Sep 082009
 

Paul Krugman in Sunday’s NYT has an article entitled “How Did Economists Get it so Wrong?” It’s fine as far as it goes, I think, but it misses so much, since it just focuses on financial economics. No mention of the growing wealth inequality in the US and its effects, such as forcing people to buy on credit, or using their homes a piggy banks (as long as the price was supposedly rising). No mention [...]

May 012009
 

In earlier posts I noted that even if “Wall Street” is temporarily saved and more carefully regulated, it will be difficult to prevent a meltdown similar to the current one from happening soon again. The reason is that it will be impossible to prevent new risky ways of playing tricks to obtain high returns by manipulating digital money streams. This is under way already. Banks have found apparently legal ways to cook their books to [...]

Feb 192009
 

[Note: this is another entry in my attempt to make sense of the crash and see how it is tied to the Attention Economy. Some earlier entries are here, here, here, here and here.] I attended an informative, thought-provoking and amusing talk by Prof. Brad DeLong of UC Berkeley on Tuesday on the financial crisis “of 2007-2009” (he expects the crisis to have diminished by the end of this year). (The talk was part of [...]

Oct 232008
 

In the previous post, I pointed out that money is of great importance  only when the world is dominated by standardized goods and services. One essential of standardization is  that goods or services of a certain type are interchangeable. This ton of wheat equals that one, this 100 watt lightbulb equals that one, this kwh of electricity equals that one, and so on. In some cases (actually even in these cases) one has to specify [...]

Oct 152008
 

SUCCESS REACHES ITS LIMITS In my previous post on the crisis, I claimed that we are suffering from too much savings and not enough consumption. The worldwide pool of money seeking growth investments is too large to be sensibly invested in any sort of production or service-providing corporation. The reason for that is that consumption is just too low, and is not likely to be able to rise to the levels needed to sustain such [...]

Oct 092008
 

As I write, the stock market is flatlining, credit has seized up, no one seems to know what to do, and bad times seem in store. What caused it? Not what you think. Not, basically, greedy Wall Streeters, ordinary consumers taking on loans they could not pay off, bad accounting requirements, faulty credit ratings, failures of regulators to regulate, nor a formerly too rosy outlook from the Fed. These were all surface phenomena. What lay [...]

Oct 022008
 

While a money-economic downturn would have happened anyway, it need not have hit with the precipitousness it did. That has to be blamed quite substantially on the combination of cupidity and stupidity of the elite bankers. Here’s why. The sub-prime mortgage meltdown began months ago. As more foreclosures are instigated, the adjacent homes lost value, helping lead to still further foreclosures — thus lowering the value of the collateralized debt obligations that include “tranches” of [...]

Sep 152008
 

American and probably world financial institutions continued to reel today as an outcome of the credit collapse that began with the sub-prime mortgage mess. Because primary and secondary mortgages and other forms of personal and institutional debt were completely essential for whatever economic strength the old economy has shown since 2001, it seems probable to me that the latest failures are just a harbinger of worse money-economy times to come. However this plays out in [...]

Apr 122008
 

Crash-free No Longer In a recent post, I discussed the current problems re sub-prime mortgages and the credit crunch in connection with ignorance in high finance and in general. The complex entities that are investment banks, which were supposedly highly knowledgeable as organizations, actually were quite in the dark, quite ignorant in fact, when it came to the mortgage problems. I argued that someone has to be knowledgeable and interested for a problem to be [...]