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The Storm after the Calm

Could the financial crisis of 2007-2008 happen again? Since the crisis erupted, there has been no shortage of opportunities – in the form of inadequate conclusions and decisions by officials – to nurture one’s anxiety about that prospect.

PARIS – Could the financial crisis of 2007-2008 happen again? Since the crisis erupted, there has been no shortage of opportunities – in the form of inadequate conclusions and decisions by officials – to nurture one’s anxiety about that prospect.

Over the course of the three G-20 summits held since the crisis, world leaders have agreed to tighten financial regulation slightly, but only for banks, while leaving other market players free of restrictions and scrutiny. As was true before the crisis, no one is monitoring the almost limitless “virtual” market for derivatives, where money moves freely without official rules or contact with the real economy.

And large players have plenty of cash with which to speculate, especially given the United States Federal Reserve’s decision to inundate the world with a sea of liquidity. The result has not been investment in productive assets that boost employment in the US, as the Fed intended, but rather a run-up in global commodity prices and a growing bubble in the housing markets of the major emerging economies.

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