Monday, October 13, 2008
This list of ten people who saw the financial meltdown coming from TimesOnline in the U.K. has a decidedly British slant (I've never heard of half of these fellas), but the Americans that showed up on the list are notable and very familiar (plus there's a dead Russian).
Topping the list is Vince Cable, shown below. Does he look familiar to anybody aside from Dearime? Anyone ever heard of him?
He surely deserves the number one spot simply for having asked Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2003, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer (~Secretary of the Treasury) as everyone was getting rich by climbing the property ladder, "The growth of the British economy is sustained by consumer spending pinned against record levels of personal debt, which is secured, if at all, against house prices that the Bank of England describes as well above equilibrium level. What action will the Chancellor take on the problem of consumer debt?”
Obviously, aside from taking credit for the booming U.K. economy, Mr. Brown didn't take any action - this was a common response by policymakers a few years back.
Here are the other well-known Americans on the list:
5. Nouriel Roubini - economics professorThe dead Russian was Nikolai Kondratiev who, it now seems was only off by about ten years in his theory of 50-60 year boom-bust cycles for Western economies.
Aka Dr Doom, Dr Roubini is an economics professor at New York University. On September 7, 2006, at an International Monetary Fund meeting, he announced that a crisis was brewing. He said that the United States was likely to face a once-in-a-lifetime housing bust, an oil shock, sharply declining consumer confidence and, ultimately, a deep recession.
Homeowners would default on mortgages, trillions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities would unravel worldwide and the global financial system would shudder to a halt. These developments, he said, would cripple major financial institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
As Mr Roubini stepped down, his host said: “I think perhaps we will need a stiff drink after that.” They do now.
9. Stephen Roach - senior executive at Morgan Stanley
In November 2004, Mr Roach predicted an “economic Armageddon”, in part due to the record US current account, trade and government deficits. His outlook was largely dismissed at the time.
Having being proved right, he recently went on to accuse central banks of being “asleep at the switch” in failing to stop the escalating crisis. “The lack of monetary discipline has become a hallmark of unfettered globalization,” he said.
10. Ron Paul - Republican Congressman
Back in September 2003, Mr Paul told a House Financial Services Committee that: “Ironically, by transferring the risk of a widespread mortgage default, the government increases the likelihood of a painful crash in the housing market.
“This is because the special privileges granted to Fannie and Freddie have distorted the housing market by allowing them to attract capital they could not attract under pure market conditions.”