Tuesday, April 14, 2009


This is an interesting Vanity Fair article on the financial implosion in Iceland.  

Bubbles can happen anywhere.   They have happened in all sorts of places, in "laissez-faire" countries like the U.S. and U.K., France under the Bourbons, collectivist Iceland, Japan, Holland, Albania.. etc.

The only thing you need for any kind of financial bubble is people.  No amount of regulation or absence thereof  will prevent it.  Mass movements have their own lives, and no amount of reason will fix it.

If you haven't read it, get Charles Mackay "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds."

This is not about "greed" or "capitalism" - it is about human nature and how people, when caught up in a moment, can ignore reason, common sense, reality, and let their animal spirits get the better of them.  When it comes to finance, people disregards such concepts as "reversion to the mean", and "markets can remain irrational longer than I can remain solvent".    

Hubris takes over voila - bad stuff happens.