2011-06-18 — prudentbear.com
Scroll down to the bottom for the essay:
Isn't it incredible that the failure of one firm, Lehman Brothers, almost brought down the global financial system? It is equally incredible that, less than three years later, a small country of 11 million has the world teetering on the edge of another systemic crisis. Today's circumstance is a sad testament both to the instability of the international Credit "system" and to the lessons left unlearned from the previous crisis...
I have posited that the global policy response to the 2008 crisis only expanded and solidified the market's notion of "too big to fail." Most in the marketplace believe that policymakers now recognize that allowing Lehman's failure was a major policy blunder. The expectation today is that the EU, ECB, IMF, Germany, China and the Fed will not tolerate a Greek debt default. This faith had better not be misplaced...
While the Lehman failure proved the catalyst for the 2008 crisis, it was definitely not the root cause. The problem was instead the Trillions of unsound debt underpinning Trillions of leverage, Credit insurance, and sophisticated risk intermediation that, through "Wall Street alchemy", had transformed really bad loans into seemingly appealing ("money-like") debt instruments...
The markets must now face the reality that policymakers don't, by any stretch, have the Greek crisis contained. Last year's big "fix" is now appreciated as a mere little band-aid. What appeared an incredible sum for the one-time bailout of an inconsequential economy is increasingly recognized as the tip of the iceberg for huge structural problems at Europe's periphery and beyond. The markets are beginning the process of recalibrating the potential costs -- including financial, economic and social, along with myriad unknowable attendant risks - associated with festering Credit and market crises. The results are frightening.
Here are some comments from Doug's missive last week (which we neglected to post):
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