, and macroeconomic crises on output; and the role played by populist political cycles in producing severe economic contractions.
Chapter 3 studies the impact of World War I and World War II on aggregate economic activity in the countries engaged in these two armed conflicts. The chapter shows a variety of effects (stimulus, slump, economic disintegration) and seeks to explain many contributing factor (including levels of defense spending) in generating these different outcomes. The chapter also examines the causes and consequences of hyperinflation in Austria, Hungary, Germany, Poland, and Soviet Russia in the first half of the 1920s.
Chapter 6 examines severe and protracted economic contractions following the Great Recession of 2008–09 in two countries on the European periphery: Latvia and Greece. It documents the evolution of main macroeconomic aggregates and social indicators in these two countries before, during, and after the 2008–09 crisis. The chapter also critically examines the role played by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other European institutions in the design and implementation of austerity in these economies, and draws lessons for other nations from these two experiences. The chapter also discusses the futility of democratic consultation (referendums) in Greece for the amelioration of conditionality and austerity.
Chapter 2 provides an overview of theories and empirics of recession and depression, reviewing Austrian, Keynesian, and monetarist financial theories, and secular stagnation approaches to economic slumps. It looks at international , national, and regional recessions and the different shapes of business cycles (V, U, L and W). The chapter also discusses international dimensions of slumps and the scope and limits for undertaking countercyclical policies.
Chapter 8 studies the record of macroeconomic and financial crises, high inflation episodes, currency collapses, political crises, and collapses of democracy in Latin America and the financial crises and recession episodes in East Asian economies in the period 1970–2015. The chapter focuses on countries – such as Argentina and Venezuela – with high incidence of growth, inflation, and political crises, and also examines the cases of Chile and Mexico. The chapter examines the effects of the East Asian crisis of 1997–98 on Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia (the Asia-5 countries) and compares its impact on China, Vietnam, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The chapter offers a discussion on a wide variety of crisis and stabilization occurrences in a comparative perspective, highlighting economic and political economy factors.
This chapter summarizes the main episodes of output contraction and crises across subsequent decades and relevant sub-periods in the long twentieth century. It interprets the main findings of the book and draws lessons for the design and implementation of policies that can be effective to anticipate and cope with macrocrises and main recessions.
This chapter focuses on growth transition from the “Golden Age” (from 1950 to the early 1970s) of rapid growth, lower wealth inequality, and the absence of international financial crises during the stagflation in the 1970s (inflation, monetary instability, stagnation) and then to the neoliberal era (with volatile growth and frequent crises) in the core economies of North America and western Europe. The chapter identifies both economic and political economy factors surrounding the stagflation of the 1970s, in the context of challenges to US hegemony, and postauthoritarian transition in southern Europe. The chapter examines the frequency and intensity of recessive episodes and their impact on per capita GDP and investment from 1970 to 2015, affecting both core advanced countries and the European periphery.
This chapter focuses on the rise and fall of growth and the incidence of recessions in centrally planned socialist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the former Soviet Union. It studies the period of rapid growth and socialist industrialization in the 1950s and 1960s, the socialist stagnation of the 1970s, and the terminal decade of the 1980s. It discusses the rapid accumulation of foreign debt in convertible currencies in some socialist countries as an attempt to revert symptoms of stagnation and the effect of the debt crises of the early 1980s, with responses ranging from full repayment under extreme self-imposed austerity (in Romania) and attempted rescheduling in other countries. It examines the causes for deep contractions in several CEE countries, Russia, and Ukraine in the early 1990s and the impact of the crisis of 2008–09.
Chapter 4 documents the worldwide intensity and duration of the Great Depression and focuses on the causes and consequences of the Depression in center and periphery economies. It examines the role played by the gold exchange standard, the lack of an international hegemonic power to coordinate and guide an effective international response to the shock, the response of monetary and fiscal policies, the timing of leaving the gold standard, and other factors. The chapter discusses the role of price deflation in exacerbating/ameliorating economic decline and the effects of war preparation in the United States, Germany, and other countries to put these economies back in a growth track.
This book examines the array of financial crises, slumps, depressions and recessions that happened around the globe during the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. It covers events including World War I, hyperinflation and market crashes in the 1920s, the Great Depression of the 1930s, stagflation of the 1970s, the Latin American debt crises of the 1980s, the post-socialist transitions in Central Eastern Europe and Russia in the 1990s, and the great financial crisis of 2008–9. In addition to providing wide geographic and historical coverage of episodes of crisis in North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia, the book clarifies basic concepts in the area of recession economics, analysis of high inflation, debt crises, political cycles and international political economy. An understanding of these concepts is needed to comprehend big recessions and slumps that often lead to both political change and the reassessment of prevailing economic paradigms.