Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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Why Are Some Panics Worse Than Others?

Stocks in a panic fall further than they should have because they had risen too high. We have learned a great deal in three centuries, but setting aside our pride, we now have dozens of sovereign nations, many of who refuse to do anything the USA tells them to do. For example, a shipload of petroleum sailing between Venezuela and New Orleans may change ownership of the cargo five times within the course of the journey. Much of the collapse of Lehman Brothers is said to have been occasioned by the incremental borrowing occasioned by sending many components of automobiles instead of a single assembled automobile. The aggregate cost may be less, but much of the borrowing was new, while much of the larger items of borrowing disappeared. It costs a great deal to re-arrange a supply train.

Originally published: Tuesday, October 02, 2018; most-recently modified: Wednesday, June 05, 2019

 

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