Dorothy: “I don’t like this forest. It’s…it’s dark and creepy!”Scarecrow: “Of course I don’t know, but I think it’ll get darker before it gets lighter.”Are we really in uncharted territory? Upheaval in financial systems has been occurring for thousands of years. According to Yale professors, William Goetzmann and K. Geert Rouwenhorst, one of the earliest examples was in Greece around 1600 BC when farmers were unable to pay their mortgages; the landowner repossessed the properties and enslaved the farmers. A debt crisis, sound familiar? By the latter part of the 1700’s financiers were already creating packages of mortgages for resale to investors. Common elements of financial crises are debt and financial innovation. Goetzmann and Geert also note that in the 20th century, there has been a financial crisis almost every 10 years. The financial disarray we are living through today has deep roots in history.While there have been other financial crises, stock market crashes, and recessions the current one feels scary because we are experiencing it now. So much is going wrong and many of us have never seen anything like this in our lifetimes. We will briefly review where we are relative to history, and in that context, how… Read full this story
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