Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Nouriel Roubini and the Bank of International Settlements on the crisis

A good (non-Marxist) place to start in trying to understand the present crisis is Nouriel Roubini's account of how it would unfold, published in February:

Roubini's predictions of how the credit bubble would implode have turned out very accurate. But he says hardly anything about what drove the expansion of the bubble in the first place, beyond mentioning 'reckless financial innovation and securitization'.

The Bank for International Settlements (obviously again non-Marxist) tried to explain the roots of the crisis in June:

Bank for International Settlements, 78th Annual Report, 'Introduction: the unsustainable has run its course', June 2008 (see pp. 7-9: 'What has been happening: an explanation')

The bank argues that the crisis was the result of a unsustainable global expansion in credit (i.e. a credit bubble) over the last few years. But its only explanation of what drove this bubble is 'unusually low' policy interest rates across the globe, and it gives no real explanation of why these rates were so low.

The acronyms and financial terms these two pieces use are defined in the Investopedia dictionary and explained more fully in Wikipedia.

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