Essay On The Global Financial Crisis
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Title: The Global Financial Crisis
The global financial crisis is one that is responsible for the affliction of the economies of the world. It is mandatory that the economy of the country in question is identified, and thus the population is closely monitored. It is required that the country in question is understood from a global as well as the political landscape (Obstfeld et. Al, 24). The effects of the financial crisis that have affected a good number of the world’s population cannot be underestimated in the USA and around the world, as well. It is necessary that the countries in which emerging and frontier markets reside, be protected from the harm the situation presents. By being able to prevent the occurrence of such and related scenarios effects on the economies can be controlled. It is necessary that economics scholars delve further into the cause of the problem and how to solve it, rather than addressing the face value effects that this country is perceived to possess (Savona, et. Al, 56).
The world needs to understand that this crisis is capable of just as much harm in America as in emerging markets. It, therefore, begs the attention of world scholars, insofar as obtaining a clear solution is concerned. The contagion effects and interdependency of American and foreign markets are also noteworthy. The trouble the individuals have endured thus far is itself a cry for peace and amiability. The relations that Africa shares with the West are majorly responsible for the financial turmoil that Africa has found itself in smack at the center. Clear policies and regulations governing financial practice are important not only in America but also all over the world. If the contagion effects of the previous effects are to be contained, far much more than fiscal policy and regulation will be required. This is all in an effort to minimize the effects of the global financial crisis on the public (Savona, et. Al, 77).
A global financial crisis is a period in which the financial system of the entire world is on the verge of collapse. This is a tricky situation, in that; one bad decision can spell disaster for the whole world. One wrong decision could result in the plummeting and collapse of the entire global financial systems. The financial crisis that began in September 2008 was triggered of by the collapse of The Lehman Brothers. The fall of this financial giant due to uncontrolled risk plays a primary role in the offset of the global financial crisis. It is paramount that the role of the Lehman Brothers is understood much more clearly than it is understood at present.
The Lehman Brothers was an institution that formed part of the core of the shadow banking system. This core is responsible for offering alternative monetary solutions in situations that the traditional banking system has found itself incapable of any action. The failure of this shadow banking system out of uncontrolled risk affected the financial landscape of the entire world in the few years that followed. By determining the key roles played by each player in the financial sector, the global financial crisis held the world hostage. This effect is the direct descendant of poor policy formation insofar as the shadow banking institutions are concerned. In being able to create some semblance of order to the local financial markets in the United States of America, the players were able to create this same semblance on other emerging and frontier markets. These factors that influenced the control mechanisms established for the financial crisis were both key players in the fight against the global financial meltdown.
Causes of the crisis
The global financial crisis that began in September 2008 had serious effects on the heath of emerging and frontier markets (Obstfeld, et. Al, 99). This crisis that was triggered by the collapse of the Lehman Brothers portended a dark near future for markets all over the world. The cradle of the financial meltdown can be traced to excessive liquidity in markets. Over the years, the growth of the dot com bubble had a ‘psychological’ effect on the central banks of the world. The desire to adopt low interest policies by central banks resulted in a boom, in lending.
Many of the banks in the financial sector borrowed heavily form the central bank with the population also taking out many loans. This large subscription to loans resulted in excessive liquidity, in the markets. Money was easy to come by, and the challenge lay in how to spend it. Another factor that resulted in excessive liquidity, in the market, was the excess amounts in savings as compared to other investment opportunities in emerging and frontier markets, among them China, that could prove profitable. This resulted in the excess liquidity that was in the market. Most of the money that caused the excessive liquidity found its way into the mortgage market as a result of false promises that the sector had relatively low risk returns (Kates, 25).
The outright failure of market participants and market regulators played a central role in the development of the financial meltdown. Their inability to understand and appreciate the strength of the financial mechanisms that were put in place also propagated the development of the financial crisis in 2008. The mechanisms that had been put in place supported the economic boom as well as the economic downfall. The fact that the financial sector failed to appreciate and recognize these mechanisms resulted in a financial crisis second to none. It is only logical then, that understanding the dynamics involved with these mechanisms should be able to strengthen the financial system and build on its robustness.
