Financial Crisis: Views from Chicago

My wait is over. Here are two views from Chicago that I consider, even I may or may not agree with their takes on things.

From Becker (emphasis added),

Future moral hazards created by these actions are certainly worrisome. On the one hand, the equity of stockholders and of management in Fannie and Freddie, Bears Stern, AIG, and Lehman Brothers have been almost completely wiped out, so they were not spared major losses. On the other hand, that makes it difficult to raise additional equity for companies in trouble because suppliers of equity would expect their capital to be wiped out in any future forced governmental assistance program. Furthermore, that bondholders in Bears Stern and these other companies were almost completely protected implies that future financing will be biased toward bonds and away from equities since bondholders will expect protections against governmental responses to future adversities that are not available to equity participants. Although the government was apparently concerned that foreign central banks were major holders of the bonds of the Freddies, I believe it was unwise to give them and other bondholders such full protection.

From Posner (emphasis added),

I do not criticize the delegation of the handling of the crisis to (in effect) the finance industry. I imagine that Bernanke and Paulson and their private-sector advisers are the ablest crisis managers whom one could find. I merely want to emphasize that the financial crisis is indeed a “crisis of capitalism” rather than a failure of government, though it will not and should not lead to the displacement of free-market capitalism by an alternative system of economic management. But it is already shifting the boundary between the free market and the government toward the latter.

Posner wrote this (emphasis added), “… the financial industry attracted enormously able people. It was not a deficiency in IQ that produced the crisis.” May be it is the over-abundance of IQ that produced the crisis!

I hope we haven’t forgotten the lessons we should have learned from “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” (see YouTube trailer)?

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