Slipping the Surly Bonds: Reagan's Challenger Address

Slipping the Surly Bonds: Reagan's Challenger Address

Slipping the Surly Bonds: Reagan's Challenger Address

Slipping the Surly Bonds: Reagan's Challenger Address


It is often argued that international financial regulation has been substantially strengthened over the past decades through the international harmonization of financial regulation. There are, however, still frequent outbreaks of painful financial crises, including the recent 2008 global financial crisis. This raises doubts about the conventional claims of the strengthening of international financial regulation.

This book provides an in-depth political economy study of the adoptions in Japan, Korea and Taiwan of the 1988 Basel Capital Accord, the now so-called Basel I, which has been at the center of international banking regulation over the past three decades, highlighting the domestic politics surrounding it. The book illustrates that, despite bankse(tm) formal compliance with the Accord in these countries, their compliance was often cosmetic due to extensive regulatory forbearance that allowed their real capital soundness to weaken. Domestic politics thus ultimately determined national implementations of the Accord. This book provides its novel innovative study of the Accord through scores of interviews with bank regulators and analysis of various primary documents. It suggests that the actual effectiveness of international financial regulation relies ultimately on the domestic politics surrounding it. It implies as well that the past trend of international harmonization of financial regulation may be illusory, to at least some extent, in terms of its actual effectiveness.

This book may interest not only political economists but also scholars working on the intersection of law, economics and institutions.


January 28, 1986, was cold. Far too cold, as it happened, to attempt a safe flight of the space shuttle. Yet the attempt was made, with disastrous consequences for the astronauts—Michael Smith, Richard Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe, the “Teacher in Space.” Because this was the “Teacher in Space” flight, hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren were watching as the shuttle exploded, leaving a double trail of smoke and debris as it fell majestically into the sea. And because video of the explosion existed, that footage was played and replayed in a seemingly endless loop of despair throughout the day. Even those who had not watched the initial explosion saw it over and over as every major television channel devoted the day to discussions of the disaster and speculations about its causes and consequences.

President Ronald Reagan, scheduled to give his annual State of the Union address that night, was meeting with the media when the shuttle exploded. His first thoughts were for the families of the astronauts; his second concern was for the space program. The children were also very much on everyone’s mind, for an unprecedented number of them had watched the live broadcast of the “Teacher in Space” mission, and they would need both comfort and reassurance. It was the president’s job to offer them that comfort and reassurance, just as it was his job to speak to NASA and to the astronauts’ families.

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