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The Diplomacy of the Financial Crisis in Context

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Until the 1980s, financial crises were caused by governments. But thereafter the private sector became the main culprit. The reforms introduced after the Asian crisis of the late 1990s were not properly implemented. Responsibility for financial stability became fragmented and the normal practices of economic diplomacy were abandoned. The crisis of 2007 thus caught governments unawares and obliged them to adopt extreme measures to avoid catastrophe. The decision-making that was associated with these measures gave more power to emerging markets through the G20. It ended the fragmentation of authority and achieved reasonable consistency of national, European and international financial reforms. It introduced stringent new rules in place of regulatory capture. But this progress was fragile: G7 members still tried to control the G20; the new reforms depended on national enforcement; and governments still needed too much from the banks to be able to discipline them completely. This crisis might be over, but it has left the seeds of the next one.

Affiliations: 1: London School of Economics and Political Science Houghton Street,London WC2A 2AE United Kingdom, Email:


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