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.
When it comes to the workplace, more diversity means more money.
- While the workplace is slowly diversifying, some industries have been slow to change.
- A growing body of research is uncovering that workplaces with greater diversity actual perform better. One of the clearest examples of this effect is in venture capitalism, where nearly all venture capitalists are white, male, Harvard graduates.
- When VC firms hire more women, their effectiveness and profitability explodes.
It's not what you have, it's what you do with it.
- Buddhism has been applied differently across the planet as it enters new cultures.
- The underlying philosophical foundation is applicable to diverse situations, whether religious or secular.
- But it is a practice, not a belief, and must be treated as a discipline for retraining consciousness.
The Geminid meteor shower grows more intense with every year, and it's expected to be particularly bright in 2018.
- Look up at the skies from 2 to 7:30 a.m. on December 14 to see the most meteors.
- To get the best view, travel away from city lights, avoid looking at your phone and let your eyes adjust to the dark.
- Stargazers might also be able to catch a glimpse of a comet making a rare appearance, NASA astronomers say.
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