Becker and Posner discusses the financial crisis, and for once I feel a little disappointed, for they somehow miss the international side of things. The financial crisis has been possible because the American people have been on an enormous consuming binge, thanks to cheap stuff from China financed by credit from, yes, China, channeled through mortgages based on ever escalating house prices.
Anyway, I was at an HBS alumni conference last week, and the topic, of all things, was technology trends and financial crises, with speakers such as Martin Wolf, Carlotta Perez and Erik Reinert. One interesting point which was brought up was the US curious insistence on always having cheap energy: Not only is there no tax on gasoline (which would have brought down consumption and emissions, given the national coffers some badly needed cash without having to sell Treasury bonds, and reduced dependence on foreign oil), but the US, according to another speaker, subsidizes coal production to the tune of $50b per year. Stop doing that, and you would help the environment and could buy yourself an investment bank every year….