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Book review: The Shifts and the Shock – Martin Wolf (2014)



The Shifts and the Shocks: What We’ve Learned – and Have Still to Learn – from the Financial Crisis by the Financial Time’s chief economics commentator Martin Wolf, asks what the 2008 financial crisis should have taught us about economies.

The book considers the causes of the global financial crisis and the resulting consequences. Wolf argues a global system created imbalances and a fragile financial system that are both complex, were the origins of the crisis. He says that in the EU, the defective architecture of the monetary union amplified this. As the author goes through the causes, he identifies and demonstrates just how many flaws existed in the global financial system.

The book then moves on and looks at how the world has adapted and where it still needs to change in order to mitigate any further crisis.  Wolf asks if we are now on a sustainable course when it comes to finance, and concludes that we are not, arguing further crises in the future seem like a certainty. Wolf then sets out his own ideas for how to change this and ensure that the future is more stable.

The book’s look at the financial crisis offers a deep and broad perspective, going beyond other books that have looked at the subject.

The Shifts and the Shocks is a must read for anybody interested in economics and the financial world. It covers complex and detailed topics but still presents them in a way that is understandable and interesting.