Book Talk with Jonathan Kirshner: American Power After the Financial Crisis

On October 31, 2014, Jonathan Kirshner of Cornell University was the featured speaker at the Mortara Center on his book, "American Power After the Financial Crisis". Kirshner argued that the epicenter of the 2007-08 global financial crisis was in the United States, which contributed to the delegitimization of US ideas about financial management. Thus, states are eager for learning new ways to manage financial relations, which is fostering a movement towards a world where the US has less power financially than in the past.

Event Description

The global financial crisis of 2007–2008 was both an economic catastrophe and a watershed event in world politics. In American Power after the Financial Crisis, Jonathan Kirshner explains how the crisis altered the international balance of power, affecting the patterns and pulse of world politics. The crisis, Kirshner argues, brought about an end to what he identifies as the "second postwar American order" because it undermined the legitimacy of the economic ideas that underpinned that order—especially those that encouraged and even insisted upon uninhibited financial deregulation. The crisis also accelerated two existing trends: the relative erosion of the power and political influence of the United States and the increased political influence of other states, most notably, but not exclusively, China.

Looking ahead, Kirshner anticipates a “New Heterogeneity” in thinking about how best to manage domestic and international money and finance. A provocative look at how the 2007–2008 economic collapse diminished U.S. dominance in world politics, American Power after the Financial Crisis suggests that the most significant and lasting impact of the crisis and the Great Recession will be the inability of the United States to enforce its political and economic priorities on an increasingly recalcitrant world.