I was actually reading chapter 7 of Animal Spirits, which provided a quick summary of the shadow banking system. I then did my scan of some blogs that I follow and found this incredibly detailed, yet not too long, post from Zero Hedge. It's probably the best description of the shadow banking system and it's role in the macro-economy that you will find.
On a positive note, there's at least some support for the idea that the shadow system is holding up and maybe bouncing back.
The social origins of inventors
1 hour ago