September 5, 2018, IMF Blog

The global financial crisis remains one of the defining events of our time. It will forever mark the generation that lived through it. The fallout from the crisis—the heavy economic costs borne by ordinary people combined with the anger at seeing banks bailed out and bankers enjoying impunity, at a time when real wages continued to stagnate—is among the key factors in explaining the backlash against globalization, particularly in advanced economies, and the erosion of trust in government and other institutions.

In this sense, the crisis cast a long shadow, which shows no sign of going away any time soon. Yet the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers—what I once referred to as a “holy cow” moment—gives us an opportunity to evaluate the response to the crisis over the past decade.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers provoked a broader run on the financial system, leading to systemic crisis. All told, twenty-four countries fell victim to banking crises, and economic activity has still not returned to trend in most of them. One study suggests that the average American will lose $70,000 in lifetime income because of the crisis. Governments continue to feel the pinch too. Public debt in advanced economies rose by more than 30 percentage points of GDP—partly due to economic weakness, partly due to efforts to stimulate the economy, and partly due to bailing out failing banks.

We are now facing new, post-crisis, fault lines. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »