Trevor Jackson, “Impunity and Capitalism: The Afterlives of European Financial Crises, 1690–1830”

Impunity and Capitalism book cover


Please join us on December 5 at 3:30pm for an Authors Meet Critics panel on Impunity and Capitalism: the Afterlives of European Financial Crises, 1690-1830 (Cambridge University Press, 2022), by Trevor Jackson, Assistant Professor of History at UC Berkeley. Professor Jackson will be joined by William H. Janeway, Affiliated Member of the Economics Faculty at Cambridge University; David Singh Grewal, Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law; and Anat Admati, the George G.C. Parker Professor of Finance and Economics at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Co-sponsored by Social Science Matrix and the Berkeley Economy and Society Initiative (BESI). The Social Science Matrix Authors Meet Critics book series features lively discussions about recently published books authored by social scientists at UC Berkeley. For each event, the author discusses the key arguments of their book with fellow scholars. These events are free and open to the public.

If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) or information about campus mobility access features in order to fully participate in this event, please contact Chuck Kapelke at with as much advance notice as possible and at least 7-10 days in advance of the event.

About the Book

Whose fault are financial crises, and who is responsible for stopping them, or repairing the damage? Impunity and Capitalism develops a new approach to the history of capitalism and inequality by using the concept of impunity to show how financial crises stopped being crimes and became natural disasters. Trevor Jackson examines the legal regulation of capital markets in a period of unprecedented expansion in the complexity of finance ranging from the bankruptcy of Europe’s richest man in 1709, to the world’s first stock market crash in 1720, to the first Latin American debt crisis in 1825. He shows how, after each crisis, popular anger and improvised policy responses resulted in efforts to create a more just financial capitalism but succeeded only in changing who could act with impunity, and how. Henceforth financial crises came to seem normal and legitimate, caused by impersonal international markets, with the costs borne by domestic populations and nobody in particular at fault.


Trevor Jackson

Trevor Jackson is an economic historian who researches inequality and crisis, mostly but not exclusively in early modern Europe. His first book, Impunity and Capitalism: the Afterlives of European Financial Crises, 1690-1830, was published by Cambridge University Press in fall 2022​. His current research interests focus on the problem of gluts, overproduction, and overaccumulation since the seventeenth century, the problems of temporality and finitude in economic thought, and problems in the historical measurement and meaning of capital. He also has ongoing research interests in the histories of extinction and catastrophe, as well as early modern occupational health.

William Janeway

William H. Janeway is an Affiliated Member of the Economics Faculty at Cambridge University and the author of Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy (2nd. ed., Cambridge University Press: 2018). He is a Special Limited Partner of Warburg Pincus, having joined the firm in 1988 and served as head of its information technology investment practice for 15 years. He is chair of the board of directors of the Social Science Research Council. He is founder of the Cambridge Endowment for Research and the Janeway Institute for Economics at Cambridge University. He was co-founder of the Institute for New Economics Thinking. Janeway received his doctorate in economics from Cambridge University, where he was a Marshall Scholar.

David Singh Grewal

David Singh Grewal is Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law. His teaching and research interests include legal and political theory; intellectual history, particularly the history of economic thought; global economic governance and international trade law; intellectual property law and biotechnology; and law and economics. His first book, Network Power: The Social Dynamics of Globalization, was published by Yale University Press in 2008. His second book, The Invention of the Economy, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press. He has published on legal topics in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, and several other law reviews, and on a variety of questions in political theory and intellectual history in several peer-reviewed journals. His public writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the BioBricks Foundation and a co-founder of the Law and Political Economy blog. He was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard University Society of Fellows, and holds B.A. (Economics) and Ph.D. (Political Science) degrees from Harvard and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Anat Admati

Anat Admati is the George G.C. Parker Professor of Finance and Economics at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Faculty Director of the Corporations and Society Initiative and a senior fellow at Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research who is writing and teaching on the interactions of business, law and policy. Admati is the co-author, with Martin Hellwig, of The Bankers’ New Clothes: Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It (Princeton Press 2013) whose new and expanded edition is forthcoming in January 2024. In 2014, she was named one of Time Magazine 100 most influential people and one of the Foreign Policy Magazine 100 global thinkers. Admati holds BSc from the Hebrew University, MA, MPhil, and PhD from Yale University and an honorary doctorate from University of Zurich.

Event Details


December 5th, 2023

Social Science Matrix is located on the 8th floor of the Social Sciences Building, on the UC Berkeley campus, near Telegraph and Bancroft Avenues, just up the hill from Sather Gate. There are entrances at both ends of the building, but only one of the elevators on the eastern side goes directly to the 8th floor. You can alternatively take the stairs to the 7th floor and walk up the stairs.