Monthly Archives: August 2009

From the FT:

Germany still in credit crunch danger: James Wilson investigates the suggestion that Germany could still suffer as the financial crisis reaches its lowest point 

By Michael Pomerleano

Josef Ackermann, Deutsche Bank chief executive and chairman of the Institute of International Finance, wrote last month in the FT: “There is a danger that changes in the regulatory environment will, by accident or design, lead to a refragmentation of markets…Consequently, we should not seek answers in the perceived safety of nation-based structures, but rather establish effective processes for cross-border crisis management”.

According to Mr Ackermann, the inability to reach binding cross-border standards and insolvency systems is likely to lead domestic regulators to abandon trust in home/host regulatory arrangements, and encourage financial institutions to contract to their home turf.  Should we support to Mr Ackermann’s recommendations? No. 

By Roger E. A. Farmer

Confidence is slowly returning to the stock market and the S&P is back to the level it reached when President Obama took office in January. This is enough to prevent a further collapse in spending; the Obama stimulus package may even move us into positive territory for US gross domestic product growth. But these ‘green shoots of recovery’ are not enough to create the jobs needed to restore full employment in the US. 

“Why did no one see the crisis coming?” Queen Elizabeth asked last year. “A failure of the collective imagination of many bright people” who were all “doing their job properly on its own merit”, was the answer many of those bright people gave in a letter to the Queen last week.

If the economics profession could not warn the public about the credit crunch and the recession, what is the profession’s raison d’etre? Did this reflect, as some claim, that economics has gone astray with models that no longer help understand economic reality but rather distort it? Did such models even contribute to the crisis? FT writers and outside experts will set out their views in the posts below. What is the point of economists? What do you think? Click on the “comment” button to take part.

Robert Skidelsky: How to rebuild a shamed subject
Since the future a year ago included the present slump, it is natural that the failure of the economics profession – with a few exceptions – to foresee the coming collapse should have discredited its scientific pretensions. Economics is revealed to have no more clothes than other social science

by Richard Thaler

Pinn illustration

I recently had the pleasure of reading Justin Fox’s new book The Myth of the Rational Market . It offers an engaging history of the research that has come to be called the “efficient market hypothesis”. It is similar in style to the classic by the late Peter Bernstein, Against the Gods. All the quotes in this column are taken from it. The book was mostly written before the financial crisis. However, it is natural to ask if the experiences over the last year should change our view of the EMH. 

By Greg Fisher

The UK government’s policies towards the banks are inadequate. This is not surprising because the British government and both main political parties lack firm ideological foundations. Neoliberalism has failed.  However, the circumstances the banks find themselves in are best understood through the lens of game theory; their situation is analogous to the prisoners’ dilemma. Government policy ought to be guided accordingly, with a firmer hand on bank lending. 

By Masahiro Kawai and Michael Pomerleano

In response to the crisis, the international financial community has established the Financial Stability Board (FSB). The FSB aims to address vulnerabilities and to develop and implement strong regulatory, supervisory and other policies in the interest of financial stability.
The FSB mandate is sweeping.