29 September 2008

A glooming bright future for the non-financial sector

Which is likely to be true?

The Paulson Plan, whatever its final form, will not bring this upheaval to an early end. The consequences are clearly spreading from Wall Street to Main Street. The recent performance of nonfinancial stocks indicates that investors are well aware of the fact.

So comparisons with the Great Depression, which have been of academic interest but little practical relevance, take on new salience. [...]

It is hard to avoid concluding that the Fed erred disastrously when deciding that Lehman Bros.


The non-financial sector today looks nothing like it did in 1930. The weak correlation between asset prices and non-financial sector performance and the strong profitability of today’s non-financial capital are two good reasons to scoff at the idea that the non-financial sector will collapse because of the recent events on Wall Street, and even better reasons to scoff at the Bernanke-Paulson-Bush idea that a massive bailout of financial firms is the key to avoiding a non-financial collapse.


The Treasury and the Fed should let Wall Street drown alone, to be replaced by new financial service providers who can swim as robustly as are non-financial American businesses.

Before pointing to the authors, take a look at the graphs below. That's the Brazilian stock market main index (IBOVESPA) and the tipping point is just after US House of Representatives' rejecting the edited version of the Paulson plan. This is relevant not only because of the time frame, but because the Brazilian stock market has evolved a lot in the past years and - unlike its Russian counterpart, for instance - had not faced severe swings in a long time. Oh, and the fact that I'm Brazilian may have something to do with it...!

It would be great if the markets were always efficient and we could let havoc take place, relying confidently in creative destruction. This, however, is not the case and professor Barry Eichengreen's warning - that US unemployment rate may reach 2 digits - should be taken very seriously. He's the author of the first quote, taken from And now the Great Depression, at Vox Eu. Professor Barry Eichengreen, from University of California, Berkeley, has been frequently quoted these past days thanks to his Anatomy of a Crisis. He seems to be inspired and we'll be keeping an eye out for more insights.

The second quote is from Casey Mulligan's Wall Street Will Drown Alone. His core argument can be found in Greg Mankiw's A Note of Optimism. Oh, yes, professor Mulligan is from (surprise, surprise!!) University of Chicago.

PS: After writing this, the Bovespa reopened... Let's see where it goes now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

from www.Laitman.com
The Financial Crisis - an Analysis

Posted: 17 Oct 2008 12:58 AM CDT

Questions I received on the global financial crisis:

Question: Everyone is saying that the financial crisis was caused by the United States, but you say that it’s systematic and is happening because we are in a system of global interconnection. Who’s right?

My Answer: Both opinions are correct, because America - the most developed country in the world - was first to discover this financial crisis, which is global and not just local to the U.S. If it hasn’t reached some countries yet - such as Israel, for example - then it will reach them later on.

Hence, people shouldn’t scold America. In fact, Europe, China, Japan, the Emirates, and even Russia are all prospering thanks to the American economy, because America buys everything from them.

But now it will stop buying, and everyone will understand how good things used to be! You will be able to answer many questions yourself if you accept the fact that the financial crisis and everything else taking place is actually happening in one, single organism.

Question: Why did the financial crisis start with the banks?

My Answer: It’s because the banks are the foundation of the entire American system; they are an example of a free market. But now the government is buying them. Freedom of the market will become limited like it is in Europe.

However, precisely money or wealth is the equivalent of corporeal fulfillment. It “connects” people, helping us faster realize the common basis of the crisis – people’s egoistic attitudes, as well as the fact that it’s necessary to transform these attitudes, for the sake of survival, into ones of care for one another.

Question: But won’t the care for others be selfish and egoistic, just like today employers “care” about the health of their employees?

My Answer: The system of absolute interconnection between everyone in the world, both people and businesses, is being revealed so fast that soon each one of us will literally feel the vibrations of our attitudes to one another – first the national ones, and then the personal ones as well. This analysis of how our luck and safety depends on our attitudes (inner, not outer ones – what we feel in our hearts), will force us to search for the means to correct hatred and transform it to love.

Question: Who has an easier time living through this time of financial crisis?

My Answer: Those who are least connected with the rest of the world. It works just like an organism: when a leg, stomach, or arm are hurt, the pain is felt in the head. Hence, countries will try to move away from globalization. However, this won’t help them, because then they will stop developing. Without full communication and exchange, they will cease developing and regress to feudalism! Everyone will instinctively try to return to the past, but by doing so they will only slow down the process and receive even greater blows of fate. It’s like trying to sweep an illness under the rug by treating it incorrectly or taking sedatives instead of medication. After all, human society is a live organism!

Question: What kind of currency will remain?

My Answer: The post-crisis world will be radically new. Nevertheless, the United States has accumulated such great scientific and technological potential, and such an exceptional industrial base, that it will remain the world leader - the largest economy in the world. Even though it will fall more than any other country, when it comes to the numbers, people will still have enough to live (compared to others).

Everything will crash, with the exception of the American high-tech industry. The United States will begin real production; it will return to it from abroad, from China. This will cause foreign countries and China to “fall.”

Question: Why are everyone so afraid of the financial crisis? I personally don’t feel afraid.

My Answer: All previous financial crises were different – understandable and not general. However, this one is global; it is happening all over the world and it is unlike any previous financial crisis. There are no known remedies to eliminate it. People are trying to do the same thing they did in previous financial crises - to help the banks, but nothing will help. The situation will force them to reveal the true cause of the financial crisis: that the egoistic attitudes of the parts of a closed system bring about the system’s destruction.

Regardless of how our attempts to explain the true cause of the financial crisis are received, we should not despair and continue fulfilling our duty. We can only accelerate the world’s understanding of the cause of the financial crisis and the method of correction. It takes patience, but the suffering, attempts, and failures will teach people, forcing them to heed what we are saying.

Here’s a concise explanation of the crisis, including its causes and correction: