~ CATMBWGBTTPDW ~ Criminals Are The Main Beneficiaries When Governments Ban Things That People Desperately Want

~ WDATMG?-TMHGA;IWNRT ~ Where Did All The Money Go? – The Money Hasn’t Gone Anywhere; It Was Never Really There

~ TKT-AB-IT-TLBHDLAHPIS-R ~ The Key To – Asset Bubbles – Is That – The Link Between Higher Debt Levels And Higher Prices Is Self-Reinforcing

~ HB-AC-A-PHTS-TIBSBHALOSWTAI-B-EA-L ~ Housing Bubbles – Are Common – And – Particularly Hard To Stop – That Is Because Such Bubbles Have A Lot Of Supporters While They Are Inflating – Banks – Estate Agents – Lawyers

~ ALSHTBRITBWTBKG ~ And Lending Standards Had To Be Relaxed If The Boom Was To Be Kept Going

~ W-CE-IIHTGB-TATBM-CTTFITS ~ Without – Credit Expansion – It Is Hard To Generate Bubbles – The Ability To Borrow Money – Creates The Temptation For Investors To Speculate

~ B-DOD-TGS-H-TEO-BW-RTRBOTS-TWNLTTAOMACTCBC ~ Bubbles – Did Occur During – The Gold Standard – However – The End Of – Bretton Woods – Released The Remaining Brake On The System – There Was No Limit To The Amount Of Money And Credit That Could Be Created

~ FER-A-LTD-A-GICM-TA-TFS-TGAA-F-F-SM-A-CAVIFHA(ASO)E-RR ~ Floating Exchange Rates – Allowed – Larger Trade Deficits – And – Greater International Capital Movements – This Allowed – The Financial Sector – To Grow As A – Facilitator – For – Such Movements – And – Created A Vast Industry For Hedging Against (And Speculating On) Exchange-Rate Risk

~ LFM-AA-CGTA-CBDNRIATDTPTRB-I-B-IWMF-B-NWTR-TES ~ Liberalizing Financial Markets – Also Allowed – Credit Growth To Accelerate – Central Banks Did Not Regard It As Their Duty To Pop The Resulting Bubbles – Instead – By – Intervening When Markets Fell – But – Not When They Rose – They Encouraged Speculation

~ TP-BWEHNJPB-IHABAB-TPGOTFS ~ The Post-Bretton Woods Era Has Not Just Produced Bubbles – It Has Also Been Accompanied By – The Phenomenal Growth Of The Financial Sector

~ TBWLCIAC-TTACETMFRTS-ATMFFAF-TTGBAB-SAPWRR-IBN(ODM)TFCUOTP ~ The Bankers Were Like Croupiers In A Casino – They Took A Cut Every Time Money Flowed Round The System – As The Money Flowed Faster And Faster – Their Take Got Bigger And Bigger – Since Asset Prices Were Rising Rapidly – Investors Barely Noticed (Or Didn’t Mind) The Finance Sector’s Cut Of Their Profits

~ TSMCTBDBTFS-THEOALTAGWOTBTTOR-BHLCATA-TUM-L ~ The Stock Market Came To Be Dominated By The Finance Sector – This Huge Expansion Owed A Lot To A Greater Willingness Of The Banks To Take On Risk – Banks Held Less Capital Against Their Assets – They Used More – Leverage

~ ‘MH’-DHNITMTHOTBSGSBTAWGTD ~ “Moral Hazard” – Depositors Have No Incentive To Monitor The Health Of Their Banks Since Governments Stand Behind Them And Will Guarantee Their Deposits

~ BFWTGRTR-MROTBS-A-TRDNSATKUWTB-PCITPS ~ Banks Found Ways To Get Round The Rules – Moving Risk Off Their Balance Sheets – And – The Regulators Did Not Seem Able To Keep Up With Their Better-Paid Counterparts In The Private Sector

~ T-FS-HBWECA-‘R-S’-CEPFIS ~ The – Finance Sector – Has Become What Economists Call A – “Rent-Seeker” – Charging Excessive Prices For Its Services

~ FPAOCWTRTTEPIO;CMBPOTOWRI ~ Financial Products Are Often Complex With The Result That The Effective Price Is Obscure; Clients May Be Paying Over The Odds Without Realizing It

