Brad Delong links to a number of interesting papers regarding the US/global financial crisis of 2007-2009. I recommend the optional ones.
I’m not sure I completely agree that the bailing out of Bear Stearns made matters worse – but it was an interesting perspective.
In any case, its a good idea to try and understand what happened then – in order to figure out whether the debt crisis in Europe will lead to similar global pain.
IMO when Greece does default, who holds the associated liabilities is widely know – as a result, my hope would be that nothing will really happen. With nothing happening, the rest of the world will just move on. The risk is that Greek default actually knocks out a big bank (it looks less likely now that it will knock out a sovereign government – although that remains the big fear in Europe). Fluffing around in Europe has kept credit conditions tight for at least 18 months longer then they would have been, in the absense of European debt issues – it is starting to feel like some people will have to accept some loses before this crisis can end, and some semblance of global confidence can return.