The gradual but extremely profitable growth of the shadow banking system, spearheaded by the Lehman Brothers, and the sudden collapse over a period of two years is the primary cause of the meltdown. Initially, the shadow banking system was endlessly praised for its immense contribution to the development and strengthening of the financial system (Kates, 65). However, this strength turned into a weakness after the system turned out to be more fragile than it had been anticipated. This resulted in the eventual development of the financial crisis as even the most learned economists could not predict the volatile nature of the industry. The maturation transformation of the industry saw structured investment vehicles, among other factors, finance long-term assets with short-term funding. The disadvantage is that this maturation took place devoid of the necessary backstops that stabilize the traditional banking system (Savona, et. Al, 43).
The adverse effects that this disaster resulted in could have been prevented with the formulation and application of strong regulatory responses (Obstfeld, et. Al, 88). However, one mistake that further propagated the development of the financial crisis was the indifferent attitude adopted by regulatory bodies. Believing that markets would self regulate and so avert a future financial crisis played, arguably, the most central role in the development of the financial meltdown.
Effects of the Crisis
The global financial meltdown had adverse effects not only in the USA, but also on the entire world. These effects were characterized by a sprawling domino effect that seemed to start at the developed countries and rolled into less developed and eventually developing countries. The effects that arose as a result of this contagion effect are numerous and cut across all sectors of the economical fabric of both nations involved (Kates, 86). The large degree of interdependence that is witnessed across the financial platform between the developed and developing markets is a key factor in the development of the financial crisis. The fact that a good number of the countries that were hardest hit by the recession hold key ties with foreign powers cannot be ignored. The effects that the recession had on the economies of the developed nations simply rolled out to the developing nations albeit in a much worse condition (Savona, et. Al, 75).
First and foremost, the closure of business was one of the most adverse affects of the financial meltdown. Business serves as the engine of the economy of any country and ignoring this fact can be detrimental to the financial health of a nation or an organization. The excess liquidity that plagued the market at the advent of the financial crisis served as an indicator of the situation at hand. It showed that there was much to do if the effects of the financial crisis were to be dealt with at all. The liquidity problem that had affected the market eventually affected the businesses. Strict control measures adopted to regulate the market liquidity resulted in the formulation of stringent financial policies that saw many a business close shop. The regulation of market liquidity resulted in limited availability of cash to run businesses and keep customers coming back. This also discouraged a huge chunk of the clientele that most businesses boasted of prior to the onset of the financial crisis.
This cost many hard working entrepreneurs to go back to the drawing board in a quest to guarantee the survival of their businesses. This affected not only the developed nations but also the developing nations, especially in emerging and frontier markets. The interdependence between the USA and emerging markets such as Asia, Latin America and Africa was much more clearly portrayed in the closure of businesses in these markets. The volatility of stock prices at the markets was also a feature highlighting the contagion effect that the crisis had on other markets around the globe (Obstfeld, et. Al, 111).
The performance of equity markets the world over, but especially so in emerging and frontier markets, suffered at the hands of the global financial crisis. The performance of the Wall Street outfits had a direct effect on the performance of other markets around the world. The markets in Asia were part of the problem affecting the equity markets. Korea had the best performing market in the entire Asian region before the outset of the financial crisis. However, this market significantly lost the momentum that it had built after the start of the crisis. Other markets in Latin America such as Brazil as well as Sub-Saharan Africa also suffered great losses due to the crisis. The persistent failure to perform by the equity markets had its fair share of problems to the overall state of the markets. This failure foreshadowed the failure of these markets to put in place financial safeguards that would guarantee minimized losses to the markets by controlling excessive risk. These losses were particularly substantial in markets that had no safety nets to begin with as it meant having to bear the full burden of a wounded economy with no clear guidelines on the course of action to be adopted. The collapse of the financial systems governing many markets jolted the governments into action. It saw the development of safeguards, some temporary and others permanent, to solve the problem the financial meltdown had caused.
