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Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Discusses Responses to Future Financial Crises

Speaking as part of Yale SOM’s Global Financial Crisis course, Geithner shared lessons he learned managing the crisis of 2008 and how they may be applied to future financial shocks.

In his third lecture at the Yale School of Management this semester, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner discussed possible policy responses to future financial crises.

Speaking on December 3, Geithner described the lessons that he learned while crafting policy responses to the crisis of 2008. “We left some unfinished business,” he said. “We have a lot of leftover damage. We haven’t come close to healing the scars from the damage of the crisis.”

Looking ahead, Geithner said that there is no way to predict the scale and depth of a crisis. “Every crisis is going to be different,” he said. “It’s going to surprise us. But I do think there are lessons for the ages in this… Having a plan beats no plan. I’m a huge believer in the power of initiative and the importance of action and testing and learning by acting and experimenting and just keeping at it.”

The lecture was the last of three that Geithner delivered as part of the course Global Financial Crisis, a for-credit class open to students throughout Yale and co-taught with Deputy Dean Andrew Metrick, the Michael H. Jordan Professor of Finance and Management.

Titled "Fighting Financial Crises: The Cause and the Craft," Geithner’s lectures were delivered under the auspices of the Arthur M. Okun Public Policy Lectures. They were open to the Yale community and shared via videoconference with member schools in the Global Network for Advanced Management.

Geithner’s first lecture, which explored causes of the 2008 crisis, was delivered on October 1. On November 19, he discussed the policy responses that he helped craft in response to the crisis.

As part of his partnership with Yale SOM, Geithner will also convene a multi-day seminar on financial crisis management at the school for senior-level officials from finance ministries and central banks around the world and will work with Yale to inaugurate a global video competition for students on the topic "Financial Crises in the Modern World."