Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Generalized Institutional Failure

History provides many examples of generalized institutional failure. To mention a few: The reversal of progress of British imperialism and 19th century globalization as the result of extraordinary costs of World War I; The collapse of the U.S. savings and loan industry as a result of deregulation of interest rates; The collapse of the Brazilian economy in the 1980s and the end of the 'Brazilian Miracle' as a result of abandonment of foreign exchange control discipline; The prolonged U.S. Depression of the 1930s as a result of extraordinarily high taxes and tariffs, and government attacks on private property and capitalism. The institutional collapses of which we speak are not the fluctuations of business cycles, nor failures of single institutions, such as Barings or Enron, but rather massive shifts effecting millions of people, based on fundamental flaws in the system.

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