The domino effect seemed to play out in the case of general effects of the financial crisis on the economy, as well. The instability of financial institutions and development of problems like high inflation rates and unemployment are some of the worst effects that the financial crisis plague bore (Savona, et. Al, 33). The rate of unemployment sky rocketed after a vast majority of individuals that were formerly employed lost their jobs due to the financial crisis. This saw the unemployment rates shoot up instantly. The rise of the level of inflation meant the cost of living had also risen, making it even harder for institutions to support themselves, let alone the employees they have. These problems also rolled out in the emerging and frontier markets in a similar fashion, resulting in job cuts and increased cost of living.
Many governments were forced to cut their spending on certain aspects, especially health, just to be able to stay afloat. This also resulted in a good number of employees taking pay cuts just so that they can remain employed. This, in the view of the majority, was much better than being unemployed. These developments had a direct implication on the economies of the emerging and frontier markets. The economic growth projections that had been anticipated by the IMF were not realized, with most nations slowing their economic growth by well over a half. This has had an adverse effect on the recovery process of these emerging and frontier markets since they now have to gain the ground they lost in the financial meltdown (Kates, 90).
Effects on Frontier and Emerging Markets
The global financial crisis had detrimental effects on the operation and financial status of the frontier and emerging markets. The entirety of these markets was determined by the state of affairs in foreign markets that largely controlled the global equity markets. The equity markets all over the world are afflicted when the major players of the equity field take severe hits. As described above, the operation of equity markets as well as their profitability was adversely affected by the financial crisis. The rise in the rates of inflation promptly followed the stringent measures to curb excess liquidity in the markets. For the developed countries, this spelled doom for the health of their economies. Developed countries are largely dependent on manufacturing to drive their economies. The number of manufacturing industries in developed countries has been persistently high, allowing them to have control on certain aspects of manufacturing in the global market.
The ability of developed countries, especially those manufacturing advanced machinery, to make the most out of their inventions was greatly hampered by the onset of the financial crisis. This saw the developed nations lose the main source of their market over the period of crisis. This measure was a means of curbing governmental spending. The population also abstained from spending huge amounts of money on unnecessary machinery and instead restricted itself to the basic necessities. The rise in the cost of living left very little money for investment, a factor that resulted in slowed economic growth. The ballooning of inflation rates also occurred as a result of the global financial crisis. With measures to regulate excess liquidity in the market adopted, it became even harder for individuals to apply their money in activities that could spur economic growth. A majority of those in the frontier and emerging markets only had enough to sustain themselves. This resulted in decreased value for local currencies in the emerging and frontier markets, especially in the case of developing nations. The fact that most of the developing nations have rigid or pegged exchange rates, made it harder for these nations to tap into the little opportunities available, unlike their counterparts in developed nations. The fact that some of these markets lie within developing nations warrants that proper measures must be adopted to enable the developing nations to access features and opportunities that were traditionally a reserve of developed nations.
The effects that the global financial crisis had on the emerging and frontier markets were guided by a number of factors. The fact that the financial meltdown started in the USA means that those countries in the emerging and frontier markets that had a close working relationship with the USA suffered the most. First, the extent of trade linkages between the two nations had a direct effect on the emerging market. A nation that was a constant trade partner of the USA was severely affected by the meltdown for a number of reasons. First, the fact that the USA was trying to realize the projected profits meant she had to lower costs of production as much as possible and sell at the maximum profit possible. This saw the USA sell her products more expensive than they would be under normal circumstances. This affected the trading landscape even as far as equity markets are concerned. The absence of capital based investment products for the emerging markets to invest in resulted, in a slowed economic growth. Many of these nations lost out on favorable investment opportunities that were no longer available. The nature and volume of trade that existed between the USA and a country in the emerging or frontier markets determined the extent of the financial crisis on the nation in question (Kates, 118).
Trade linkages aside, the financial linkages between the USA and the emerging market also played a key role in the global financial crisis. The countries that borrowed more from the developed nations were hit harder by the financial meltdown as compared to those that borrowed very little from the developed nations (Savona, et. Al, 128). The money borrowed from developed nations was mostly pumped into banks and other financial institutions, as a measure of investment. A large majority of those nations in emerging markets that heavily borrowed from developed nations were deep in debt to the developed nations. Most of these nations had an average of 66% liabilities to the developed nation while other nations had as low as 19% liabilities to the foreign nations. The countries that had large liabilities to the developed nations were more vulnerable to the global financial crisis. Exercising heavy reliance on foreign credit meant that, in the wake of the global financial crisis, these nations were left without a clear source of credit, especially at the hardest of times. Many nations in this predicament suffered a great deal as they had to source for credit elsewhere, in an already financially challenged world. These nations suffered a great deal during the financial crisis.
