Comments: God Hates Dean Baker

Seriously. This is the man doing God's work.

Posted by JRB at April 18, 2010 07:12 PM

Isn't it plausible, though, that without the CDOs (and other machination) there would've been no housing bubble; or, let's say, the bubble wouldn't have grown anywhere near to the extent it did?

Posted by abb1 at April 19, 2010 03:04 AM

OK, now all we have to do is to identify which God.

Posted by Jesus B Ochoa at April 19, 2010 07:22 AM

Isn't it plausible, though, that without the CDOs (and other machination) there would've been no housing bubble; or, let's say, the bubble wouldn't have grown anywhere near to the extent it did?

Difficult to say, but the stock bubble was about the same size without CDOs, etc. Japan had a similar bubble without CDOs. And there have been crazy asset bubbles throughout history.

It's true it probably wouldn't have grown quite so monstrous without the financial wizardry. But it would have been disastrous regardless.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at April 19, 2010 07:58 AM

The CDOs and all other financial wizardry are a fog that people couldn't see through, which let people believe what they wanted to believe, which in turn let the bubble keep growing long after it would have stopped had people been able to see clearly.

Of course sophisticated investors and types like Greenspan know that bubbles pop, but JS is right that timing is the key. Whole fortunes can be made during the time between when a bubble should pop and when it does pop, and the game is fun for these finance guys in the same way war is fun for diplomats and generals.

Posted by N E at April 19, 2010 10:29 AM

And there have been crazy asset bubbles throughout history.

Yes, there have been. That's why they invented those rating services, like Moody's, etc. - to tell you that a tulip can't be worth as much as a cow. And that should've worked, if the system wasn't corrupt through and through.

And for that reason, I feel that saying "it all happened because of the housing bubble" is kinda missing the point. Housing bubble is not an act of god, it's not like volcano.

Posted by abb1 at April 19, 2010 05:48 PM

abb1

A speculative bubble is to unregulated capitalism as a volcano is to nature. But yeah, capitalism can be tamed with regulation, and then of course the problems are different.

Personally, i like the different problems better. You know, like people being unwilling to work all the time because they're happier.

Posted by N E at April 19, 2010 07:49 PM

N E's hysteria continues unabated, I see.

Jim Carville, your secret identity as "N E" at ATR, it's safe with me.

Posted by CF Oxtrot at April 20, 2010 01:34 PM