Monday, 26 October 2009

Lehman and the Financial Crisis

In a recent article in The Washington Post, John Cochrane and Luigi Zingales, both from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, wrote about the collapse of Lehman Brothers, its bail out by the Federal Reserve and the ensuing financial crisis. In the article, they argue that those who believe that the Fed should have not intervened are wrong. But not for the standard reasons, not because of its enormous costs to the government budget. Banks now, they claim, know that they will be bailed out in the future. That will fuel more irresponsible behavior, that the Fed, so far, has been uncapable to deter. "A system with so much power vested in so few people, with so few rules, in which crises are managed with 2 a.m. conference calls, cannot possibly do better," they say. Cochrane and Zingales predict that the next crisis will be so global and so systemic that no government effort will be enough to avert it. "This system cannot go on," they conclude, in an unparalleled bold statement.

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