Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Tonight, we're gonna party like it's 2008

With apologies for the poor scansion and the repetition, but why hasn't this been headline news? Is the elephant in the room some kind of advanced stealth elephant? Just asking:
  • ...The UK's staggering debt-to-GDP ratio [nearly 1000% Of GDP] is largely due to the size of its financial sector
  • All financial sector debt is, to some extent, potentially government debt, since all governments end up having to rescue their financial sectors in the event of a crisis [my emphasis].
Business Insider, December 2011
...government and household debt is dwarfed by the liabilities of the banking sector, which have reached a stunning 427 per cent of GDP. British banks are also massively exposed to the eurozone crisis, far more than most Continental ones. Add these three components together, and Britain’s liabilities are the largest in the EU’
Dominic Raab, quoted in The Spectator's Coffee House blog, May 2013
It is not for the Bank of England to decide how big the financial sector should be. Our job is to ensure that it is safe ... The Bank of England’s task is to ensure that the UK can host a large and expanding financial sector in a way that promotes financial stability…
Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, October 2013
Herein lies the rub, and the non-sequitur: bigger cannot mean more stable, for the simple reason that the assets of the financial sector are, in large measure, the debts of the real economy to the banks. The bigger the assets of the financial sector, the higher the debts of the real economy have to be. Ultimately, even with near-zero interest rates, servicing this debt is likely to prove impossible to large segments of the economy, leading to a financial crisis.
Steve Keen, commenting on Mark Carney's speech, earlier this month