In This Review

Governing Global Finance: The Evolution and Reform of the International Financial Architecture
Governing Global Finance: The Evolution and Reform of the International Financial Architecture
By Anthony Elson
Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, 288 pp

Drawing on his experience as a senior adviser at the International Monetary Fund, Elson describes and assesses the international financial architecture -- not simply the relations among national monetary authorities but also the whole set of official and quasi-official bodies and conventions charged with overseeing cross-border financial transactions. The book recounts past international financial crises, including the most recent one, and tracks the evolution of thinking about how to respond to them, especially since the debt crisis of the 1980s. The 2008 financial crisis, Elson argues, revealed the international financial system’s woeful inability to anticipate breakdowns and minimize their damage. He makes a host of recommendations, some controversial, including imposing a tax on the nondeposit liabilities of systemically important financial institutions, to discourage them from excessively risky leveraging.