Last month I spoke at a seminar on the financial crisis organised by The Whitlam Institute, in reply to a speech by Professor John Quiggin. Guy Debelle, the Assistant Governor (for Financial Markets) of the Reserve Bank of Australia, was the other discussant.
The Institute has put together a very professional video of the discussion, which has been picked up by SlowTV, a free internet TV channel run by The Monthly, an Australian magazine of comment and analysis which, amongst many other things, published Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s lengthy essay on the Global Financial Crisis in which he explicitly critiqued neoliberalism.
I’m speaking at the Australian Shareholders Association Investor Hour next Tuesday (August 18) at 12pm with the topic “The Market Crash: Origins and Prospects”.
I’ll take a long view of the financial data–going back to 1890–and explain the booms and crashes of stock markets as symptoms of debt bubbles and their bursting. From that point of view, this is the largest asset-price bubble in the last 120 years–and probably in all of history. The prognosis for the market is therefore grim, despite the current rally.
This is mainly a post for my active discussants, who are now suffering from the volume of debate here with 399 posts on the previous topic, and my own workload right now that is making writing a new post impossible.
I had hoped to post a new substantive column on Monday about recent economic and housing market data, but with the new subject I’m teaching (Behavioural Finance) plus other work commitments there’s no way I’m going to get there.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has followed up his critique of neoliberalism with a new essay in the Sydney Morning Herald on the causes of the crisis, and the policies needed after recovery.
With one exception, his key explanations for the crisis are the same as those identified by myself and the handful of other economists who predicted this crisis before it happened:
I will be a panelist at Australia in the Red, a forum on debt organised by The Daily Reckoning & Money Morning, to be held at the State Library of Victoria on Friday July 31st from 7pm-11pm. The evening includes a panel discussion on debt–with Dan Denning, Kris Sayce, Phillip Anderson and Gabriel Andre as well as myself–followed by the screening of “I.O.U.S.A.”.
The following information is taken from their promotion for the event, tickets for which are limited and cost $199–click here for the online booking form. The “I’ll” below is Dan Denning.
The Whitlam Institute is conducting a series of talks on the financial crisis. The third of these will be held this coming Thursday (July 23rd) at the Riverside Theatre complex in Parramatta (on the corner of Church and Market Streets). The keynote paper is being given by Professor John Quiggin, with myself and Guy Debelle, the Assistant Governor (Financial Markets) of the RBA as discussants.
Professor Quiggin will present his paper “After the Crisis” for about 30–40 minutes, after which there will be a 20 minute question and answer session with the audience.
The widely believed proposition that this financial crisis was “a tsunami that no-one saw coming”, and that could not have been predicted, has been given the lie to by an excellent survey of economic models by Dirk Bezemer, a Professor of Economics at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
Bezemer did an extensive survey of research by economists or financial market commentators, looking for papers that met four criteria:
“Only analysts were included who:
- provide some account on how they arrived at their conclusions.
“Gentleman, you have come sixty days too late. The depression is over.” - Herbert Hoover, responding to a delegation requesting a public works program to help speed the recovery, June 1930
Economic historians Barry Eichengreen and Kevin H. O’Rourke are using empirical data to compare this downturn to the Great Depression. I’ll be referring to and adding to their comparison in the next Debtwatch (which will be published late next week, before the RBA’s July meeting), but the research is so good that it deserves to be highlighted now.
Their conclusion is compelling:
To summarise: the world is currently undergoing an economic shock every bit as big as the Great Depression shock of 1929–30. Looking just at the US leads one to overlook how alarming the current situation is even in comparison with 1929–30.