Today’s mess in America is as big as Japan’s—and in some ways harder to fix.The full article has a lot more.
This crisis, like most others in rich countries, emerged from a property bubble and a credit boom. The scale of the bubble—a doubling of house prices in five years—was about as big in America’s ten largest cities as it was in Japan’s metropolises. But nationwide, house prices rose further in America and Britain than they did in Japan (see first chart). ...
What is worse, today’s bust is not just about banking. America faces twin financial crashes (as, to a lesser degree, do other Anglo-Saxon countries): one in the regulated banking sector and a simultaneous collapse of the “shadow banking system”, the universe of hedge funds and investment banks responsible for much of the recent securitisation boom as well as for the sharp rise in financial leverage.
Add all this together and the ease with which American policymakers dismiss Japan’s experience is probably misplaced. Japan’s outcome—a decade in which growth averaged 1% a year and gross government debt rose by 80 percentage points of GDP—was not one to be proud of. But given the magnitude of today’s mess, it may soon seem not that bad after all.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Our economic crisis: Worse than Japan?
The Economist doesn't share my optimism: