In 2012, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, gave a series of lectures about the Federal Reserve and the 2008 financial crisis, as part of a course at George Washington University on the role of the Federal Reserve in the economy. In this unusual event, Bernanke revealed important background and insights into the central bank's crucial actions during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Taken directly from these historic talks, The Federal Reserve and the Financial Crisis offers insight into the guiding principles behind the Fed's activities and the lessons to be learned from its handling of recent economic challenges.
Bernanke traces the origins of the Federal Reserve, from its inception in 1914 through the Second World War, and he looks at the Fed post-1945, when it began operating independently from other governmental departments such as the Treasury. During this time the Fed grappled with episodes of high inflation, finally tamed by then-chairman Paul Volcker. Bernanke also explores the period under his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, known as the Great Moderation. Bernanke then delves into the Fed's reaction to the recent financial crisis, focusing on the central bank's role as the lender of last resort and discussing efforts that injected liquidity into the banking system. Bernanke points out that monetary policies alone cannot revive the economy, and he describes ongoing structural and regulatory problems that need to be addressed.
Providing first-hand knowledge of how problems in the financial system were handled, The Federal Reserve and the Financial Crisis will long be studied by those interested in this critical moment in history.
Ben S. Bernanke served as chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2014. He has also served as chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors and as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. Before his time in public service he was a professor of economics at Princeton University. His many books include Essays on the Great Depression and Inflation Targeting (both Princeton).
"Anyone interested in a primer on recent financial history will likely find Bernanke's book to be worthwhile reading."--Publishers Weekly
"The lectures are consistently lucid and informal . . . and above all intelligent and interesting. . . . [I]t would be difficult to find a better short and not very technical account of what went wrong, and of how the Fed (and the Treasury) managed to keep it from getting much worse."--Robert Solow, New Republic
"Readers who are not fans of the Fed chairman and his Keynesian, fiat-money policies should find as much of interest here as those who are; it's the sort of primary-source book that investors will scrutinize, politicians will seize on, pundits will plunder and generations of scholars will analyse. . . . [The Federal Reserve and the Financial Crisis] brings what Bernanke said in the classroom to a vastly larger audience; now, it's up to the readers of varying political and economic persuasions to make what they will of his behind-the-scenes account."--Alan Wallace, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
"This book is, in short, not just an excellent guide to the Fed and its response to the financial crisis, but also constitutes an important document of its time, a reflection that central banks can do some very effective short-term anti-crisis measures, but they cannot be miracle workers."--Harold James, Central Banking Journal
"The lectures, and Bernanke's answers to students' questions, are uniformly erudite, elegant and concise. Perhaps, the most arresting aspect of the lectures is the fascinating insight they provide into the thinking and motivation of the world's most powerful central banker."--Selwyn Cornish, Economic Record
Table of Contents:
Publisher's Note vii
Lecture 1 - Origins and Mission of the Federal Reserve 1
Lecture 2 - The Federal Reserve after World War II 29
Lecture 3 - The Federal Reserve's Response to the Financial Crisis 64
Lecture 4 - The Aftermath of the Crisis 97
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Ben S. Bernanke: