Sunday, 27 January 2008

Stability destabilises

"In finance, to borrow from the economist Hyman Minsky, nothing is so destabilizing as stability. The paradox is easily explained. Profit-seeking people will take more financial risk when they believe the coast is clear. By taking bigger chances, however, they unwittingly make the world unsafe all over again.

Anxious people don’t ordinarily get in over their heads; it’s the confident ones who do. And nothing builds confidence like the belief that a greater power has conquered the business cycle and laid inflation low. In such happy circumstances, a calculating human will take out a bigger mortgage, build a bigger hedge fund or attempt a gaudier corporate buyout. That is, he or she will borrow more money, or, as they say on Wall Street, lay on more leverage."

James Grant, editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That old hyman minsky; forgotten too soon; remembered too late.