~ TROCBTIIAB-OSTTFOEIBHAP-H-TMMW-I ~ The Reluctance Of Central Banks To Intervene In Asset Bubbles – Owed Something To The Feeling Of Euphoria Induced By Higher Asset Prices – However – The Main Motivation Was – Ideology

~ FA-HD-‘E-MT’-WSTCPWALTBABROTFSOTMTTVOAGOOCB-B-RA-HBCAATE-MHESIWD-ICBSTHANOB ~ Finance Academics – Had Developed – “Efficient-Market Theory” – Which Suggested That Current Prices Were Always Likely To Be A Better Reflection Of The Fundamental State Of The Market Than The View Of A Government Official Or Central Banker – But – Rival Academics – Have Been Chipping Away At The Efficient-Market Hypothesis Ever Since It Was Developed – Investors Can Be Shown To Have A Number Of Biases

~ ATBB-A-S-A-D-C-A-ATCILG-SRI-R-H-CTATTMCHTRI ~ As The Banks Became – All-Singing – All-Dancing – Conglomerates – And – As They Consolidated Into Larger Groups – Systemic Risk Increased – Regulators – However – Continued To Assume That The Market Could Handle The Risks Itself

~ STDFTPTTPS-SLTSWAALODOIB ~ Shifting The Debts From The Private To The Public Sector – Still Leaves The System With An Awful Lot Of Debt On Its Books

~ ‘C’-W-PP-GIO-TNTRTS-W-J-TB-A-S-OATBARA-WADPGO-GAHOTDC ~ “Clientelism” – When – Political Parties – Get Into Office – They Need To Reward Their Supporters – With – Jobs – Tax Breaks – And – Subsidies – Once Added These Boondoggles Are Rarely Abolished – When A Different Party Gains Office – Goodies Are Handed Out To Different Clients

~ J-FODF ~ Jubilee – Festival Of Debt Forgiveness

~ ‘OD’-TPO-DIBTAK ~ “Odious Debt” – The Problem Of – Deficits Incurred By Tyrants And Kleptocrats

~ ESGTOD-YGHHTPTDOTO-B-EGHBBTTL-TAOTDWMTINLTC-TPSIROOS ~ Ever Since Governments Took On Debt – Younger Generations Have Had To Pay The Debts Of The Old – But – Each Generation Has Been Bigger Than The Last – The Aging Of The Developed World Means This Is No Longer The Case – The Ponzi Scheme Is Running Out Of Suckers

~ TWHSCACIWMADHE ~ The World Has Seen Cycle After Cycle In Which Money And Debts Have Expanded

~ E-AHWBJAPTLANTBFAIS ~ Eventually – A House Will Be Just A Place To Live And Not The Basis For An Investment Strategy

~ SMOBAIATOOTO-IAD ~ Stagnation May Only Be An Interim Alternative To Our Other Two Options – Inflation And Default

~ TURIT-OCE-CTTASPOTITF-YIAYO-UTAUO ~ The Underlying Reality Is That – One Cannot Expect – Countries To Transfer A Significant Proportion Of Their Income To Foreigners – Year In And Year Out – Unless They Are Under Occupation

~ WDIOIOEII-TFILOAP ~ Whether Debt Is Owed Internally Or Externally Is Important – The Former Is Less Of A Problem

~ FRHBMMVTTSE ~ Floating Rates Have Been Much More Volatile Than Their Supporters Expected

~ TTISITDO-CC ~ The Tide Is Shifting In The Direction Of – Capital Controls

~ TDWHMIF-WAFBOAP-A-AEROTFS ~ The Developed World Has Mortgaged Its Future – With A Foolish Bet On Asset Prices – And – An Excessive Reliance On The Finance Sector

~ TDMBRIIM-O-DC-;TMBPOTOGWAGCTR;TMRIOD ~ The Debts May Be Repaid In Inflated Money – Or – Devalued Currency; They May Be Passed On To Other Governments With A Greater Capacity To Repay; They May Result In Outright Default

~ TGEIC;FMITW-IWNBFTB ~ The Global Economy Is Changing; For Many In The West – It Will Not Be For The Better

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