200 Years of American Financial Panics: Crashes, Recessions, Depressions, and the Technology that Will Change It All by Thomas P. Vartanian
From 1819 to COVID-19, 200 Years of American Financial Panics offers a comprehensive historical account of financial panics in America. Through a meticulous dissection of historical events and the benefit of his experience handling many of the country’s largest bank failures, Thomas P. Vartanian reveals why so many more devastating financial crises have occurred in America than nearly every other country in the world.
Vartanian provides extensive evidence of how the collision of policy-driven government actions and profit-oriented business performance have disrupted market equilibrium and made the U.S. system of financial oversight less effective and more susceptible to missing the signs of future financial crises, including policies that:
imposed tariffs and chartered dozens of poorly regulated, uncapitalized state banks that facilitated panics in the 19th century;
created ambivalence over whether gold, silver or paper money should be the preeminent form of payment, creating the perfect conditions for the depression of 1893;
kept interest rates low to assist the central banks in England, Germany and France, allowing an overheated U.S. stock market to shift into overdrive and crash in 1929;
planted the seeds of the S&L crisis more than twenty years before when Congress imposed artificial limits on deposit interest rates and the states capped mortgage interest rates to increase homeownership;
pressured banks in the 1990’s to increase mortgage lending to increase home ownership while the Fed engaged in loose monetary policies, adding fuel to the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.
200 Years of American Financial Panics dissects financial crises in a way not attempted before, concluding that the pyramid of governmental oversight intended to foster economic safety and stability has been turned on its head to its detriment. Vartanian provides readers with a unique list of practical solutions. Most importantly, his analysis of financial technology, from artificial intelligence and Big Data to cryptocurrencies and quantum computing, forecasts how financial markets and government regulation will change. 200 Years of American Financial Panics is a must read for anyone that wants to understand their money, financial markets, and how they are going to change in the future.
About Thomas P. Vartanian
Thomas P. Vartanian is the Executive Director of the Program on Financial Regulation & Technology at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, where he is also a Professor of Law.
Before joining Scalia Law School, he chaired the Financial Institution’s practices at two international law firms, Dechert LLP and Fried Frank LLP, through four financial crises. Both as a regulator and private practitioner, he has been involved in 30 of the 50 largest bank failures in American history, developing a deep understanding of the causes of financial collapses. He has been described by clients in Chambers as “one of the best financial services lawyers in America.”
Mr. Vartanian served in the Reagan Administration as General Counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and the FSLIC, where he authorized the receivership, sale, or liquidation of hundreds of failed institutions in the S&L crisis, including the first national and cross-industry financial institution combinations in the country. Prior to that, he served in the Carter Administration in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as Special Assistant to the Chief Counsel.
Mr. Vartanian is a futurist and expert in financial technology. He was Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Cyberspace Law Committee between 1998 and 2002, where he chaired an international task force of lawyers from twenty countries which issued a seminal report on the novel issues created at that time by doi…