Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Could the 2008 Crash Have Been Prevented?

MortgageOrb Person of the Week: Robert Stowe England

Phil Hall of MortgageOrb writes December 13, 2011:

It has been more than three years since the September 2008 financial crisis, and many people are still trying to piece together what went so horribly wrong. Veteran financial journalist Robert Stowe England has offered his insight on what happened with his new book, "Black Box Casino: How Wall Street's Risky Shadow Banking Crashed Global Finance" (published by Praeger). MortgageOrb spoke with England about the circumstances that triggered the economic catastrophe.


Q: Was it possible that the 2008 financial crash could have been avoided? Or was this the financial services equivalent of a runaway train?

England: Both statements are true to some degree. There were so many vulnerabilities building up in the global financial system, it had, indeed, become a runaway train, while most did not yet realize that. Combine that with an ever-rising level of hidden bad credits and hidden bets and exposures, and a bad outcome was assured. In that sense, by 2005 or 2006, it was inevitable that we were headed for a train wreck. It was only a question of just how bad it was going to be.

There is a case to be made that certain actions could have prevented the coming crash from becoming the epic crisis it became. Admittedly, however, suggesting what might have been done to mitigate the expected outcome carries with it all the caveats one must make from hindsight bias.

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