Most of the global crises of the last century or so were at least instructive. World War 1 discredited empires in favour of national self-determination. World War 2 argued for curbing that nationalism with the UN and other formal trammels. Even the later, bloodless disasters served as learning experiences.

The stagflation of the 1970s exposed the limits of the Keynesian state. The financial crisis in 2008 established its worth all over again. For each shock, an education...

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