16 September 2008

Does Autumn attract financial Disasters?

This morning I am wondering if there is a connection between Autumn and major financial crisis. It just dawned on me that the three largest failures of the financial system all came in the season that is usually associated with the poetical "mist and mellow fruitfulness".

The Great Wall Street Crash of 1929 (often called 'Black Friday'), that turned the whole world into disaster and a long and painful depression with poverty, hyper-inflation and economic meltdowns, happened in October.

'Black Wednesday', that caused a meltdown of the British financial system and led to the British Pound Sterling being withdrawn from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), was September 16th, 1992 (exactly 16 years ago today).

And yesterday, on September 15th, 2008 - already dubbed 'Black Monday' - we witnessed the spectacular collapse of Lehman Brothers, the fourth-largest US investment bank, creating the largest bankruptcy case in American history. At the same time Merill Lynch, another of the great US investment banks, escaped the fate of Lehman Brothers by a whisker and was sold to Bank of America for a knock-down price.

This comes only days after the US Treasury decided to bail out America's two largest mortgage lenders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to prevent an even bigger disaster. That political action cost the US taxpayers $ 100 billion.

One wonders how long it will take before even the US government runs out of credit (they have run out of real money already years ago, in particular due to the war in Iraq, which has cost the US taxpayers so far more than $ 550 billion).

And I also wonder if Autumn has some influence on these events. It is traditionally the season of harvest. So perhaps it is also the time for the world's banks and financial institutions to reap what they have sown.

The Emerald Islander

P.S. I have just read a very interest piece about the recent Wall Street crash in The First Post, a UK online newspaper. If you are interested, here is the link. http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/45393,opinion,lehman-exposes-wall-streets-moral-bankruptcy-who-will-pay-for-the-incompetence-that-has-led-to-the-financial-collapse

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