Document Type


Publication Date



Global Financial Crisis, 2008-2009


Banking and Finance Law


The unprecedented scale and complex contagion effects of the current financial crisis, which rapidly spread across geographic borders and market segmentation lines, forcefully underscored the urgent need for policy-makers, financial regulators, and market participants around the world to develop a deeper substantive understanding of the fundamental changes in the dynamics of modern financial markets. Although, in a historical perspective, all financial crises tend to display certain basic commonalities, two key factors make the crisis of 2008 qualitatively different from the panics and crashes of the past centuries. First, this is the world's first truly global financial crisis. Second, this is a crisis rooted fundamentally in the successes of financial innovation and an unprecedented complexity of financial products, which resulted from such innovation. Each of these unique characteristics of the current crisis has major implications from the perspective of regulatory reform in the financial services sector, both on the domestic and the international level. This essay sketches in broad strokes some of these high-level implications.


This article predates the author's affiliation with Cornell Law School.

Publication Citation

Published in: North Carolina Banking Institute, vol. 13 (March 2009).