April 09, 2009

Six Years Later...

1 comment:

Bukko_in_Australia said...

And there wasn't even a march here on March 19 to mark the start of the invasion. The last one I atended, in 2007, was paltry. Now, it's just a forgotten anniversary of misery that goes on and on.

But the real reason I'm commenting is to say that after closer perusal, it turns out I DIDN'T read that Portfolio.com article about the scam behind CDS's. I had read something similar by the "Liar's Poker" guy about that time, but only after reading all nine pages (I really did -- quiz me!) did I realise it was another article.

While I can't say it broke entirely new ground, because I read as much about economics as I do politics these days, it fleshed out my knowledge. And you can't beat anecdotes like the way he recounted those two "structured finance industry" conventions he went to, and the people he met. What a scam it all was.

Here's something to think about, Gandhi. That article focused on the flim-flammery around home mortgages. It didn't touch upon commercial real estate. You're probably aware that there was as much in dollar value of shopping malls, office buildings, hotels, golf resorts and similar non-residential projects put up during the bubble years, right? And there is probably as much in bad mortgages, credit default swaps on the bad mortgages, CDS's on the companies that built the stuff that's now in bad mortgage land, and derivatives based on them. It's going to get worse as the U.S. economy tanks more.

Then there are the bad car loans, and bad student loans, and bad credit card loans -- all of which were securitised. These will also blow, bit by bit. So the problem described in that long article is probably only one-third of what is happening.

We are so screwed, mate. The full extent of what's going to happen is beyond comprehension, if I'm not being apocalyptically paranoid. The amount of imaginary money that's going to be wiped out and sent to "credit heaven" might be worth more than the value of everything on Earth (since fake money is unlimited, but the worth of the Earth is finite.)

It's going to amazing, and awful, to watch as it unfolds. But that's one of the things that keeps me wanting to stay alive -- I'm keen on seeing what turns up next!


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