David A. Westbrook

Louis A. Del Cotto Professor; Director for Global Strategic Initiatives

Research Focus: Corporations and Finance, International Law and Globalization, Political Economy and Social Theory

Links: Curriculum Vitae (PDF), SSRN, Personal Website

Contact Information

521 O'Brian Hall, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
Phone: 716-645-2073

Faculty Assistant: Reigelman, Jessica

Out of Crisis: Rethinking Our Financial Markets

Former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan recently said that the risk management paradigm is broken; thus our understanding of financial regulation no longer makes sense. More generally, the recent financial crisis obliges us to rethink the relationships among "financial markets" and "governments."

In Out of Crisis financial analyst David Westbrook illuminates the intellectual, business, and policy errors that have led us into the present morass. Through a vivid legal and political analysis he shows how the ideologies of the right and left have distorted financial thinking and policy. The book sketches the emergence of a new understanding of risk management and bureaucratic regulation that can be gained by learning from these errors. Out of Crisis begins the tasks of rethinking the structures that constitute financial markets and exploring how such structures may be strengthened. By taking responsibility for the markets we build to do so much of our society's work, we may yet become mature capitalists.

"With Out of Crisis, David Westbrook has written a characteristically rich, critical and original narrative of the financial prevailing economic calamities and what to learn from them."
Larry Cunningham, George Washington University

"The recent crisis involved an extraordinary sequence of financial market failures. … David Westbrook employs wide-ranging social science skills to make us aware of this wider context, and thereby to see markets, and their occasional failures, in a new light. Fascinating, original, and illuminating."
Charles Goodhart, London School of Economics and Political Science

"As a matter of political theory, then, Westbrook suggests we break out of the conventional analytical dichotomy between emphasizing one or the other of "the (free) market" and "the (regulating) government." Rather, markets themselves are one mode of shared governance and they should be deliberately and democratically constructed to achieve certain societal goals and avoid certain perils. This is the greatest contribution of Bert's book."
Lyman Johnson, Washington and Lee University

"This, I believe, is an important book for our times."
Nick Krafft, Open Economics

"Westbrook draws on his wide knowledge of law, finance, literary theory, cultural anthropology, and political history to guide us through our recent disaster and introduce us to the looming hazard of having lost an elite consensus on which policy and day-to-day business is predicated."
Mae Kuykendall, Michigan State University

"Westbrook's book . . . provides clear elucidation on the shaky foundations on which our financial system was built . . . . Westbrook points to the need for a rethink of finance and suggests in this respect a better interdisciplinary dialogue between law and finance."
Rosa Lastra, Queen Mary, University of London, in International Finance, Summer 2010.

"Professor Westbrook's fascinating new book is not just an exegesis of the recent financial crisis – it is a compelling and entertaining diatribe against some of the sacred cows of finance, among them the notions that markets are presumed efficient, corporations can self-regulate, sophistication matters, risk management reduces risk, and securities regulation makes markets transparent."
Frank Partnoy, University of San Diego and author of Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets

Though short, this book contains much to help the reader begin to understand fully what happened and why. If I could put a copy in the briefcase of every financial regulator and executive in the world, I would.
Richard Whelan, Irish Times, April 12, 2010


Purchase from Paradigm Publishers