Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Excerpt from Grand Pursuit

I wonder if this will not also describe the Great Recession of 2008-present well?  Except for the fact that investors were not panicky when they "sold", but simply realized they had been wrong about the value of mortgages.  When they sold they sold because of long run economic fundamentals—not panic.

Most economic historians agree that not only did no one predict the Great Depression on the basis of any previous depression, but no one could have predicted it on the basis of any existing theory.  In retrospect, modern scholars put the primary blame on mistakes by the Federal Reserve, the collapse in confidence and spending by consumers and business, and the wave of selling into falling markets by increasingly panicky investors, but as David Fettig at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has observed, “In the end, if the Great Depression is, indeed, a story, it has all the trappings of a mystery that is loaded with suspects and difficult to solve, even when we know the ending; the kind we read again and again, and each time come up with another explanation.  At least for now.
—Sylvia Nasar in Grand Pursuit.  Chapter 10.  Page 320.

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