As part of the third week of Big Think’s series “What Went Wrong?,” the Former CEO of BB&T John Allison discusses the role of governmental policies in creating the housing bubble that burst into the financial crisis of 2008. Allison has been a vocal critic of TARP and the bailouts, arguing that room for failure—even in our largest companies—is fundamental to the workings of a market economy and that punishing strong institutions to save those that have underperformed only engenders greater, long-term problems for everybody.
For Allison, the real culprit behind the crisis was a string of monetary policy measures enacted by Greenspan and intensified by Bernanke that sought to increase U.S. home-ownership to unsound levels thereby reinforcing reckless sub-prime lending through policy.
The former CEO highlights the key systemic issues that this crisis brings to the fore, namely, that the industries with the most regulations are also the most volatile and that less governmental intrusions, not more, are essential to sustainable economic growth. Allison also highlights the damage that has been done by printing too much money, arguing for a re-institution of the gold standard as our continued debasing of American currency is leading to attenuated market discipline, unsolvable government debt, and an increasingly severe threat of stagflation.
The series will continue every Wednesday for the next couple of months. We've asked a network of top economics bloggers to provide some questions for the interviews, as well as weigh in on the answers each week:
Economist’s View - Mark Thoma, Professor of Economics, University of Oregon
Economics One - John B. Taylor, Professor of Economics, Stanford University and former Undersecretary for International Affairs, U.S. Treasury Department
The New Republic’s The Stash - Noam Scheiber
The New Yorker’s The Balance Sheet - James Surowiecki - Columnist, and author of bestseller The Wisdom of Crowds
Marginal Revolution - Tyler Cowen, Professor of Economics, George Mason University
Reuters Finance, Felix Salmon
The American Prospect’s Beat the Press - Dean Baker, Professor of Economics, Bucknell University and Co-Director, Center for Economic Policy Research
The Money Illusion - Scott Sumner, Professor of Economics, Bentley University
Café Hayek - Russ Roberts, Professor of Economics, George Mason University and a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution
The Atlantic’s Atlantic Business Channel - Dan Indiviglio
The Fly Bottle - Will Wilkinson, Research Fellow, Cato Institute
The Big Questions - Steven Landsburg - Professor of Economics, University of Rochester and Columnist, Slate
Econlog - Arnold Kling, Adjunct Professor of Economics, George Mason University and former employee of both Freddie Mac and the Federal Reserve
The Atlantic’s Asymmetrical Information - Megan McArdle, Managing Editor, The Atlantic
Causes of the Crisis - Jeff Friedman, Visiting Professor of Political Science, University of Texas and Founding Editor, Critical Review,
Naked Capitalism - Yves Smith, President of Aurora Advisors, and former employee of both Goldman Sachs and McKinsey & Co.
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Torn between absolutism on the left and the right, classical liberalism—with its core values of compassion and incremental progress whereby the once-radical becomes the mainstream—is in need of a good defense. And Adam Gopnik is its lawyer.
- Liberalism as "radical pragmatism"
- Intersectionality and civic discourse
- How "a thousand small sanities" tackled drunk driving, normalized gay marriage, and could control gun violence
As Game of Thrones ends, a revealing resolution to its perplexing geography.
- The fantasy world of Game of Thrones was inspired by real places and events.
- But the map of Westeros is a good example of the perplexing relation between fantasy and reality.
- Like Britain, it has a Wall in the North, but the map only really clicks into place if you add Ireland.
The lost practice of face-to-face communication has made the world a more extreme place.
- The world was saner when we spoke face-to-face, argues John Cameron Mitchell. Not looking someone in the eye when you talk to them raises the potential for miscommunication and conflict.
- Social media has been an incredible force for activism and human rights, but it's also negatively affected our relationship with the media. We are now bombarded 24/7 with news that either drives us to anger or apathy.
- Sitting behind a screen makes polarization worse, and polarization is fertile ground for conspiracy theories and fascism, which Cameron describes as irrationally blaming someone else for your problems.
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