Sunday, March 23, 2008

Could it turn out like those times?

Depression, You Say? Check Those Safety Nets;
“I used to give a lecture explaining that the Great Depression could never happen now because of the regulations that emerged from that crisis,” said Barry Eichengreen, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley. “But we’re learning that there is a shadow banking system, of hedge funds and investment banks, that are outside of those safety nets. What happened to Bear Stearns last week looked a lot like a 19th-century run on the bank. And that’s why the Fed reacted so quickly.”...

To understand the Great Depression is the Holy Grail of macroeconomics,” Mr. Bernanke wrote in a 1994 paper, when he was a professor at Princeton focused on analyzing the financial cataclysm that began in 1929. While economists have made great progress, he continued, “we do not yet have our hands on the Grail by any means.”

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