The macroeconomic stabilisation policies which were put in place in most countries hit by the financial and economic crisis of 2008 - 09 have been successful in preventing a great depression. Economic policy has witnessed a certain "return of Keynesianism" (see, e.g., Dullien et al. 2010), but it is a strange sort of Keynesianism. Hyman Minsky's (1986 ) famous question of how to "stabilise an unstable economy" in the light of "financial fragility" is still the burning question of our time. Minsky's answer to the question was "big government". Keynes's vision was one of not merely stabilising the economy, but also one of creating a more equal society. However, this is not what Keynesian, anti-cyclical policies are aiming at today.
With the crisis the 'efficient market' consensus in academia and politics has begun to crack. There has been, at least so it appeared for a few months, a new consensus in economic policy that financial markets need to be tightly regulated and that under some conditions discretionary stabilisation policies can be necessary in the face of negative aggregate demand shocks. But if there is to be veritable "return of Keynesianism", it will require more thorough revisions and in particular a rethinking of the role of inequality, which, as many argue, contributed importantly to the global crisis.
In light of these remaining global problems, unequal national economic outlooks, and the return of the austerity policies, the initial success of the stabilisation policies put in place since 2008 - 09 may turn out to be insufficient. This raises the following questions: Are the present policies merely stabilising an unsustainable accumulation regime based on income polarisation and the dominance of financial markets? What are the economic and political implications of rising public debt? How can financial regulation contribute to stability as well as equity? These questions are addressed, among others, in this book.
Torsten Niechoj, Özlem Onaran, Engelbert Stockhammer, Achim Truger and Till van Treeck
I. Structural causes of and solutions to the crisis
Financialisation, re-distribution, and the financial and economic crisis ? a Kaleckian perspective
An analysis of the causes of the 'Great Recession' and some policy implications
Philip Arestis and Elias Karakitsos
The panorama of the crisis in Europe
Riccardo Bellofiore and Joseph Halevi
II. How to deal with the rise in public debt after the crisis?
An alternative approach to the problem of the public debt
Is the US on an unsustainable path? Lessons from the past as detailed by Reinhart and Rogoff
Randall Wray and Yeva Nersisyan
Progressive approaches to budget deficits
Growth-friendly fiscal consolidation
EU public finances in the crisis
Catherine Mathieu and Henri Sterdyniak
Strengthening the automatic stabilisers in Europe: Why, what and how
III. Financial markets and regulation
Central bank swaps and joint exchange rate interventions rescued global finance in 1982 ? 85, again in 2006 ? 09. Historical, laboratory and theoretical evidence for a single currency
Robin Pope and Reinhard Selten
IV. Wages and inequality
Financial crisis and gender inequality
Financialisation, corporate governance and income distribution in the U.S. and Germany: Introducing an adjusted wage share indicator
From rags to riches? Intergenerational transmission of income in the European Union
Matthias Schnetzer and Wilfried Altzinger
Wages in the crisis - update
V. Long-run alternatives to an unstable and unequal economy
Keynes in the long run: Growth with unlimited supplies of labour
Ecological economics and economic growth
Peter A. Victor