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Financial Bubbles, Real Estate bubbles, Derivative Bubbles, and the Financial and Economic Crisis

  • Didier Sornette
  • Ryan Woodard
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    The financial crisis of 2008, which started with an initially well-defined epicenter focused on mortgage backed securities (MBS), has been cascading into a global economic recession, whose increasing severity and uncertain duration has led and is continuing to lead to massive losses and damage for billions of people. Heavy central bank interventions and government spending programs have been launched worldwide and especially in the USA and Europe, with the hope to unfreeze credit and boltster consumption. Here, we present evidence and articulate a general framework that allows one to diagnose the fundamental cause of the unfolding financial and economic crisis: the accumulation of several bubbles and their interplay and mutual reinforcement has led to an illusion of a "perpetual money machine" allowing financial institutions to extract wealth from an unsustainable artificial process. Taking stock of this diagnostic, we conclude that many of the interventions to address the so-called liquidity crisis and to encourage more consumption are ill-advised and even dangerous, given that precautionary reserves were not accumulated in the "good times" but that huge liabilities were. The most "interesting" present times constitute unique opportunities but also great challenges, for which we offer a few recommendations.

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    File URL: http://arxiv.org/pdf/0905.0220
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    Paper provided by arXiv.org in its series Papers with number 0905.0220.

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    Date of creation: May 2009
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    Publication status: Published in in Proceedings of APFA7 (Applications of Physics in Financial Analysis), "New Approaches to the Analysis of Large-Scale Business and Economic Data,'' Misako Takayasu, Tsutomu Watanabe and Hideki Takayasu, eds., Springer (2010)
    Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:0905.0220
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://arxiv.org/

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    1. Lux, Thomas & Sornette, Didier, 2002. "On Rational Bubbles and Fat Tails," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(3), pages 589-610, August.
    2. Vasiliki Skreta & Laura Veldkamp, 2009. "Ratings Shopping and Asset Complexity: A Theory of Ratings Inflation," NBER Working Papers 14761, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. J. Doyne Farmer, 2002. "Market force, ecology and evolution," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(5), pages 895-953, November.
    4. D. Sornette & H. Takayasu & W. -X. Zhou, 2003. "Finite-Time Singularity Signature of Hyperinflation," Papers physics/0301007, arXiv.org.
    5. Sornette, D & Takayasu, H & Zhou, W.-X, 2003. "Finite-time singularity signature of hyperinflation," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 325(3), pages 492-506.
    6. A. Corcos & J-P Eckmann & A. Malaspinas & Y. Malevergne & D. Sornette, 2002. "Imitation and contrarian behaviour: hyperbolic bubbles, crashes and chaos," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(4), pages 264-281.
    7. M. Angeles Serrano & Marian Boguna & Alessandro Vespignani, 2007. "Patterns of dominant flows in the world trade web," Papers 0704.1225, arXiv.org.
    8. Zhou, Wei-Xing & Sornette, Didier, 2006. "Is there a real-estate bubble in the US?," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 361(1), pages 297-308.
    9. Andersen, J.V. & Sornette, D., 2004. "Fearless versus fearful speculative financial bubbles," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 337(3), pages 565-585.
    10. M. Serrano & Marián Boguñá & Alessandro Vespignani, 2007. "Patterns of dominant flows in the world trade web," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 111-124, December.
    11. A. Johansen & D. Sornette, 1998. "Stock market crashes are outliers," The European Physical Journal B - Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 141-143, January.
    12. Thomas Philippon & Ariell Reshef, 2009. "Wages and Human Capital in the U.S. Financial Industry: 1909-2006," NBER Working Papers 14644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. John Y. Campbell & Joao F. Cocco, 2004. "How do house prices affect consumption? Evidence from micro data," 2004 Meeting Papers 304, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Kaizoji, Taisei & Sornette, Didier, 2008. "Market Bubbles and Chrashes," MPRA Paper 15204, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Johansen, Anders & Sornette, Didier, 2001. "Finite-time singularity in the dynamics of the world population, economic and financial indices," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 294(3), pages 465-502.
    16. Sornette, Didier & Zhou, Wei-Xing, 2004. "Evidence of fueling of the 2000 new economy bubble by foreign capital inflow: implications for the future of the US economy and its stock market," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 332(C), pages 412-440.
    17. Brock, W.A. & Hommes, C.H. & Wagener, F.O.O., 2009. "More hedging instruments may destabilize markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(11), pages 1912-1928, November.
    18. Alan Greenspan & James Kennedy, 2007. "Sources and uses of equity extracted from homes," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-20, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    19. Yuliya Demyanyk, 2009. "Quick exits of subprime mortgages," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 79-94.
    20. Johansen, Anders, 2003. "Characterization of large price variations in financial markets," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 324(1), pages 157-166.
    21. Ide, Kayo & Sornette, Didier, 2002. "Oscillatory finite-time singularities in finance, population and rupture," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 307(1), pages 63-106.
    22. W. -X. Zhou & D. Sornette, 2003. "2000-2003 Real Estate Bubble in the UK but not in the USA," Papers physics/0303028, arXiv.org, revised Jul 2003.
    23. B. M. Roehner & D. Sornette, 2000. ""Thermometers" of Speculative Frenzy," Papers cond-mat/0001353, arXiv.org.
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