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Ex-chief economist for the BIS suggests a Jubilee

Jan 20, 2016

Here is an interesting article quoting a high-ranking economist, William White, the Swiss-based chairman of the OECD's review committee and former chief economist of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/davos/12108569/World-faces-wave-of-epic-debt-defaults-fears-central-bank-veteran.html

The global financial system has become dangerously unstable and faces an avalanche of bankruptcies that will test social and political stability, a leading monetary theorist has warned.

"The situation is worse than it was in 2007….

"Debts have continued to build up over the last eight years and they have reached such levels in every part of the world that they have become a potent cause for mischief," he said.

"It will become obvious in the next recession that many of these debts will never be serviced or repaid, and this will be uncomfortable for a lot of people who think they own assets that are worth something," he told The Telegraph on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"The only question is whether we are able to look reality in the eye and face what is coming in an orderly fashion, or whether it will be disorderly. Debt jubilees have been going on for 5,000 years, as far back as the Sumerians."…

Mr White said Europe's creditors are likely to face some of the biggest haircuts. European banks have already admitted to $1 trillion of non-performing loans: they are heavily exposed to emerging markets and are almost certainly rolling over further bad debts that have never been disclosed….

I’m not sure that the Sumerians practiced debt jubilees, but I find it interesting that the word “jubilee” is now becoming part of economists’ jargon. Just ten years ago, no one ever used the word in public.


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Dr. Stephen Jones


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