Photo illustration by Darrow: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan bookend two decades of economic missteps.
Behind the debate over remaking US financial policy will be a debate over who's to blame. It's crucial to get the history right, writes a Nobel-laureate economist, identifying five key mistakes - under Reagan, Clinton and Bush II - and one national delusion.
by Joseph E. Stiglitz, Vanity Fair | January 2009
There will come a moment when the most urgent threats posed by the credit crisis have eased and the larger task before us will be to chart a direction for the economic steps ahead. This will be a dangerous moment. Behind the debates over future policy is a debate over history - a debate over the causes of our current situation. The battle for the past will determine the battle for the present. So it's crucial to get the history straight.
What were the critical decisions that led to the crisis? Mistakes were made at every fork in the road - we had what engineers call a "system failure," when not a single decision but a cascade of decisions produce a tragic result. Let's look at five key moments.
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