Wednesday, February 13, 2008

We're Not So Special

. Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kenneth Rogoff: "As the United States’ epic financial crisis continues to unfold; one can only wish that US policymakers were half as good at listening to advice from developing countries as they are at giving it. Americans don’t seem to realize that their “sub-prime” mortgage meltdown has all too much in common with many previous post-1945 banking crises throughout the world.

Professor Carmen Reinhart of the University of Maryland and I systematically compared the run-up to the US sub-prime crisis with the run-up to the 19 worst financial crises in the industrialized world over the past 60 years. These include epic crises in the Scandinavian countries, Spain, and Japan, along with lesser events such as the US savings and loan crises of the 1980’s.

Across virtually all the major indicators – including equity and housing price runs-ups, trade balance deficits, surges in government and household indebtedness, and pre-crisis growth trajectories – red lights are blinking for the US. Simply put, surging capital flows into the US artificially held down interest rates and inflated asset prices, leading to laxity in banking and regulatory standards and, ultimately, to a meltdown.

The US economy is in trouble, and the problems it spins off are unlikely to stop at the US border. Experts from emerging markets and elsewhere have much to say about dealing with financial crises. America should start to listen before it is too late."

You can access the academic paper this op-ed draws upon here.


We're Not So Special




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