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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Makow: Why were lessons of 1998 mini-crash ignored?

(Truth Seeker) -- The American financial system almost collapsed in 1998 when a hedge-fund, "Long Term Capital Management" went belly up. In a harbinger of 2008, banks had placed huge derivative bets on the Russian economy with LTCM. The Fed forced 13 US and international banks to purchase the hedge-fund. Altogether $4.6 Billion was lost. A PBS Frontline Documentary "The Warning" magnificently shows that although the American (and world) economies are at stake, the Clinton and Bush Administrations refused to regulate the derivative market, and allowed it to grow to an eventual $595 Trillion during the housing bubble. Not only did they refuse to regulate the industry, they forced out Brooksley Borne, the Chair of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, who had demanded action. During the credit crisis last year, former fed chairman Alan Greenspan was hauled before Congress and asked why he had refused to regulate these markets. The documentary shows him confessing that he had been "mistaken." The "world view" that had guided him for 40 years --that markets were self regulating-- had been wrong...Link