Credit Crisis Archives - Emile Woolf writes

Government knows what it is doing? Dream on

SEPTEMBER 2012 King Canute was neither vain nor foolish. He ordered the tide to recede only to demonstrate to his court that even his awesome powers had limits. Vain and foolish politicians, however, aspire to preserve the myth of Euroland and still believe that, by hook or (especially) by crook, they might actually make it […]

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BANKING SCANDALS: CAN THE RBS SAGA TELL US ANYTHING NEW?

It’s not as if each successive banking scandal throws up new insights. The proverbial “innocent bystander” might reasonably suppose that, by now, something would have been learnt from the cyclical repetition of egregious behaviour and the crises it generates. Much of this behaviour is just plain foolish: unbridled credit expansion; lending practices landing banks with […]

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Economic Perspectives 15 – “Demand stimulus unmasked”

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with being “contrarian” when dispelling a myth – especially one which conventional wisdom believes to be true. On 30th March 1981, for example, 364 academic economists famously sent a round-robin letter to The Times, roundly condemning the budget that Margaret Thatcher and her Chancellor, Geoffrey Howe, had just delivered. They […]

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Useless Sanctions against Banks

‘ACCOUNTANCY’ – JANUARY 2017 MONETARY SANCTIONS? USELESS ON THEIR OWN Unfortunately for our profession, the ‘Big 4’ label may equally be taken to refer to HSBC, RBS, Lloyds and Barclays, which between them have incurred an eye-watering £50 billion in fines and lawsuits since the financial crisis began ten years ago. Their misdemeanours relate mainly […]

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Legitimising corrupt practices

February 2017 “ACCOUNTANCY” Legitimising corrupt practices In last month’s column I commented on the huge fines levied on financial institutions guilty of violating securities laws, noting that natural justice would be better served if these vast penalties were applied to compensate victims, rather than enriching culprits’ lawyers – while leaving the transgressors’ obscene levels of […]

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Economic Perspectives 9 – Regulatory extortion and legitimising corruption

News media gloat over the eye-watering levels of retribution (in the form of fines and penalties) finally being meted out to aberrant banks found guilty of having violated securities laws leading up to the last financial crash. I find it astonishing, firstly, that it has taken close to 10 years to identify, formulate and punish […]

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ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES – 8 -’The dollar is not forever’

Economic Perspectives – 8 THE DOLLAR IS NOT FOREVER [This follows on from my previous essay in this series, and explores alternatives to dollar hegemony, and possible outcomes, in a little more detail. I am again indebted to Professor Patrick Barron for the insights expressed in his March 2016 ‘podcasts’ that inspired these two essays […]

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Economic Perspectives – 7 -How the US Dollar became the world’s reserve currency

Economic Perspectives -7 The US Dollar is the world’s “reserve currency” for international trade settlements – how did it happen, and will it last? [I am indebted to Professor Patrick Barron for the insights expressed in his March 2016 ‘podcast’, which inspired this chapter of ‘Economic Perspectives’] 1 – America collects gold, the world’s first […]

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Pension fund audits: time for a rethink

November 2016 “Accountancy” The central bankers’ obsession with interest rate cuts as a means of stimulating economic recovery reminds me of the “dare” games we played as children, such as “how long can you keep your finger in the candle flame?” Or, in banking terms, “how close to zero can you fix interest rates before […]

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