Tα τζογαδόρικα παράγωγα της Wall Street ευθύνονται για την ελληνική κρίση

O οικονομολόγος του Χάρβαρντ Richard Parker γράφει στην Boston Globe πώς η αρύθμιστη και ανεξέλεγκτη Wall Street πρώτα κερδοσκόπησε με τα στεγαστικά των Αμερικανών και κατόπιν στράφηκε στα κρατικά ομόλογα:

As 2010 began, the Street’s “best and brightest’’ saw what suddenly looked like a new source of even easier money, playing what insiders like to call “The Headline Risk Game’’ on little Greece.

Here’s how it works: Greece’s recovery, like our own, still looks pretty shaky — but, for Headline Risk players, that’s an opportunity to bet against their recovery, then pounce when the inevitable bump in the recovery road appears. Their payoff comes as weaker investors rush out of the market for bonds, leaving Greece unable to borrow — and potentially forced to default. (Default, for Headline Risk players, can promise even bigger profits.)

Greece’s bump came last week when European statistical authorities reported that Athens’s 2009 deficit was higher than the 12 percent forecast last fall: it was a perfect Headline Risk moment. Markets panicked and started dumping Greek bonds. Speculators who had quietly been buying credit default swaps — bets that panic would inevitably follow any bad news — made millions overnight.[…]

[…]Central to Wall Street’s 2008 nose dive were the billions wagered in credit default swaps — the cheap derivatives-based bets with lottery-size payoffs that speculators had placed on US homeowners. Today exactly the same sort of swap bets are what Wall Street has placed against Greece in their Headline Risk Game — and right now we’re looking at what could become a replay of the same disastrous consequences.

We used to know how dangerous such unregulated betting could be. Until the late 1990s, you couldn’t place those sorts of bets on housing or government bonds. Thanks to deregulation efforts led by advocates such as Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, and Ben Bernanke suddenly you could — and many did.

Taxpayers now realize that housing is no place for those sorts of bets — but neither are Greece’s bonds, or the bonds of other small countries that are struggling to recover from the Wall Street tsunami that hit them as well as us in 2008.

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