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Enduring capital flow constraints and the 2007–2008 financial and euro zone crises

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Thompson, Helen 


jats:p This article analyses the 2007–2008 financial and the euro zone crises through the lens of an international capital flows crisis for European banks and the euro zone periphery. The notion of a specific Anglo-American weakness created by extreme financialisation and then made manifest in the financial crisis cannot explain why the experience of large commercial and universal French, German and UK banks during the two crises was much more similar to each other than the similarity between that of UK banks and US banks. Internationalised balance sheets, and in particular a dollar funding dependency, left these French, German and UK banks extremely vulnerable to crisis. French and German banks faced the same dollar funding crises at different junctures during the financial and euro zone crises, and from May 2010 to December 2012, these crises track the development of the euro zone crisis as experienced in the periphery. This dollar dependency ultimately made the survival of these banks dependent on financial support from the Federal Reserve Board, showing the limits of what states, other than the United States, can do to bailout financial corporations. For the periphery economies, the euro zone crisis recreated pre-monetary union problems with capital flight in a new form and created a new problem around access to emergency credit that led directly to a loss of economic and political autonomy. </jats:p>jats:p As international market-based banking took hold across advanced-country economies, European banks stood at the centre of a large increase in international capital flows. Acute disruption of these flows was central to the experience of large French, German and UK banks during the 2007–2008 financial crisis and the euro zone crisis and to the euro zone periphery during the euro zone crisis. The crises around these flows show the explanatory importance of structural external constraints in understanding the economic and political predicaments of financialised economies both in terms of destabilising international financial markets and the power dynamics created by access to emergency credit. </jats:p>



4408 Political Science, 44 Human Society

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The British Journal of Politics and International Relations

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SAGE Publications