Another factor that ha an adverse effect on the frontier and emerging markets is the overall policy framework that existed in the nation. It was worrisome that a majority of the nations that formed the frontier and emerging markets had faulty and ill prepared policy framework. It is necessary to understand that the shadow banking system, of which the Lehman Brothers were part, was the cause of the global financial crisis. The absence of stringent and clear policies that regulate the establishment and operation of these shadow banking facilities played a key role in the build up to the financial meltdown. More important, however, is the fact that the emerging and frontier markets did not have well established policies that would guard against such problems, were they ever to arise.
Many of the nations in the emerging and frontier markets paid much more attention to the fiscal policies that were put in place over exchange rate and monetary policies. This preferential treatment of fiscal policy as being more vital than exchange rate and monetary policy played a central role in the outset of the global financial crisis. In having a fiscal policy, the emerging and frontier markets were ill prepared for the eventuality of a global financial meltdown, a factor that saw these nations lose economic traction. By having clear exchange rate and monetary policy, emerging and frontier markets can position themselves flexibly seeing that they will be able to cope with the possibilities of any financial meltdown by adjusting their exchange rates accordingly. This is bound to give these markets a firm footing in the possibility of a future financial meltdown (Kawai, et. Al, 45).
The rise in requests for foreign aid had never been greater than it was during the recession. The onset of the recession saw many countries, especially those in the developing tier; struggle to sustain themselves with the few resources that were at their disposal. Many countries that were already knee-deep in foreign debt ended up sinking deeper into debt, as they sought to remain self sufficient and capable of maintaining government business. The risk of government shut down resulted in many nations stretching out their hands in the hope that they will receive financial aid.
This posed and even greater challenge for the developed nations that were constantly viewed as the breadbasket of the developing nations. Despite the fact that these nations were also reeling in the effects of the recession, they were still looked upon, to aid many a suffering country (Kawai, et. Al, 67). These expectations drove these developed nations into borrowing more from international authorities in order to feed the hungry populations in developing nations. The financial meltdown also resulted in the excessive borrowing by developing nation. Many of these nations borrowed much more than they need. This was the result of unscrupulous leaders expecting to get a share of the money that will be repaid in full by the taxpayers. The effects of the financial crisis also led other developed nations into distress. Notably, Spain and Greece have since been straddling with the aftermath of the recession. Greece is the worse of the two, having requested for financial bailouts from the IMF and the Eurozone (Savona, et. Al, 167).
The financial meltdown also had an adverse effect on emerging markets due to the vulnerabilities that the financial structure and systems had. The leverage ratios that existed before the financial meltdown were too high to be of any benefit to the markets. The leverage that a market took had a direct impact on the growth impact of the financial systems. By taking too much leverage, the markets exposed themselves to uncontrolled risk, which threatened to crumble at any time. Having large current account deficits resulted in poor growth outcome for the emerging and frontier markets, a factor that heightened their vulnerability to collapse. The underlying financial structures in the emerging and frontier markets are also very important in understanding the effect of the global financial crisis on emerging and frontier markets. Having a sound financial structure that is well rooted in honest and reasonable financial practice provides a guarantee on future possibilities, such as that of a financial meltdown. By eliminating the underlying vulnerabilities in the financial structure, emerging and frontier markets can improve their standing as well as their capability and preparedness to handle financial challenges in the future.
Future Prevention of the Crisis
In order to guarantee a future in which the possibility of a random financial shock is regulated, it is mandatory that a few lessons are learnt from the previous global financial crisis (Obstfeld, et. Al, 1780). First of all, a major reason why the financial crisis occurred is the extremely high incentives that were offered by the shadow banking system. The high incentives coupled with a variety of other factors played a central role in the development of the financial crisis.
