Pubblicato da: Massimiliano Neri | 12 dicembre 2008

De Long e White sulle ragioni della crisi

Ecco l’ultima analisi di Larry White sulla bolla immobiliare:

The housing boom and the aftermath of its bust arose from market distortions created by the Federal Reserve, the government backing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other federal interventions. We are experiencing the unfortunate results of perverse government policies, compounded in some degree by private mistakes.

The remedy for private business mistakes is bankruptcy. The remedy for the mistaken government monetary and regulatory policies that have produced the current financial train wreck is to identify and undo policies that distort housing and financial markets, and dismantle failed agencies whose missions require them to distort markets. We should be guided by recognizing the two chief errors that have been made. Cheap-money policies by the Federal Reserve System do not produce a sustainable prosperity. Hiding the cost of mortgage subsidies off-budget, as by imposing “affordable housing” regulatory mandates on banks and by providing implicit taxpayer guarantees on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds, does not give us more housing at nobody’s expense.

Sempre sul Cato, Brad Delong commenta l’analisi di White ammettendo una vicinanza nelle diagnosi che fino a pochi mesi fa sarebbe stata inammissibile:

So why does Larry White’s diagnosis of what is going on differ so much from mine? I think that what is going on is a characteristic weakness of the Austrian tradition: the baseline assumption that all evils must have their origin in some form of government misregulation. If government could be drowned in the bathtub, then an Eden in which people indulged in their natural propensity to truck, barter, and exchange would emerge. And this automatically rules out what I regard as the most likely and fruitful road to walk down to understand this financial crisis: the road that starts from investigating how human psychological limits lead to bad private-sector contract design that then magnifies psychological biases.

I am not happy with the state of such explanations — they seem to involve, at the moment, a great deal of handwaving. But in my judgment it is less handwaving than required to make the case that our current financial crisis is the result of our abandonment of a proper gold standard and our embrace of fractional-reserve banking and government-sponsored mortgage lending enterprises.

ps: White e’ un grande austriaco, non il piu’ grande. Quando un nemico apre un articolo dandoti la medaglia d’oro per al classe a cui appartieni, dietro ai convenevoli gatta ci cova…

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