What I Learned at the Financial Crisis: A Cautionary Tale of Complex Policy Making

This week we continue a series of six podcasts on the “Political Cultures of the European Union”. The series of events was organized by Vivien Schmidt, Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration and Director of the Center for International Relations at Boston University, as part of the Institute for Human Sciences European Commission sponsored project “Getting to Know the European Union: European Culture(s) in Focus.” The lectures explore the diversity of political perceptions and traditions among the citizens and member states of the European Union, addressing philosophical issues as well as empirical ones.

Today’s podcast is an unedited recording of an October 21, 2009 luncheon discussion with Mark Blyth, a professor of International Political Economy at Brown University. In his fast paced talk, Blyth explained the ins and outs of the financial crisis, elucidating what is going on beyond the surface, using imagery to bring to life the current situation. He likened the crisis to past “bubbles,” suggesting that the recent financial crisis was a result of all of these bubbles converging. To illustrate the perceptions and opinions of people in the financial industry, Blyth shared excerpts from interviews with industry leaders. Many of the quotes are shocking, revealing a great sense of confusion in the industry. He concluded by suggesting that even if we manage to weather the current crisis, there is another crisis developing that will be even more difficult to overcome, in particular given how much the US has spent on the current one.

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