The Squam Lake Report: Fixing the Financial System

By Kenneth R. French; Martin N. Baily et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Introduction

The financial system promotes our economic welfare by helping borrowers obtain funding from savers and by transferring risks. During the World Financial Crisis, which started in 2007 and seems to have ebbed as we write in 2010, the financial system struggled to perform these critical tasks. The resulting turmoil contributed to a sharp decline in economic output and employment around the globe.

The extraordinary policy interventions during the Crisis helped stabilize the financial system so that banks and other financial institutions could again support economic growth. Though the Crisis led to a severe downturn, a repeat of the Great Depression has so far been averted. The interventions by governments around the world have left us, however, with enormous sovereign debts that threaten decades of slow growth, higher taxes, and the dangers of sovereign default or inflation.

How do we prevent a replay of the World Financial Crisis? This is one of the most important policy questions confronting the world today, and it remains unanswered. In this book, we offer recommendations to strengthen the financial system and thereby reduce the likelihood of such

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