In order to curtail the possibility of another financial crisis occurring at any moment, regulatory bodies must come out categorically and reduce the incentives offered to investors. In the previous financial crisis, the assumption that markets will self regulate themselves by maintaining capital reserves that were adequate and that did not expose them to risk failed terribly and the result was a financial crisis second to none in history. By reducing the incentives offered, markets do not expose themselves to excessive uncontrolled risk hence are able to regulate themselves. By adopting a hands-on approach in contrast to the hands-off approach adopted before the financial crisis, markets as well as firms can be regulated in the right manner such that the their performance cannot trigger another global financial crisis (Kawai, et. Al, 89).
It is also necessary that regulatory authorities begin the processes of limiting leverage ratios. By having a limited leverage ratio, the risk that the firms, as well as the markets, expose themselves to is minimized as compared to where leverage ratios are not limited. The limiting if the ratio serves to protect the interests of the firms and the markets. Before the previous financial crisis, leverage ratios were not limited and this made the markets vulnerable. By raising the capital requirements for firms trading in the market, one is able to limit the leverage ratios. Previously leverage ratios were as high as 30-1, and this only increased the vulnerability of the system to exploitation. Having a system in which the leverage ratio is as high as 30-1, means that the system has no regulation whatsoever. This is because the risks involved with such a leverage ratio only pose a threat to the stability that firms and markets desire to establish. Setting up clear guidelines on the regulation and limiting of ratios for firms and the markets in general, provides a safety net for the markets and firms to fall back on in dire times. This protects them from unscrupulous traders and from volatile ratios that pose a threat to the operation of these financial institutions.
Another challenge that continues to face markets in general is that of insolvent financial institutions. The number of financial institutions that offer financial services is numerous and uncountable. These institutions offer different products that suit different people in society, but one thing that is very clear is that these institutions must be solvent in order to conduct business (Kawai, et. Al, 101). Solvency is the ability to settle one’s debts. In order to guarantee that all firms conducting financial business are legitimate and capable of living up to their word, it is mandatory that all these institutions undergo intensive scrutiny to guarantee that all these institutions are solvent. Allowing an insolvent firm to offer financial services is very risky, due to the possibility of the firm directing the money towards their solvency issues. This is also very risky due to the possibility of uncontrolled risk in an organization. Being unable to control the risk renders the financial firm incapable of handling business. The regulatory authorities must be very keen on identifying financial institutions and determining whether these institutions are credible enough to offer financial products to customers. In this way, one is able to protect both the market and the financial system, as well.
The Lehman Brothers was a shadow banking organization that had made a lot of money by placing very risky uncontrolled bets (Savona, et. Al, 188). Their operations were doing fine until 15th September 2008 when their entire business failed and collapsed, triggering the global financial crisis. Numerous finance and economic scholars have argued about the operational boundaries that different financial institutions possess. It is only by knowledge of the boundaries, that one can really understand the need for proper legislation in this sector. There must be clear and concise regulatory or legislative changes to ensure that all rules are observed and that the financial system is well regulated. It is observed that many shadow banking organizations operate just as banks do, but they do not fall under the same jurisdiction.
Enacting legislation that will hold traditional banking systems and shadow banking systems in similar regard is vital not only for the markets, but also the financial system in its entirety. There are a number of financial products, the majority that are legitimate and accepted while there are also ‘illegitimate’ products that require to be fine combed for them to be legitimate and fair. Legislation that is indiscriminate is vital in ensuring that the financial system of the emerging or frontier market is fair and safeguarded from exploitation. The availability of active and stringent legislation governing the operation of these financial institutions is a great step towards solving the problem of financial instability not only in the USA but also in emerging and frontier markets (Obstfeld, et. Al, 202).
Transparency has always been a key aspect of the financial world. Coupled with accountability, this factor plays a key role in the development of robust financial institutions. The robustness of these institutions receives a boost when the financial institutions in question are transparent and account for the money that they are investing. It is a general feature of many financial institutions that their investment regimens and procedures are kept as closely guarded secrets.
