From Crisis to Crisis: The Global Financial System and Regulatory Failure

15 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2012 Last revised: 3 Feb 2012

See all articles by Ross P. Buckley

Ross P. Buckley

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Douglas W. Arner

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 1, 2011


The global financial system has proven increasingly unstable and crisis-prone since the early 1980s. The system has failed to serve either creditors or debtors well. This has been reinforced by the global financial crisis of 2008, where we have seen systemic weaknesses bring rich countries to the brink of bankruptcy and visit appalling suffering on the poorest citizens of poor countries. Yet the regulatory responses to this crisis have involved little thinking from outside the box in which the crisis was delivered to the world.

This book presents a powerful indictment of this regulatory failure and calls for greatly increased attention to international financial law and analyses new regulatory measures with the potential to make a new recognition of the principles that ought to underlie it.

Using a historical approach that compares the various financial crises of the past three decades, the authors clearly show how misconceived economic policy responses have paved the way for each next ‘crash’. Among the numerous topics that arise in the course of this revealing analysis are the following: overvalued exchange rates; excess liquidity in rich countries; premature liberalization of local financial markets; capital controls; derivatives markets; accounting standards; credit ratings and the conflicts in the role of credit rating agencies; investor protection arrangements; insurance companies; and payment, clearing and settlement activities.

The authors offer detailed commentary on: the role of multilateral development banks, the IMF and the WTO in responding to crises; the role of the Basel Accords, the Financial Stability Forum and Board, and the responses of the European Commission, the US, and the G20 to the most recent crisis.

The book concludes by exploring systemic game-changing reforms such as bank levies, financial activities taxes and financial transaction taxes, and a global sovereign bankruptcy regime; as well as measures to remove the currency mismatches from the balance sheets of developing countries.

Keywords: financial crisis, international monetary fund, group of 20, financial stability board, financial transaction tax, sovereign debt, financial regulation

Suggested Citation

Buckley, Ross P. and Arner, Douglas W., From Crisis to Crisis: The Global Financial System and Regulatory Failure (September 1, 2011). Kluwer Law International, 2011; University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2012/002. Available at SSRN:

Ross P. Buckley

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Sydney, New South Wales 2052

Douglas W. Arner (Contact Author)

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Hong Kong


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