The Economy – What went wrong – Updates

The Economy – What went wrong & What’s next? II ; PBS Frontline coverage of The Meltdown

A year later, the analyses,  justifications and theories emerge
Wall Street’s Near-Death Experience
(Vanity Fair November 2009) With the implosion of Lehman Brothers, in September 2008, the realization dawned: Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs could be next. In an excerpt from his new book, the author reveals the incredible scramble that took place—desperate phone calls, seat-of-the-pants merger proposals, flaring tempers—as Washington got tough and Wall Street titans Lloyd Blankfein and John Mack fought for survival.
24 October
Learning To Love Insider Trading
Here’s a hot tip: Want to keep companies honest, make the markets work more efficiently and encourage investors to diversify? Let insiders buy and sell, argues Donald J. Boudreaux.
(WSJ) By allowing companies as they compete for capital to experiment with different ways of dealing with insider trading, we would discover which proscriptions work best for some kinds of firms and which proscriptions work best for other kinds of firms.
Relying upon competition and the self-interest of shareholders and creditors (both actual and potential) to discover which types of information are proprietary—and, hence, protected from insider trading—and which types of information are not proprietary removes politics from this vital task. Importantly, it also replaces the unreliable judgments and “best guesses” of political officials with the much more reliable determinations of competition.
23 October 2009
(PBS) In The Warning, veteran FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk unearths the hidden history of the nation’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. At the center of it all he finds Brooksley Born, who speaks for the first time on television about her failed campaign to regulate the secretive, multitrillion-dollar derivatives market whose crash helped trigger the financial collapse in the fall of 2008.
“We didn’t truly know the dangers of the market, because it was a dark market,” says Brooksley Born, the head of an obscure federal regulatory agency — the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC] — who not only warned of the potential for economic meltdown in the late 1990s, but also tried to convince the country’s key economic powerbrokers to take actions that could have helped avert the crisis. “They were totally opposed to it,” Born says. “That puzzled me. What was it that was in this market that had to be hidden?”

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