© 2018

Financing the Apocalypse

Drivers for Economic and Political Instability


  • Expands on the established work of economic historians and integrates these new developments into a holistic, institutional framework

  • Argues that contemporary neoliberalism in the USA from the Greenspan Era to the present has shaped our institutions and ideologies in ways that have had a profound and deleterious effect

  • Raises the concern that these institutional and ideological developments are deepening the crisis conditions of our financial system


Part of the Palgrave Insights into Apocalypse Economics book series (PIAE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Joel Magnuson
    Pages 1-15
  3. Joel Magnuson
    Pages 17-41
  4. Joel Magnuson
    Pages 43-73
  5. Joel Magnuson
    Pages 113-143
  6. Joel Magnuson
    Pages 145-164
  7. Joel Magnuson
    Pages 193-215
  8. Joel Magnuson
    Pages 217-241
  9. Joel Magnuson
    Pages 243-264
  10. Joel Magnuson
    Pages 283-305
  11. Joel Magnuson
    Pages 307-315
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 317-328

About this book


As we tour the 400 year history of capitalism through its various phases of development, financial system instability is always there lurking in the shadows. The historical record attests that the processes of aggregating capital for real investment are inescapably vulnerable to risk, manic speculation, unserviceable debt, and crises; and with each episode of instability, a trail of devastation follows. Economic historians such as Hyman Minsky, Charles Kindleberger and others have studied this history and have exposed certain boom-bust patterns that have a way of stubbornly repeating themselves.

This book posits that the large-scale financial crises that the world has experienced over the last 30 years are more or less the latest segments in this narrative, but with some distinct characteristics. In the period spanning the stock market crash of 1987 to the banking crisis of 2008 and its aftermath – the Greenspan Era – there were key institutional and ideological developments rooted in contemporary neoliberalism that have reshaped the historic rise-and-fall patterns to become more severe and widespread. In this important volume, Magnuson suggests the next episode will be a massive financial cyclone that will send us all tumbling toward a perilous future.


Apocalypse economics Financial crises Institutional economics Contemporary neoliberalism The Mutual Support Network The Washington Consensus The Dotcom Crash The Great Recession Microfinance Equity crowdfunding Neoliberal Non-Alternatives Alan Greenspan green capitalism corporate hegemony Greenspan era Financial instability Political economy of economic crises

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Independent ResearcherTualatinUSA

About the authors

Joel Magnuson is an independent economist based in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of many books, as well as numerous articles in journals and anthologies in the United States, Europe, and Japan. His research interests include mindful economics and institutional reform.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking


“Magnuson has long been the proverbial canary in the coal mine urging us to wake up to the various pathologies of a greed-based, corporate-controlled, and growth-addicted modern economy. What he calls, tongue-in-cheek, Financing the Apocalypse, exposes the system’s institutional and ideological drivers. The many flavors of life, and, quite possibly, our planetary future, vanishing behind the stench of greed. A must-read for anyone who cares about human and ecological wellbeing.” (Dirk Philipsen, Associate Research Professor of Economic History, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University)