Harold James, "Seven Crashes: The Economic Crises That Shaped Globalization" (Yale UP, 2023)


In Seven Crashes: The Economic Crises That Shaped Globalization (Yale UP, 2023), distinguished economic historian Harold James offers a fresh perspective on the past two centuries of globalization and the pivotal moments that shaped it. James analyzes seven major economic crises that occurred over this period, including the late 1840s, the simultaneous stock market shocks of 1873, the First World War years, the Great Depression era, the 1970s, the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008, and most recently the Covid-19 crisis. Through his insightful analysis, he illustrates how some of these crises contributed to increased cross-border integration of labor, goods, and capital markets, while others resulted in significant deglobalization.

James classifies the crises into two categories: those caused by shortages and those driven by demand. He explains how shortages have led to greater globalization as markets expanded and producers innovated to increase supply, as evidenced by events such as the First World War and the oil shocks of the 1970s. In contrast, demand-driven crises, such as those that caused the Great Depression and the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008, have typically led to international trade contraction and decreased globalization, often accompanied by widespread skepticism of governments.

To support his findings, James examines the writings of key observers who shaped our understanding of each crisis, including Karl Marx in 1848, Stanley Jevons, Léon Walras, and Carl Menger in the 1870s, German Treasury Secretary Karl Helfferich in the First World War, John Maynard Keynes in the Great Depression, Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek in the 1970s, Ben Bernanke in 2008, and Larry Summers and Raj Chetty in 2020.

Overall, James' work provides an insightful and thought-provoking analysis of the relationship between economic crises and globalization over the past two centuries, and sheds light on the potential trajectory of future economic developments.

Javier Mejia is an economist at Stanford University who specializes in the intersection of social networks and economic history. His research interests also include entrepreneurship and political economy, with a particular focus on Latin America and the Middle East. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Los Andes University. Mejia has previously been a Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer at New York University-Abu Dhabi and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Bordeaux. He is also a frequent contributor to various news outlets, currently serving as an op-ed columnist for Forbes Magazine.

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Javier Mejia

Javier Mejia is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Political Science Department at Stanford University.

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