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The global financial system has proven increasingly unstable and crisis-prone since the early 1980s. The system has failed to serve either creditors or debtors well. This has been reinforced by the global financial crisis of 2008, where we have seen systemic weaknesses bring rich countries to the brink of bankruptcy and visit appalling suffering on the poorest citizens of poor countries. Yet the regulatory responses to this crisis have involved little thinking from outside the box in which the crisis was delivered to the world.
This book presents a powerful indictment of this regulatory failure and calls for greatly increased attention to international financial law and analyses new regulatory measures with the potential to make a new recognition of the principles that ought to underlie it. Using a historical approach that compares the various financial crises of the past three decades, the authors clearly show how misconceived economic policy responses have paved the way for each next ‘crash’. Among the numerous topics that arise in the course of this revealing analysis are the following:
• overvalued exchange rates;
• excess liquidity in rich countries;
• premature liberalisation of local financial markets;
• capital controls;
• derivatives markets;
• accounting standards;
• credit ratings and the conflicts in the role of credit rating agencies;
• investor protection arrangements;
• insurance companies; and
• payment, clearing and settlement activities.
The authors offer detailed commentary on: the role of multilateral development banks, the IMF and the WTO in responding to crises; the role of the Basel Accords, the Financial Stability Forum and Board, and the responses of the European Commission, the US, and the G20 to the most recent crisis.
The book concludes by exploring systemic game-changing reforms such as bank levies, financial activities taxes and financial transaction taxes, and a global sovereign bankruptcy regime; as well as measures to remove the currency mismatches from the balance sheets of developing countries.
Apart from its great usefulness as a detailed introduction to the international financial system and its regulation, the book is enormously valuable for its clear identification of the areas of regulatory failure, and its analysis of new regulatory approaches that offer the potential for a genuinely more stable system.
Banking and investment policymakers at every level, the lawyers that serve these markets and the regulators that seek to regulate them, cannot afford to neglect this book.