The last global financial crisis was just beginning when Niall Ferguson published his seminal book “The Ascent of Money” in 2008. He came to the Harvard Kennedy School on Wednesday to warn that history could repeat itself.In an interview conducted by Graham Allison, the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at the School, Ferguson recalled that just as he was making final revisions to the book, it became clear to him that the Lehman Brothers investment bank was about to fold and the crisis was soon to begin.“I had to rewrite the introduction and the conclusion, changing the future tense to the present,” said Ferguson, formerly the Laurence Tisch Professor of History at Harvard and now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. The book broke the global financial system down into six main components: money, bonds, equity, insurance, housing, and globalization. “I presented the book as six stories, six reasons why the crisis was happening just as you were reading it.”To understand 2008 fully, he said, one needed to look at how those six factors worked together. Of the common theory that the crisis happened because of deregulation, he said, “You should dismiss that as a cartoon.”A new edition of the book will include two fresh chapters that look at the crisis and how it avoided turning into a second Great Depression. As Allison suggested, one saving grace in 2008 was applied history, specifically Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke’s studies of the 1930s disaster. “That’s a fantastic example,” Ferguson said. “Bernanke had studied the Great Depression, so as the crisis intensified he was in the position to identify and recognize the symptoms of something much bigger than anyone in the room had experienced in their lifetimes.”Ferguson’s own Harvard students, he said, could have anticipated the choices that Bernanke would make. “If you had taken the class on financial history I was teaching at the time, you would have read Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz’s ‘A Monetary History of the United States, 1867‒1960.’ And you would have known that the Fed [in 2008] would do exactly the opposite of what the Fed did during the Great Depression, because they did everything wrong the first time.” “The breakdown of [China-U.S. financial relations] is bad news for the biggest corporations in the world, and that’s what I am keeping an eye out for.” — Niall Ferguson One of the main reasons another depression was avoided, Ferguson said, was the global component, namely the stimulus money the U.S. received from China. “If the U.S. had done everything it did and China had done nothing, things would have worked out very different,” he said. The alliance proved so pivotal that Ferguson termed it “Chinamerica,” a pun on “chimera,” since it was always a little mysterious. “The relationship survived the crisis despite some pretty nasty rhetoric; we called them currency manipulators. But China didn’t sell their great accumulation of U.S. bonds.”China, he said, may well be the source of the next global crisis. “People have been predicting a China crisis on an annual basis for the past 15 to 20 years,” he said, and the decline of China-U.S. financial relations may prove the tipping point. “The breakdown of Chinamerica is bad news for the biggest corporations in the world, and that’s what I am keeping an eye out for. The best-case scenario is that China’s growth rate steadily declines. In the worst case, there is a crisis. Either way, the outlook is a somewhat bleak one.”One ominous sign, he said, lies in the current political climate. “The Republican Party, in embracing [President] Trump’s populism, threw its fiscal responsibility out the window. Suddenly deficits don’t matter. This is a problem that is going to get serious relatively quickly. I find it hard to figure out what the politics will be when there is no credible fiscal conservative left.”During audience questions afterwards, one student asked Ferguson if he’d neglected to mention the role of fraud and other white-collar crime in triggering the 2008 crisis. Ferguson replied that almost no bankers ever went to jail.“Is that because we decided to turn a blind eye to white-collar crime, or is it because they committed no crimes, [they only] bent the rules? I think it’s the latter. It is really hard to get convictions when people were essentially complying with regulations,” he said.But doing what’s strictly legal, he emphasized, isn’t the same as doing the right thing. “As long as they were compliant, nobody felt any compunction about doing things that were morally wrong, if not technically criminal.”
50 Camp St, MundingburraHOUSE and unit prices are remaining steady in Townsville according to the latest Core Logic figures while agents are reporting an increase in buyer activity.CoreLogic’s July 2018 Market Trends report shows median house prices in Townsville are $335,000 and have remained unchanged in the three months until April 2018.Units have a median price of $270,000 and have also remained unchanged during the same period.Both houses and units are taking 63 days to sell on average compared to houses taking 70 days and units 94 days during the same time last year.RE/MAX Excellence Townsville agent Loretta Fabbro said she had seen a marked interest in the number of buyers turning up to open homes and putting offers in for properties, especially from people from out of town.She sold 50 Camp St, Mundingburra at auction last Saturday for $326,000.More than 30 groups of people inspected the property and it received three offers before auction day.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020“Most of my stock in now under contract and most of my properties have had more than one buyer making offers on the same day,” Ms Fabbro said.“I’ve had buyers from Perth, New Zealand, Tasmania and Canberra and I’m getting a lot of people who are moving here because they have family here.“Price wise it is still difficult but we are getting some good prices achieved for certain properties.”While some agents are noticing an increase in buyers, others are reporting a shortage of quality housing stock to sell while numbers at open homes are also down, especially in Townsville’s outer suburbs.CoreLogic senior research analyst Cameron Kusher said he was cautiously optimistic Townsville’s market would not worsen any further but he was predicting wide spread price growth in the near future.“The worst is probably behind Townsville but I’m not sure recovery is imminent,” he said. “You’re not really seeing that decline in sales activity any more, it’s pretty steady and that is usually an indication that you’re close to the bottom of the market but it doesn’t necessarily mean the market is going to start growing imminently.“I know there are some local projects kicking off like the stadium which might be a driver of demand going forward.”
The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers in the country, representing some 300,000 members across some 2,000 local “lodges.” Critics say the non-profit organization is a major obstacle to policing reform through their advocacy and deep ties to police unions.The President of the Brevard County lodge acknowledged that the post was legitimate and defended its recruiting efforts as well as the actions of the Buffalo and Atlanta police officers involved in the widely condemned incidents. Some of those officers have been arrested and face criminal charges.But Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey distanced himself from the Brevard F.O.P. posts in a statement on Facebook, calling them “extremely distasteful and insensitive to current important and critical issues that are occurring across our country.”Ivey said comments by the organization or its members have no connection to his agency and “do not in any way represent the views of our agency.”The post was later removed. A Brevard chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police deleted a controversial advertisement asking for officers involved in violent incidents in Buffalo, NY and Atlanta, GA, to join Florida police agencies.“Hey Buffalo 57… and Atlanta 6… we are hiring in Florida. Lower taxes, no spineless leadership, or dumb mayors rambling on at press conferences… Plus… we got your back! #lawandorderFlorida,” reads the June 6 post made at 1:21 a.m on the Brevard County F.O.P. Facebook page. The post, deleted sometime Monday morning garnered over 2,000 comments and 1,000 shares.