In a speech at the Kansas City Fed’s annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Bernanke summarized a hellish year and explained modestly how he and his central bank colleagues saved the world from a bigger disaster.
"The world has been through the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression," he said. "As severe as the economic impact has been, however, the outcome could have been decidedly worse."
If the Fed, other central banks and other government leaders hadn’t acted in a coordinated and aggressive way in September and October of 2008, "the resulting global downturn could have been extraordinarily deep and protracted," Bernanke said.
The policy response "averted the imminent collapse of the global financial system, an outcome that seemed all too possible to the finance ministers and central bankers."
Reflections on a Year of Crisis
To be fair to Bernanke, he never directly claimed to have "Saved The World". That is a trumped-up headline by MarketWatch.
Since we last met here, the world has been through the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression. The crisis in turn sparked a deep global recession, from which we are only now beginning to emerge.
As severe as the economic impact has been, however, the outcome could have been decidedly worse. Unlike in the 1930s, when policy was largely passive and political divisions made international economic and financial cooperation difficult, during the past year monetary, fiscal, and financial policies around the world have been aggressive and complementary. Without these speedy and forceful actions, last October’s panic would likely have continued to intensify, more major financial firms would have failed, and the entire global financial system would have been at serious risk. We cannot know for sure what the economic effects of these events would have been, but what we know about the effects of financial crises suggests that the resulting global downturn could have been extraordinarily deep and protracted.
Although we have avoided the worst, difficult challenges still lie ahead. We must work together
Note: With today's release of the Federal Reserve's Z.1. Financial Accounts of the United States for Q4 2015, we have updated this commentary to incorporate the latest data.
Let's take a long-term view of household net worth from the latest Z.1 release. A quick glance at the complete data series shows a distinct bubble in net worth that peaked in Q4 2007 with a trough in Q1 2009, the same quarter the stock market bottomed. The latest Fed balance sheet shows a total net worth at an all-time high — 58.9% above the 2009 trough and 28.3% above the 2007 peak. The nominal Q3 net worth is up 1.9% from the previous quarter and 3.1% year-over-year.
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Do you remember when you were growing up and all your friends were allowed Atari game consoles but you weren’t?
Well, I do and the things seemed as foreign to me as Venus. Mostly because the little time I managed to spend on the gaming consoles when my friends weren’t hogging them I found it all a bit silly. I never “got” computer games, and to this day still have poor comprehension of things like Angry Birds.
I suspect that many people around the world view Bitcoin in the same way as I view Angry Birds: with mild amusement and a general lack of understanding as to what the hell all the fuss is about.
I was thinking of this since a buddy of mine recently started ...
After a three-year bull run that more than quadrupled its value by its peak last July, IBD’s Medical-Biomed/Biotech Industry Group plunged 50% by early February, hurt by backlashes against high drug prices and mergers that seek to lower corporate taxes.
Although we try to stay focused on finding and managing promising trade ideas, the comments in the comment section sometimes take a political turn (for access, try PSW — click here!). So today, Jean Luc writes,
The GOP debate last night was just unreal – are these people running to be president of the US or to lead a college fraternity! Comparing tool size? The only guy that looks semi-sane is Kasich. The other guys are just like 3 jackals right now.
And something else – if Trump is the candidate, that little Romney speech yesterday is probably already being made into a commercial. And all these little snippets from the debate will also make some nice ads! If you are a conservative, you have to be scared now.
Phil writes back,
I was expecting them to start throwing poop at each other &n...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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