Causes of the financial crisis

Jeffrey Friedman has produced a special edition of Critical Review devoted to various perspectives on the crisis. Among the contributors are Friedman himself, Joe Stiglitz, Vernon Smith and Lawrence White

All the abstracts are here.

Friedman wrote a long lead article.

ABSTRACT: The financial crisis was caused by the complex, constantly growing web of regulations designed to constrain and redirect modern capitalism. This complexity made investors, bankers, and perhaps regulators themselves ignorant of regulations previously promulgated across decades and in different fields of regulation. These regulations interacted with each other to foster the issuance and securitization of subprime mortgages; their rating as AA or AAA; and their concentration on the balance sheets (and off the balance sheets) of many commercial and investment banks. As a practical matter, it was impossible to predict the disastrous outcome of these interacting regulations. This fact calls into question the feasibility of the century-old attempt to create a hybrid capitalism in which regulations are supposed to remedy economic problems as they arise.

A blog has been created to support further discussion by the contributors and others.

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