Is the continued sluggishness of the world's advanced economies a result of the financial crisis or is it a crisis in innovation? Has the financial crisis exposed a deeper malaise in advanced economies in that they are no longer making technological breakthroughs? Since the Industrial Revolution, economic growth has been spurred on by large technological breakthroughs - think steam, railways, the telegraph, electricity, the combustion engine, flight, chemical engineering, the computer, and the Internet. But have we run out of innovation with the result that economic growth will stagnate? Click here to read an op-ed piece by Kenneth Rogoff on this issue (hat tip: Graham Brownlow). Rogoff argues that the malaise is due to the financial crisis not an innovation crisis.
As an undergraduate, I was taught about the failure of Herstatt Bank in 1974 and Herstatt risk. This bank was only the 35th largest bank in Germany at the time so why would anyone be interested in studying its failure? Herstatt failed because of its involvement in risky foreign exchange business. When it closed its doors on 26 June 1974, counterparty banks (mainly in New York) had not received dollars due to them because of time-zone differences - this is known as settlement risk. The cross-jurisdictional implications of its failure resulted in the Bank for International Settlements setting up the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and Herstatt's failure was a key reason for the establishment of real-time gross settlements systems, which ensures that payments between two banks are executed in real time. The Bank of England's Ben Norman has an interesting post on Herstatt over at the Bank's new blog ( Bank Underground ). As well as giving an excellent overview of