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David Leonhardt’i artikkel Can’t Grasp Credit Crisis? Join the Club New York Times’is on hulgaliselt viitamist leidnud, sest tundub olevat üks selgemaid ja lühemaid kirjeldusi sellest, mis olid praeguse kriisi peamisteks liikumapanevateks jõududeks:

It really started in 1998, when large numbers of people decided that real estate, which still hadn’t recovered from the early 1990s slump, had become a bargain. At the same time, Wall Street was making it easier for buyers to get loans. It was transforming the mortgage business from a local one, centered around banks, to a global one, in which investors from almost anywhere could pool money to lend.

The new competition brought down mortgage fees and spurred some useful innovation. Why, after all, should someone who knows that she’s going to move after just a few years have no choice but to take out a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage?

As is often the case with innovations, though, there was soon too much of a good thing. Those same global investors, flush with cash from Asia’s boom or rising oil prices, demanded good returns. Wall Street had an answer: subprime mortgages.

Alan Greenspan (keda näeb praeguse olukorra taga ka Leonhardt) sai Financial Times’is enda seisukoha välja öelda artiklis We will never have a perfect model of risk ja selgitada, mis tema arvates praegu finantsturgudel toimuv on just puuduliku riskide hindamisega seotud:

The essential problem is that our models – both risk models and econometric models – as complex as they have become, are still too simple to capture the full array of governing variables that drive global economic reality. A model, of necessity, is an abstraction from the full detail of the real world. In line with the time-honoured observation that diversification lowers risk, computers crunched reams of historical data in quest of negative correlations between prices of tradeable assets; correlations that could help insulate investment portfolios from the broad swings in an economy. When such asset prices, rather than offsetting each other’s movements, fell in unison on and following August 9 last year, huge losses across virtually all risk-asset classes ensued.

The most credible explanation of why risk management based on state-of-the-art statistical models can perform so poorly is that the underlying data used to estimate a model’s structure are drawn generally from both periods of euphoria and periods of fear, that is, from regimes with importantly different dynamics.

Tyler Cowen pühendas seekord enda New York Times’i kolumni samuti finantsturgudel toimuvale. Aeg ajalt sama teemat enda blogis kajastades on Cowen juba tõstatanud tehingute puudumisega kaasneva problemaatika, kuid It’s Hard To Thaw a Frozen Market võtab mitmed tema mõtted kokku ühes artiklis:

The absence of trading is a big problem. Financial institutions have been stuck holding illiquid assets, whose value cannot be easily determined. Who wants to lend to the institutions holding them? No wonder there is a credit crisis and a general attitude of wait and see.

This gridlock is especially harmful because leverage is so high, and financial institutions are so interconnected through swaps and loans. Institutions that rely so heavily on debt are precarious and need up-to-date information about valuations. When they don’t have it, markets freeze up. This is what has taken policymakers by surprise and turned a real estate crash into a much bigger financial problem.

Kui Cowen’i jutt pakub huvi, siis hiljuti vestles ta EconTalk’i raames finantsturgudel toimuvast Russel Robertsiga enam kui tunni jooksul. Muu hulgas tuleb juttu ka kullastandardist nagu ka sellest, miks kullastandard ei pruugi veel olla mingi lahendus.

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