Excerpts from his Taylor Lecture:
"Now, we know all the seeming mathematic precision brought to task, epitomized by calculations of Value at Risk, complicated new structured products, the explosion of derivatives, all intended to diffuse and minimize risk, did not bear out the hopes. Instead the vaunted efficiency
helped justify exceedingly narrow credit spreads and exceedingly large compensation. By now it is pretty clear that it was faith in the techniques of modern finance, stoked in part by the apparent huge financial rewards, that enabled the extremes of leverage, the economic imbalances, and the pretenses of the credit rating agencies to persist so long. A relaxed approach of regulators and important legislative liberalization reflected the new financial Zeitgeist.
If those remarks sound critical – and they are meant to inspire caution - let me emphasize that the breakdown in financial markets and the “Great Recession” are the culmination of years of growing, and ultimately unsustainable, imbalances between and within national economies. These are matters of national policy failures and the absence of a disciplined international monetary system."
"..the build-up in leverage, the failure of credit discipline, and the opaqueness of securitization -- all the complexity implicit in the growth of so-called “shadow banking” -- helped facilitate accommodation to the underlying imbalances and to the eventual bubbles to a truly dangerous extent. In the end, the consequence was to intensify the financial crisis and to severely wound the real world economy."
For the full text of the Taylor Lecture, see: