Out of Crisis: Rethinking Our Financial Markets

Book Info

  • Length: 176 pages
  • Trim size: 6" x 9"

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  • ISBN: 978-1-59451-727-3
  • Publish date: December 2009
  • List Price: $28.95
  • Your Price: $24.61

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  • ISBN: 978-1-61205-412-4
  • Publish date: January 2013
  • List Price: $163.00
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  • ISBN: 978-1-59451-726-6
  • Publish date: December 2009
  • List Price: $163.00
  • Your Price: $138.55


Former Federal Reserve chair Greenspan recently said that the risk management paradigm is broken; thus our understanding of financial regulation no longer makes sense. More generally, the current financial crisis obliges us to rethink the relationships among “financial markets” and “governments.”

Out of Crisis shows how markets are a form of social and political organization. Consequently, the divide between markets and governments that continues to structure thought across the political spectrum is too simplistic. The prejudices of the left (government should act when markets fail, because something must be done), and of the right (governments should defer to markets, which are more efficient) do not really come to grips with the question raised by the current crisis: How should we as a society reconstruct our various financial markets?

In Out of Crisis financial analyst David Westbrook illuminates the intellectual, business, and policy errors that have led us into the present morass. Through a vivid legal and political analysis he shows how the ideologies of the right and left have distorted financial thinking and policy. Learning from these errors, the book sketches the emergence of a new understanding of risk management and bureaucratic regulation. Out of Crisis begins the tasks of rethinking the structures that constitute financial markets and exploring how such structures may be strengthened. Taking responsibility for the markets we build to do so much of our society’s work, we may yet become mature capitalists.

  • Vivid writing and learned assessment from a leading international analyst.
  • Show how the mistakes and lessons of the past can inform new market regulation.
  • For any reader who seeks an understanding of the present financial crisis.

Author Info

David A. Westbrook regularly speaks around the world to governments and international organizations (including NATO) as well as academics across many disciplines. His books include Navigators of the Contemporary: Why Ethnography Matters (2008) and Out of Crisis: Rethinking Our Financial Markets (Paradigm 2009). Westbrook is Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York.


“The recent crisis involved an extraordinary sequence of financial market failures. Too many economists had assumed that that could never happen, partly because they had not appreciated the wider social, legal, and institutional context which normally enables such markets to operate. In this beautifully written and gripping book, David Westbrook employs wide-ranging social science skills to make us aware of this wider context, and thereby to see markets, and their occasional failures, in a new light. I found it fascinating, original and illuminating.”
Charles Goodhart is an expert in money and banking, with a long career in the Bank of England, on the UK Monetary Policy Committee, and at the London School of Economics and Political Science

“Professor Westbrook’s fascinating new book is not just an exegesis of the recent financial crisis—it is a compelling and entertaining diatribe against some of the sacred cows of finance, among them the notions that markets are presumed efficient, corporations can self-regulate, sophistication matters, risk management reduces risk, and securities regulation makes markets transparent. Westbrook takes all of these ideas out back behind their once-sturdy intellectual shed and pumps them full of lead. He then provides a regulatory roadmap that will be an important part of the debate about the future of market capitalism.”
Frank Partnoy, Professor of Law at the University of San Diego and author of Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets

“Out of Crisis: Rethinking our Financial Markets provides clear elucidation on the shaky foundations upon which our financial system was built. … Westbrook points to the need for a rethink of finance and suggests in this respect a better interdisciplinary dialogue between law and finance.”
International Finance


An Introduction to the Argument

Chapter 1 The Suddenly Obvious and the Already Decided
Chapter 2 Melodramatic Narratives
Chapter 3 Blue Water: the Allure of Modern Finance
Chapter 4 Tragedy and Law

Chapter 5 Policy Thought, Regulation, Innovation
Chapter 6 Constructing Healthy Markets
Chapter 7 Metaphors for Thinking Socially About Capitalism

Chapter 8 Restoring Confidence (Cleaning Up After a Crash)
Chapter 9 Confronting Systemic Risk
Chapter 10 The Old Questions, the Old Answers

Conclusion: Fears and Other Possibilities

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