Sunday, February 08, 2009

Poll About Responsibility For Financial Crisis

Here is a poll about who is most responsible for the economic and financial crisis, with 10 different candidates to choose from (you can only choose one of them). I voted for Alan Greenspan (for reasons that I explained here), and when this is written, he has received most votes, 28.4% versus 22.5% for Gordon Brown and 16.4% for George W. Bush.


Blogger said...


There is a tendency going around, when talking about blame and assigning responsibilities for the current crisis that to some extent we are all to blame. Even ordinary people, because they overspent. Whar is your opinion on this?

Mine is that a lot of people who screwed up have clearly not got the message, and while it is true that individuals that overspent or took risky mortgages should learn the hard way that risks are real, joe the plumber losing his job because of current economic conditions is a victim. Sod sharing the blame. That way we'll never learn and 20 years from now the same will happen all over again!

5:33 PM  
Blogger stefankarlsson said...

Of course, if bankers and borrowers hadn't acted upon the incentives created by Greenspan then the crisis wouldn't have happened, and that is one reason not to consider them victims or to bail them out. But even so, that doesn't change that the main culprit was Greenspan.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous cglace said...

Stefan, can you elaborate on the incentives created by Greenspan that caused the bankers to act foolishly?

8:14 PM  
Blogger stefankarlsson said...

Follow the article that I linked to in the original post where I elaborate upon this issue. In short, we're talking too low interest rates and moral hazard.

10:22 PM  
Blogger happyjuggler0 said...

I voted for the person from the rating agencies. Judging from the results, most people disagree.

Of course, a more accurate culprit are the people who created laws saying that some managers had to use those incompetent ratings services to begin with.

There is a lot of blame to go around, but I agree with marc, it is absurd to say everyone shares in the blame. Nevertheless, anyone who directly lost money in the deal is partly to blame for the mess overall, and 100% to blame for their own direct losses. I say direct losses to differentiate from someone who lost his job at a company due to the recession, where that company had nothing to do with the housing bubbles.

10:28 PM  

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