My brilliant colleague Tyler Cowen has a short video discussing the Great Recession of 2008 that provides an excellent introduction to some of the key issues related to financial intermediation.
Steve Horwitz and I published a short monograph dealing with the financial intermediation and the Great Recession in December 2009 entitled The House that Uncle Sam Built.
We disagree with Tyler in subtle and not so subtle ways concerning financial contagion and policy fixes, but we also agree on some fundamental issues, and we probably agree a lot more than we disagree in terms of the big picture. Given the counter-factual nature of many of the arguments about policy responses, it might be a lot harder to sort out than one might hope to learn the right lessons from the Great Recession. But focusing on incentive structures and informational mechanisms, as well as rational actors, is a pretty good place to start in applying the economic way of thinking to a pressing issue in public policy.