Why China Had To Crash Part 1

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In this post I con­sid­er the econ­o­my in gen­er­al: I’ll cov­er asset mar­kets in par­tic­u­lar in the next col­umn, but you’ll need to under­stand today’s post to com­pre­hend the stock and prop­er­ty mar­ket dynam­ics at play. Hav­ing said that, the Shang­hai Index fell anoth­er 7.5% on Tues­day, after los­ing 8.5% on Mon­day, and is now down over 45% from its peak—so I’ll try to write the stock-mar­ket-spe­cif­ic post by tomor­row. In this post I’ll show, very sim­ply, why a slow­down in the rate of growth of pri­vate debt will cause a cri­sis, if both the lev­el and the rate of change of debt are high at the time of the slow­down.

Debate about China crash on France 24

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I’ve just tak­en part in a live stu­dio debate about Chi­na’s crash on France 24. Much to my amaze­ment, the seg­ment is already up on their website–I’ve bare­ly had time to walk home from their Lon­don stu­dio. Please click on the links to watch (it’s in Flash for­mat so I can’t embed it here):

Part 1
Part 2

PS French 24 pro­duc­ers & staff: I’m impressed!

China Crash: You Can’t Keep Accelerating Forever

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As I not­ed in last week’s post “Is This The Great Crash Of Chi­na?”, the pre­vi­ous crash of China’s stock mar­ket in 2007 lacked the two essen­tial pre-req­ui­sites for a gen­uine cri­sis: pri­vate debt was only about 100% of GDP, and it had been rel­a­tive­ly con­stant for the pre­vi­ous decade. This bust how­ev­er is the real deal, because unlike the 2007-08 crash, the essen­tial ingre­di­ents of exces­sive pri­vate debt and exces­sive growth in that debt are well and tru­ly in place.

Click here to read the rest of this post.

Is This The Great Crash Of China?

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Chi­na’s sec­ond stock mar­ket crash will be its first ful­ly fledged eco­nom­ic cri­sis

Chi­na has achieved a remark­able trans­for­ma­tion in the last 30 years—something that you can only ful­ly appre­ci­ate if, like me, you vis­it­ed Chi­na before that trans­for­ma­tion began. In 1981/82, I took a group of Aus­tralian jour­nal­ists on a tour of Chi­na on behalf of the Aus­tralia-Chi­na Coun­cil. The key pur­pose was to take part in a sem­i­nar with Chi­nese jour­nal­ists under the aus­pices of the “All-Chi­na Jour­nal­ists Asso­ci­a­tion”. Giv­en the unfor­tu­nate acronym by our Chi­nese hosts of SAPS—for the “Sino-Aus­tralian Press Seminar”—it was the first sem­i­nar between Chi­nese jour­nal­ists and those of any oth­er nation.

Good Universities and Bad Economics

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For the next two days, I’m tak­ing part in a pecu­liar­ly British insti­tu­tion (and I’m start­ing to real­ize just how many pecu­liar British insti­tu­tions there are) called “Clear­ing”. This is where Uni­ver­si­ties towards the bot­tom of the sta­tus peck­ing order here in the UK offer places to stu­dents who didn’t get good enough marks to get into Uni­ver­si­ties towards the top of the peck­ing order.

Help make Minsky easier to use

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I’ve just put A$10,000 of my own mon­ey towards improv­ing Min­sky, the Open Source pro­gram I have designed to enable econ­o­mists to cre­ate dynam­ic and mon­e­tary mod­els of the econ­o­my. If you sup­port the work I’m doing to help eco­nom­ics escape its 19th cen­tu­ry equi­lib­ri­um fetish, please con­sid­er also mak­ing a dona­tion to Min­sky’s devel­op­ment via Dr Rus­sell Stan­dish’s Pay­Pal account (or via direct deb­it, using the account details you’ll find below):

Death of a Great Australian: Hugh Stretton 1924–2015

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The great poly­math and human­i­tar­i­an Hugh Stret­ton died this week­end. I can do no bet­ter than to repro­duce anoth­er great Aus­tralian’s trib­ute to him.

The fol­low­ing is from Geoff Har­court.

Hugh died last Sat­ur­day at the age of 91 after a long ill­ness. I had known him since 1958 when I first came to Ade­laide where he was the much-admired Pro­fes­sor of His­to­ry. In lat­er years we became firm friends, though I con­tin­ued to regard him with awe and admi­ra­tion. He was a giant intel­lect, eas­i­ly Australia’s most deep and pro­gres­sive thinker, and a remark­ably kind and humane man who lived up to his ideals in many prac­ti­cal ways.

Help Renegade Inc. get over the line in the next 70 hours

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Rene­gade Inc., the media group that pro­duced the Four Horse­men doc­u­men­tary about the finan­cial cri­sis, is run­ning a Kick­starter Cam­paign to raise US$45,000 to under­write its next doc­u­men­tary.

Click here to go to Kick­starter and donate.

The Four Horse­men doc­u­men­tary has been an inde­pen­dent media suc­cess, with over three mil­lion views on YouTube. It has also shown at more than three hun­dred Q and A ses­sions in sev­en­teen coun­tries. Ross and Megan Ashcroft, the prin­ci­pals of Rene­gade Inc., want to pro­duce a doc­u­men­tary for the post-crisis–or rather per­ma­nent crisis–world in which we now live. They also plan to fol­low this up with an inde­pen­dent media plat­form, to give the pub­lic some­thing oth­er than the super­fi­cial pap that dom­i­nates the media cov­er­age of eco­nom­ics, pol­i­tics and cul­ture today.

Will We Crash Again? (FT/Alphaville Presentation)

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This is the talk I gave at the FT/Alphaville con­fer­ence in Lon­don last week. A num­ber of peo­ple asked me to send the PPT to them, and I got buried in oth­er work and the emails are long lost in my Gmail queue. So if you’d like to down­load the pre­sen­ta­tion file, please click here. My apolo­gies to those cor­re­spon­dents to whom I haven’t replied direct­ly.

To run the Min­sky mod­el, down­load Min­sky from here and install it.