What can or should be done to ward off or alleviate the effect of financial crises? The papers in this book examine this question, focusing on particular crises, notably those of 1836, 1873, 1920 and 1929. Based on a historical consideration of the nature and propagation of financial crises, the major theoretical issues raised by the contributors centre on whether a financial system, of a nation or of the capitalist world as a whole, is fragile or robust. Although no precise definitions are agreed upon, financial crises are distinguished from crises of unemployment or crises of wartime devastation. The book is based on the papers and proceedings of a conference held in Bad Homberg, West Germany, in May 1979 under the auspices of the Maison de Science de I'Homme and with the support of the Werner-Reimers Stiftung.
1. Introduction Charles P. Kindleberger and Jean-Pierre Laffargue; Part I: Theory: 2. The financial-instability hypothesis: capitalist processes and the behaviour of the economy Hyman P. Minsky; Part II. History: 3. The 1907 financial crisis in Italy: a peculiar case of the lender of last resort in action Franco Bonelli; 4 Central banking and foreign trade: the Anglo-American cycle in the 1830s Maurice Levy-Leboyer; 5. Domestic and foreign expectations and the demand for money during the German inflation 1920-1923 Carl L. Holtfrerich; 6. The sterling system and financial crises before 1914 L. S. Pressnell; Part III. Policy: 7. Policy in the crises of 1920 and 1929 D. E. Moggridge; 8. Central banks and foreign-exchange crises today Paul Coulbois; 9. Less developed countries' rising indebtedness and the lender of last resort in international context Joel Metais; 10. On the lender of last resort Robert M. Soloit; 11. Financial fragility and instability: monetary authorities as borrowers and lenders of the last resort Warren D. McClam.