“We are still living with the consequences of 2008.”
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The 10th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse — the signature moment of our modern financial crisis — will arrive on Saturday. Media organizations and book publishers are using the anniversary to look back over the last decade, and one of the best piece I’ve read so far is in the latest issue of The New Yorker, by John Cassidy.
It is a review of “Crashed,” a book by the economic historian Adam Tooze, and Cassidy’s central point is that the main aftershocks have been as much political as economic.
“We are still living with the consequences of 2008, including the political ones,” Cassidy writes. “As wages and incomes continued to languish, the rescue effort generated a populist backlash on both sides of the Atlantic. Austerity policies, especially in Europe, added another dark twist to the process of political polarization. As a result, Tooze writes, the ‘financial and economic crisis of 2007-2012 morphed between 2013 and 2017 into a comprehensive political and geopolitical crisis of the post-cold war order.’”
The latest example comes from Sweden, where this weekend’s election gave a far-right party called Sweden Democrats, which sprang from the neo-Nazi movement, its best showing ever. The party did less well than some forecasters had predicted, but it still won almost 18 percent of the vote, making it Sweden’s third largest party.
Swedish legislators now face a complex negotiation to see which political bloc can form a government. Neither the center-left party, which finished first by a small margin, or the center-right party will easily be able to do so without the other.
The Swedish result fits a trend that began in the wake of the financial crisis. Across Europe, “the bigger parties are getting smaller, and the smaller parties getting bigger,” Sarah de Lange, a University of Amsterdam political scientist, told The Guardian.
Tennis, and much more. Martina Navratilova is one of the greatest athletes I’ve ever watched. Her period of dominance didn’t last quite as long as that of some other tennis giants. But for six amazing years in the early and mid-1980s, she won more than half of all the major tournaments in women’s tennis. By any standard, she is one of the top handful of female players of all time.
Another player on that short list, of course, is Serena Williams. Which means that Navratilova understands Williams’s professional life in a way that few other people do. Both also overcame pervasive discrimination — based on race in Williams’ case and on sexual orientation and nationality in Navratilova’s.
So I was not surprised to see that Navratilova has written a sharp and, to me, persuasive essay for The Times about the Williams controversy. Navratilova both talks about the discrimination Williams faces and walks through Saturday’s events to explain how things got so nasty. Navratilova asks: “I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honor our sport and to respect our opponents?”
With a different perspective, Rebecca Traister of New York magazine has a strong defense of Williams, as does Salamishah Tillet of Rutgers University, Newark in The Times.
Programming note. The news side of The Times has launched a new politics newsletter, with Lisa Lerer as the chief writer. Today’s edition includes an interview with Cynthia Nixon.
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David Leonhardt is a former Washington bureau chief for the Times, and was the founding editor of The Upshot and head of The 2020 Project, on the future of the Times newsroom. He won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, for columns on the financial crisis. @DLeonhardt • Facebook