Question: When does risk aversion become risky behavior? Answer: when you are a large financial institution in today’s world, especially a behemoth bank like JPMorgan Chase, attempting to navigate both labyrinthine regulations and shareholder demand for endless profit.
Since the financial meltdown, it's become conventional wisdom that prior to the crisis, the world was awash in too much easy money—and that now it doesn't have enough. It's a tidy thesis, widely accepted. It's also wrong. What's remarkable about our post-crisis reality isn't that we're not capital-starved; on the contrary, we're still swimming in excess liquidity. During those months of panic, all that cash didn't evaporate. A lot of it just got stashed on the sidelines. Now the global pool is growing again, and the next market bubbles are already popping up.
As the United States racks up ever higher budget deficits, China has bought ever greater quantities of American debt. Now many observers—including the U.S. and Chinese governments—are concerned about imbalances in the relationship between the two countries.
The wreckage of the financial crisis is producing many warnings that globalization is dead, as trade and investment slow. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, global companies have rarely been in a stronger position, and if you want to get a sense of where such businesses are heading, look no further than IBM.
America and China accounted for half of global GDP growth last year. To stay strong, they must work more closely together. America, still the global leader, needs to take charge. Karabell sees five ways the U.S. can strengthen the one trade partnership that is too big to fail.
China is not happy. That's the title of the bestselling book in China. The five nationalist authors say it is time for China to "split from the West," particularly the United States and the Treasury bonds that Beijing holds to the tune of $1 trillion. This desire for greater distance from America is growing: in a May poll conducted by China's Global Times, 87 percent said they were against buying more U.S. debt.
It has now been firmly established—and endlessly repeated—that the world is mired in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. In the past weeks alone, there have been headlines announcing the "worst industrial production numbers since World War II" and the greatest contraction of prices since the middle of last century.
More than 4 million Americans have been fired since last fall, and the job losses are far from over. April began with yet another stunningly bad report—663,000 jobs lost. The unemployment rate, now 8.5 percent, is likely to hit double digits over the coming months. Some economists say that even if the economy begins to recover later this year, it may not pick up enough steam to bring down unemployment until well into 2010.
As the equity markets take another huge step down, it's assumed that American consumers are so shell shocked by their loss of wealth that they will continue to hoard what little cash they have. Yet this relentless negativity may well be overblown: consumers didn't begin this crisis, but they may very well end it.
As the equity markets take another huge step downward, it's likely that American consumers will continue to be shellshocked by their loss of wealth in both homes and stocks. Yet the relentless negativity about the state of the American consumer may well be overblown.
With the financial system in tatters and trillions of dollars of public financing at stake, economic experts have become a priestly caste. Every day, on air, online and in print, dozens of economists and strategists proclaim their views on how bad the crisis will get and how long it will last. But there's reason to be skeptical. Even though a fair number of these economic forecasters are informed and astute, they are not objective or neutral. I should know, because I've been one. And while I have always said what I believe, what I believe sometimes has been subtly shaped by who pays the bills.
It's become a mantra: American consumers have been living beyond their means, borrowing promiscuously, and now the bill is coming due. Having nearly drowned in a sea of debt, U.S. consumers must now repair their finances, spend more prudently and recognize the wisdom of past generations: spend only what you earn. But while endlessly repeated by financial gurus, politicians and the media, the belief that American consumers as a whole have been living beyond their means is a myth. Wall Street was massively overextended, but on average, consumers are not.
It's become a mantra: American consumers have been living beyond their means, using their homes as piggy banks, borrowing promiscuously, and now the bill is coming due. Having nearly drowned in a sea of debt, U.S. consumers must now repair their personal finances, spend more prudently and recognize the wisdom of past generations: spend only what you earn and what you have.
They've been dubbed financial weapons of mass destruction, attacked for causing the financial turmoil sweeping the nation and identified as the kryptonite that brought down the global economy. Derivatives have become the universal symbol of Wall Street greed, yet few Main Streeters really know what they are—namely, financial contracts between a buyer and a seller that derive value from an underlying asset, such as a mortgage or a stock. That hasn't stopped public opinion from turning forcefully against them. Most experts believe that Barack Obama needs to put an end to the financial alchemy that turned low-quality mortgages into trillions of dollars of high-priced derivatives. There seems to be near consensus that derivatives were a source of undue risk.
The recent gala opening of the Atlantis hotel on Dubai's Palm island gave one a strong sense the emirate's elite were fiddling while Rome burned. The sheets had hardly been stripped from the beds of the departing guests when the hotel's developer, the government-owned Nakheel Properties,
You've heard the story. On the heels of tumbling shares and dire warnings from the U.S. president, as well as business and government officials across the globe, the British prime minister says, "The world economy is facing its greatest risk in decades." To halt the slide, he calls for a global response to prevent the crisis from spiraling out of control.
Remember the ownership society? It was a vision woven by President George W. Bush when he was running for re-election in 2004, which saw every American family in a home, and a government that stayed out of the way of the American Dream. The families were, of course, conservative, or at a minimum traditional and nuclear, consisting of a heterosexual married couple and at least two kids living in a stand-alone home with a yard,
In the space of ten days, the U.S. government took over two mortgage-bond behemoths, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and assumed de facto control of one of the world's largest insurance companies, AIG. But is this worthy of all the panic?
If there is one ubiquitous piece of financial advice, it is this: invest in different markets. Each month, the major private wealth banks in the world publish their recommended allocations. They might suggest putting 60 percent in stocks, and in turn breaking that down into U.S., European and emerging-market stocks, and an additional 40 percent in bonds, varying from U.S. Treasuries to municipal notes.
Environmental concern is suddenly all the rage, all around the world. Unless you've been asleep, you've read many articles about this hot trend. In early July, China lifted gasoline subsidies, in part to force consumers and businesses to confront the costs of using more of that ever more costly resource.
Environmental concern is suddenly all the rage, all around the world. Unless you've been buried in a coal mine for the past year, you've been inundated with articles about this hot new trend. In early July, China lifted gasoline subsidies, in part to force consumers and businesses to confront the costs of using more of that ever-more costly resource.
Lehman Brothers, one of the premier Wall Street investment banks, announced a new round of steep losses in the ongoing credit crisis. Critics were quick to point the finger at one glaring issue: "It's the lack of transparency," said one prominent fund manager. "Most investors don't have any way of knowing what is out there in terms of bad debt."
American culture at the end of 2002 is adrift. As quickly as the New Economy rose, it fell, leaving America rudderless once again. In the 1970s, after the seeming failure of big government to improve people's lives, it took several years for the free-market ethos of the 1980s to assert itself. Now we are in a new vacuum, but we will soon discover a new Zeitgeist.
New crises produce new experts. A high-profile trial means that we'll see defense attorneys and prosecutors airing their differences on CNN. An election logjam means we'll hear from political consultants and campaign reporters. The events of September 11 dramatically altered the news agenda. Americans now care about Islam, and a group of scholars has emerged to explain it to them. A Princeton professor talks with Charlie Rose on PBS; a Johns Hopkins academic sits next to Dan Rather during the CBS nightly news; a Georgetown teacher entertains questions on CNN. Since the attacks of September 11, these scholars are in the spotlight, and at stake is not only whether the West can come to terms with Islam, but whether the world can prevent the destruction of suicidal extremism.
In the wake of September 11, the reading interests of the American public have changed. To a lesser extent, so have the interests of readers throughout the Western world. This may not rank as one of the more significant consequences of the attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, but it does reflect a new awareness on the part of millions of people--an awareness of just how ignorant they have been about Muslims.
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