Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit
(Princeton University Press, 2014)
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In the wake of the 2008–2009 financial crisis a pervasive view began to emerge of banking as an inherently unstable occupation that must be tightly regulated and monitored by government agencies. Charles Calomiris and co‐author Stephen Haber overturn this notion by presenting an inconvenient truth: not all countries suffer systemic banking crises. Some countries have managed to create a system that provides abundant credit without the propensity for banks to fail. So what is their secret? The answer is equally simple: The well‐being of a banking sector depends on the ability of political institutions to limit rent‐seeking by populist groups. Join the Cato Institute for a lively discussion of the true causes of the financial crisis and whether in light of the evidence presented by the authors the antidote (Dodd‐Frank) causes more problems than it solves.