Global Financial Crisis

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The global financial crisis, brewing for a while, really started to show its effects in the middle of 2007 and into 2008. Around the world stock markets have fallen, large financial institutions have collapsed or been bought out, and governments in even the wealthiest nations have had to come up with rescue packages to bail out their financial systems.

On the one hand many people are concerned that those responsible for the financial problems are the ones being bailed out, while on the other hand, a global financial meltdown will affect the livelihoods of almost everyone in an increasingly inter-connected world. The problem could have been avoided, if ideologues supporting the current economics models weren’t so vocal, influential and inconsiderate of others’ viewpoints and concerns.

The financial crisis has been linked to reckless and unsustainable lending practices resulting from the deregulation and securitization of real estate mortgages in the United States. The US mortgage-backed securities, which had risks that were hard to assess, were marketed around the world. A more broad based credit boom fed a global speculative bubble in real estate and equities, which served to reinforce the risky lending practices. The precarious financial situation was made more difficult by a sharp increase in oil and food prices. The emergence of Sub-prime loan losses in 2007 began the crisis and exposed other risky loans and over-inflated asset prices. With loan losses mounting and the fall of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008, a major panic broke out on the inter-bank loan market. As share and housing prices declined many large and well established investment and commercial banks in the United States and Europe suffered huge losses and even faced bankruptcy, resulting in massive public financial assistance.


The term financial crisis is applied broadly to a variety of situations in which some financial institutions or assets suddenly lose a large part of their value. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many financial crises were associated with banking panics, and many recessions coincided with these panics. Other situations that are often called financial crises include stock market crashes and the bursting of other financial bubbles, currency crises, and sovereign defaults.

Many economists have offered theories about how financial crises develop and how they could be prevented. There is little consensus, however, and financial crises are still a regular occurrence around the world.


2.1.1Banking Crisis

When a bank suffers a sudden rush of withdrawals by depositors, this is called a bank run. Since banks lend out most of the cash they receive in deposits it is difficult for them to quickly pay back all deposits if these are suddenly demanded, so a run may leave the bank in bankruptcy, causing many depositors to lose their savings unless they are covered by deposit insurance. A situation in which bank runs are widespread is called a systemic banking crisis or just a banking panic. A situation without widespread bank runs, but in which banks are reluctant to lend, because they worry that they have insufficient funds available, is often called a credit crunch. In this way, the banks become an accelerator of a financial crisis.

Examples of bank runs include the run on Northern Rock in 2007. The collapse of Bear Stearns in 2008 has also sometimes been called a bank run, even though Bear Stearns was an investment bank rather than a commercial bank. 2.1.2Speculative Bubbles and Crashes

Economists say that a financial asset stock, for example exhibits a bubble when its price exceeds the present value of the future income such as interest or dividends that would be received by owning it to maturity. If most market participants buy the asset primarily in hopes of selling it later at a higher...
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