Continuing the incredulous unraveling of the financial markets, AIG has become the latest recipient of US Fed and Treasury orchestrated and US tax-payer funded bailout (see here - NY Times free account needed - and here). Adding to mass hysteria is knowledge that a prominent money market fund dipped below a $1 NAV yesterday (it sounds mundane, but basically realizes risk in the traditionally most riskless and liquid asset class available).
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Posted by Sarah Bauerle Danzman at 10:06 AM . Wednesday, September 17, 2008
It's hard for most to conceptualize just how recent events on Wall Street will effect the global financial environment, mostly because the financial instruments that got us into this mess by failing to accurately assess risk are so hard to understand (see here for a basis primer on derivatives). The proliferation of esoteric credit derivatives on the global financial market has made a lot of people a lot of money, but it's also contributed to increased opacity of information and a decrease in the ability of governments to regulate. And now, the chickens are coming home to roost.
As Alex mentioned in his previous post, the events of the past few weeks (and really the past six months) beg the question of what appropriate regulation looks like and how to get there. In an interconnected financial world, how much space are we willing to give to free market machinations? When do you think the government, governments, or institutions should step in, if at all? How will the effects of a systemic under-estimation of risk change investor behavior going forward (especially large investors like oil-rich countries and sovereign wealth funds)?