Ilene Grabel

When Things Don’t Fall Apart

Global Financial Governance and Developmental Finance in an Age of Productive Incoherence

MIT Press 2017

New Books in EconomicsNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Political ScienceNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network August 7, 2018 Andrea Bernardi

We spoke with Ilene Grabel, Professor at the University of Denver and Co-director of the MA program in Global Finance, Trade & Economic Integration at the Josef...

We spoke with Ilene Grabel, Professor at the University of Denver and Co-director of the MA program in Global Finance, Trade & Economic Integration at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Ilene just published a very timely, interesting and important book on the evolution of the global financial governance and its institutions: When Things Don’t Fall Apart: Global Financial Governance and Developmental Finance in an Age of Productive Incoherence (MIT Press, 2017).

In the foreword, Dani Rodrick from Harvard University defines the book as follows: “It happens only rarely and is all the more pleasurable because of it. You pick up a manuscript that fundamentally changes the way you look at certain things. This is one such book. Ilene Grabel has produced a daring and delightful reinterpretation of developments in global finance since the Asian financial crisis of 1997–1998.”

The book is an account of the gradual, uneven, disconnected, ad hoc, and pragmatic innovations in global financial governance and developmental finance induced by the global financial crisis.

In When Things Don’t Fall Apart, Ilene Grabel challenges the dominant view that the global financial crisis had little effect on the financial institutions. Most observers discount all but grand, systemic ruptures in institutions and policy. Grabel argues instead that the global crisis induced inconsistent and ad hoc discontinuities in global financial governance and developmental finance that are now having profound effects on emerging market and developing economies.

Grabel’s chief normative claim is that the resulting incoherence in global financial governance is productive rather than debilitating. In the age of productive incoherence, a more complex, dense, fragmented, and pluripolar form of global financial governance is expanding possibilities for policy and institutional experimentation, policy space for economic and human development, financial stability and resilience, and financial inclusion.

All this in a very enjoyable book that students, scholars, policymakers and managers of financial institutions should read right now.


Andrea Bernardi is Senior Lecturer in Employment and Organization Studies at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. He holds a doctorate in Organization Theory from the University of Milan, Bicocca. He has held teaching and research positions in Italy, China and the UK. Among his research interests are the use of history in management studies, the co-operative sector, and Chinese co-operatives. His latest project is looking at health care in rural China. He is the co-convener of the EAEPE’s permanent track on Critical Management Studies.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial