Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Panic Stage

Source: The Wall Street Journal

"In his book "Manias, Panics and Crashes," the economic historian Charles Kindleberger describes the stages of financial boom and bust. Students of the good professor will recognize where we now are in the current credit crisis: the panic stage. It isn't a pretty sight, but a crash is far from inevitable if political and economic leaders keep their wits about them and focus on the proper remedies.

Amid the daily market turmoil, and to help prevent a crash, it helps to step back and remember how we got here. With the benefit of hindsight, everyone can see that the U.S. economy built up an enormous credit bubble that has now popped. Our own view -- which we warned about going back to 2003 -- is that this bubble was created principally by a Federal Reserve that kept real interest rates too low for too long."

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