Using the same presentation and detail that has earned her such wide-ranging acclaim for her previous books, Padma Desai explains in a course-friendly way the complexities of economic policy and financial reform. She merges a compelling narrative with scholarly research to teach and to engage the reader. Paul Krugman described Desai's 2003 volume, Financial Crisis, Contagion, and Containment: From Asia to Argentina, as the "best book yet on financial crises." Her most recent work on Russian reform was a "pick of 2006" by the Financial Times.
Desai begins with a systematic breakdown of the factors leading to America's recent recession, describing the monetary policy, tax practices, subprime mortgage scandals, and lax regulation that contributed to crisis. She discusses the Treasury-Fed rescue deals that saved several financial institutions and the involvement of Congress in passing restorative policies. The distinguished scholar follows with an analysis of stress tests and other economic measures and investigates whether the U.S. economy is truly on the mend. Widening her view, she considers the prospects for recovery in North America as a whole, as well as Europe, Asia, and South America, and the extent and value of U.S. and E.U. regulatory proposals. Refocusing on American financial practices, Desai evaluates hedge funds and derivatives, credit default swaps, and rating agencies and discusses whether the dollar can remain a reserve currency. She concludes with a historical comparison of the Great Depression and the Great Recession and a look at the effect of the economic collapse on future American capitalism.