This has an adverse effect on the public perception of the financial institutions. This is a key factor in the operation of unscrupulous business people. Many are the times that financial institutions have been accused on insider trading. These factors all play a key role in the build up and development of financial volatility and instability (Savona, et. Al, 199). The fact that some individuals have insider information on equity markets creates an unequal playing field. Those individuals with information reap maximum profits while those without the information are left on the losing end. This inequality results in intense fluctuations on the stock and equity markets, a factor that builds up on financial instability. By forcing these financial institutions to be open about their investment techniques and procedures, as well as the actual stocks that they invest in will help bring a sense of control and stability in the USA markets. This will in turn reflect itself on emerging markets.
It is normal for change to face stiff resistance, especially from quarters that stand to lose out once the change is effected. The financial world is no exception and change must catch up in this sector, as well. Nonetheless, the processes that support change in the financial sector are the missing link in the development of robust financial institutions (Kawai, et. Al, 126). Many of the big financial institutions have been in business for many years with some even having been in business for centuries. These long periods of business result in the development of company operational policies. Many of these institutions have developed particular ways and approaches of doing things, and threatening these approaches by invoking change, only builds up resistance from these companies. However, change, just like death, is inevitable, and these financial institutions must also realize that they have to adopt change or lag behind. By enacting new financial policy, these institutions will be forced to conform to the set standards. Plenty of delay tactics will be expected from these companies as they prepare themselves on how they can circumnavigate the new financial policies and conduct business as they used to do. The international financial regulatory bodies such as the IMF should spearhead the fight against these delay tactics by ensuring changes in fiscal or monetary policy are applied soonest possible. In this way, companies that hope to skirt the law in their financial business can be apprehended and legal discourse sought (Kates, 160).
The prevention of any future financial crises is vital to maintaining sound financial health globally. The interdependence between emerging and frontier markets and the markets in developed nations is a factor that cannot be ignored. It must be respected, and appropriate measures to prevent further financial strife promptly adopted.
As highlighted, the interconnection between the emerging and frontier markets and the developed nation markets cannot be underestimated (Kates, 178). The interdependence that these two bodies show goes on to prove that indeed the world is a global village. The vast majority of the population has been reduced to suffering the effects of the fading financial meltdown, and especially so for those markets in developing countries. It is necessary that the entirety of the effects of the financial meltdown are analyzed, understood and interpreted, to ensure that clear answers to averting a future meltdown are obtained. The state of these markets was affected. Especially concerning is the state of the economies that suffered the biggest hits. The hangovers of the recession are still evident in society, with factors such as unemployment and economic growth depicting the effects of the crisis. A large number of the jobs that were lost in the wake of the recession, are yet to be recovered as governments struggle to create employment opportunities. The true meaning of the saying’ Rome was not built in a day’ can never be clearer than it is right now. The anxiety continues to build up, insofar as the return to economic normalcy is concerned, but more worrying is the fear that some institutions may have not learnt anything from the horrendous experience. Many people continue to hope that everything will go back to the way it was before the recession.
The development of the financial sector over the years has been impressive with many new companies portraying keen knowledge of the financial systems the world over. The key players in the financial sector are central to preventing a future global financial meltdown just as they were central to causing the crisis in 2008. It cannot be ignored that the contagion effects of markets in developed nations can be severely felt across the entire globe, and particularly so in the emerging and frontier markets. This is because these markets are young and they require plenty to guidance to evolve into robust equity markets. These emerging and frontier markets demand that they are shown the ropes of the financial sector. This is because the complexity of equity markets in developed countries can be puzzling to these relatively new markets. Having clear guidelines that dictate the operation of financial systems the world over, is vital in ensuring that a possible future financial crisis is averted in good time. It is mandatory that the contagion effects that emerging and frontier markets suffer be regulated and restricted to positive effects. Clear fiscal, monetary and exchange rate policies will play a key role in the fight against financial volatility. All the financial institutions must be closely monitored, and especially so these in the shadow banking system, to ensure that the possibility of history repeating itself is avoided at all costs. The Lehman Brothers triggered the worst financial crisis the world has ever seen due to uncontrolled risk. It is about time that clear steps that dictate a robust financial system are adopted in all markets all over the world. The time for paradigm shifts in fiscal and monetary policy has come.
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