Cowardly Capitalism

In: Uncategorized

22 Jul 2006

My interest in anti-growth sentiment started while working on Cowardly Capitalism, my book on the global financial markets. I began to realise that the critics of the markets often assumed that financial instability was a result of economic dynamism. If only the economy was less dynamic, they seemed to be arguing, then the financial “casino” would be less of a problem. I came to the opposite conclusion. For me the rise of the financial markets was largely a symptom of economic atrophy.

The book was initially spurred on by the 1997-8 Asian financial crisis. Many commentators, some implicitly some explicitly, argued that the crisis was a result of the previous period of rapid economic growth in the region. To me, in contrast, financial instability was a result of a combination of economic lethargy in the West and risk aversion. The solution was not a new “international financial architecture” to use the favoured phrase of the time. Instead it was important to counter risk aversion and promote further growth.