Purge or splurge


I can recommend a number of good articles on the current financial crisis by John Stepek over at MoneyWeek. Well worth a read to purge you of the largely ropey and misdirected media coverage.

In an article entitled The government can't stop the recession - but it can make it worse written following the nationalisation of Fannie and Freddie, he drew attention to the oft ignored fact that: “Fannie and Freddie had the implicit backing of the US government. That meant they could borrow money almost as cheaply as the government. That meant they could buy up more loans than anyone else. That's why they now dominate the US mortgage market. And that's why the government – which first created them – has now had to bring the prodigals back onto its balance sheet".

In another article entitled Short-sellers didn't cause this crisis - the government and bankers did, Stepek gets it right by making this analogy: “Bankers may well have acted as if they’ve been sitting in the casino during the boom years. But it was a state-owned casino, with governments as the croupiers, and central bankers behind the bar giving out free booze".

A couple of days ago, Stepek dealt with the rather pointless question that seems to tapping at the nation’s zeitgeist: Is this the death of capitalism?: “What's the solution? Ideally, I'd say just ditch central banks and let the market set interest rates. Central banks, regardless of how ostensibly independent they are, are instruments of the government. The government wants happy voters, and free money makes people happy. So there's always the temptation to keep the money flowing freely". Is Stepek calling for the Denationalisation of Money. If so, a timely lesson attributable to the great Hayek.