From Bretton Woods to the Global Financial Crisis: Popular Politics, Paradigmatic Debates, and the Construction of Crises

Review of Social Economy

Author/s (editor/s):

Wesley Widmaier

Publication year:

2014

Publication type:

Journal article

Find this publication at:
Taylor & Francis

Wesley Widmaier, ‘From Bretton Woods to the Global Financial Crisis: Popular Politics, Paradigmatic Debates, and the Construction of Crises’, Review of Social Economy, 72(2) 2014: 232‒52.

How do popular values shape constructions of crises and paradigmatic debates? In this paper, I offer a constructivist framework highlighting the popular bases of paradigmatic ideas and policy interests. In historical terms, I then trace the evolution of values, ideas, and polic]ies across three crises—the Bretton Woods-era inflation and currency crises of the 1960s, the South Korean and Long Term Capital Management crises of the 1990s, and the global financial crisis. In concluding, I stress implications for tensions not only between intellectuals and populists, but also among populists themselves—as in the affective divides between Tea Party and Occupy movements.

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