August 17 – Reuters Breakingviews (Edward Chancellor): “Financial markets, like religions, are faith-based networks. The complex structures of assets and liabilities that comprise markets are held together by a set of underlying beliefs. Unlike religions, however, financial dogmas are occasionally shown to be false. We experienced such a moment last week, when the Chinese authorities chose to devalue their currency.”
Contemporary global finance is a complex “system” of interwoven (electronic) “faith-based networks.” As the bursting of the global Bubble unfolds, myriad “financial dogmas” will be exposed as bogus. Too many have been little more than chicanery.
For the most part, global finance is comprised of a labyrinth of IOUs. And IOU value hinges on confidence, faith and trust. Over recent years too much of global finance has been underpinned – directly and indirectly – by concerted efforts of the world’s central bankers. Trillions of newly minted government finance have been validating tens of Trillions more of private-sector obligations and asset prices. Now, faith in the almighty power of central bank Credit and fiscal deficits, unquestioned for far too long, has begun to dim. The unfolding global crisis of confidence expanded and accelerated this week.
Global financial tumult has now attained sufficient momentum so that even U.S. markets can no longer remain comfortably oblivious. Yet, for most in the U.S. there remains little worry: the economy is sound, housing is booming, Silicon Valley is heroic, the banking system is rock solid, and the corporate sector is awash in cash. The U.S. economy is viewed as insignificantly exposed to China’s economic slowdown – and to global issues for the most part. Analysts speak of a “normal” stock market pullback – yet another buying opportunity. There is, however, little normal about current global financial, economic and geopolitical backdrops.
The last seven years have witnessed unprecedented EM debt