This time only the names are different

Roger Farmer tweeted this quote from a Martin Wolf article today:  ‘in essence, today’s financial system is the same as before’.  Without checking, I am guessing that ‘before’ means before the latest crisis.  But perhaps ‘before’ might not be so specific.  I was reminded of the great Forrest Capie, financial historian.  The Bank of England held a celebration of his career, with a few invited speakers.  The best speaker was of course Forrest himself.  Without notes, he delivered a nail-biting narrative of what could have been this crisis, with all the names removed.  The irrational exuberance.  The panic.  The hurried chaotic meetings of officials. Desperate measures.  Some lessons learned, most not.  With a terrific theatrical flourish, Forrest’s closing words revealed that he was actually talking about the banking panics of the 1800s.  Sending the message:  this time only the names are different.

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