Bear Stearns

Bear Stearns is old news, but that is usually when things starts to get interesting. Only after an event fades from the evening news (or cable news shows as it may be these days) can the real light illuminate a story.

Vanity Fair has a very interesting story about how Bear Stearns fell. It is a very long piece but I found it very interesting.

I get very annoyed at how the media and political talking heads distill major events like this down to talking points. The failure of Bear Stearns was obviously a very complicated event with many contributing factors. Reading the initial comments and articles about it, it is clear that very few people understood what happened. I understand that it is impossible to get real analysis of something like this immediately, but I think this difficulty is very telling.

The world is complicated, and our financial markets are certainly a poster child for complexity. The mortgage crisis was essentially caused because enough complexity was introduced into the system that the ties between profit and risk were severed. While we fool ourselves into believing we understand how things work, we are reminded time and time again that those at the controls often do not fully understand the complexities they manage.

It will be interesting to see if anything comes into the alleged S.E.C investigation into the Bear Stearns collapse. I'm not one to believe in conspiracy theories, but in a situation like this the conspiracy could be small and the actions very limited.

1 comment:

  1. From an insider point of view, Bear failure was a coordinated attack by a small group of Hedge Funds. By artificially creating a large downward pressure on the stock, they forced other investors to liquidate their positions further accelerating the downwards spiral. While true that Bear wasn't properly managed, and had cash-flow problems, it's failure was NOT the result of market panic or basic economic principles, but rather the result of opportunism.

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