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

  • D. Sornette

    ()

  • R. 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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    Paper provided by ETH Zurich, Chair of Systems Design in its series Working Papers with number CCSS-09-003.

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    Handle: RePEc:stz:wpaper:ccss-09-003
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    1. 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.
    2. J. Doyne Farmer, 1999. "Market Force, Ecology, and Evolution," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 651, Society for Computational Economics.
    3. Freixas, Xavier & Parigi, Bruno & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1999. "Systemic Risk, Interbank Relations and Liquidity Provision by the Central Bank," CEPR Discussion Papers 2325, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. D. Sornette, 2008. "Nurturing breakthroughs: lessons from complexity theory," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 165-181, December.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. D. Sornette & H. Takayasu & W. -X. Zhou, 2003. "Finite-Time Singularity Signature of Hyperinflation," Papers physics/0301007, arXiv.org.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Thomas Lux & Didier Sornette, 1999. "On Rational Bubbles and Fat Tails," Discussion Paper Serie B 458, University of Bonn, Germany.
    11. Kaizoji, Taisei & Sornette, Didier, 2008. "Market Bubbles and Chrashes," MPRA Paper 15204, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. John Y. Campbell & Joao F. Cocco, 2005. "How Do House Prices Affect Consumption? Evidence From Micro Data," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2083, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    13. Yuliya Demyanyk, 2009. "Quick exits of subprime mortgages," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 79-94.
    14. 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.
    15. D. Sornette & A. Johansen, 2001. "Significance of log-periodic precursors to financial crashes," Papers cond-mat/0106520, arXiv.org.
    16. 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.).
    17. Philippon, Thomas & Reshef, Ariell, 2009. "Wages and Human Capital in the U.S. Financial Industry: 1909-2006," CEPR Discussion Papers 7282, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. D. Sornette & J. V. Andersen, 2001. "A Nonlinear Super-Exponential Rational Model of Speculative Financial Bubbles," Papers cond-mat/0104341, arXiv.org, revised Apr 2002.
    19. M. Angeles Serrano & Marian Boguna & Alessandro Vespignani, 2007. "Patterns of dominant flows in the world trade web," Papers 0704.1225, arXiv.org.
    20. 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.
    21. B. M. Roehner & D. Sornette, 2000. ""Thermometers" of Speculative Frenzy," Papers cond-mat/0001353, arXiv.org.
    22. 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.
    23. 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.
    24. 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.
    25. 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.
    26. A. Corcos & J. -P. Eckmann & A. Malaspinas & Y. Malevergne & D. Sornette, 2001. "Imitation and contrarian behavior: hyperbolic bubbles, crashes and chaos," Papers cond-mat/0109410, arXiv.org.
    27. D. Sornette & A. Johansen, 2001. "Significance of log-periodic precursors to financial crashes," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(4), pages 452-471.
    28. 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.
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