Monday, October 06, 2008

Bad Assumptions

Just about every market player has had it in the back of his mind that the worst case scenario would be the salvation of the system via massive government intervention. And each player has acted accordingly. Now what if it turns out that this smash-up is going to be so brutal that events move far quicker than governments can possibly respond, so that inside of mere weeks or days the system itself essentially self-annihilates, such that governments cannot continue to "game" and "rig" a system that effectively no longer exists?

Every assumption about government's ability to bail us out of trouble contains an implicit further assumption that the mechanisms of such bailing are not themselves in trouble. In the past, the government could inject "money" at 10-1 leverage or higher in order to paper over any problems (LTCM collapse, dot-com collapse, etc). Now we have the case where the 10-to-1 leverage mechanism is itself in collapse. And there isn't enough money in the world to bail things out on a 1 to 1 basis.

Apropos of all this, it seems that the Russian stock market has today lost almost 20%, and our own Nasdaq is down 6.5% and counting.

There is quite a good article about the deleveraging process here.

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