Tag Archives: doom loop

Doom Loop, In Cartoons

Drawn from “The Doomsday Cycle”, joint with Peter Boone, in LSE’s Centrepiece Winter Issue  (permanent/direct pdf link: CEP centerpiece Feb 2010). 

I recommend the pictures – designed by the impressive team at the Centre for Economic Performance (we just did the words).

By Simon Johnson

Doom Loop, UK Edition

In the Sunday Times (of London) today, Peter Boone and I address what the British authorities can do to break their version of the boom-bust-bailout cycle.

There is a certain amount of fatalism about these issues in Europe.  This is misplaced.  In the short-term, European policymakers have an important opportunity to diminish the political power of big banks, particularly because peer review – through the European Commission, the G20, and even the IMF – is more likely to have impact there than in the United States.

It’s an open question whether the degree of ideological capture by finance was stronger over the past decade in the US or the UK.  But at least leading UK policymakers have started to push back against their banks; in the US, Paul Volcker remains a relatively lonely quasi-official voice.

By Simon Johnson

Bernanke’s Reply: On The Doom Loop

Senator David Vitter submitted one of my questions to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, as part of his reconfirmation hearings, and received the following reply in writing (as already published in the WSJ on-line).

Q. Simon Johnson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and blogger: Andrew Haldane, head of financial stability at the Bank of England, argues that the relationship between the banking system and the government (in the U.K. and the U.S.) creates a “doom loop” in which there are repeated boom-bust-bailout cycles that tend to get cost the taxpayer more and pose greater threat to the macro economy over time. What can be done to break this loop?

A. The “doom loop” that Andrew Haldane describes is a consequence of the problem of moral hazard in which the existence of explicit government backstops (such as deposit insurance or liquidity facilities) or of presumed government support leads firms to take on more risk or rely on less robust funding than they would otherwise. A new regulatory structure should address this problem. Continue reading