With a recession become increasingly certain and the end of the expansionary phase of the credit cycle in sight, we can expect a periodic systemic crisis to be upon us soon. The question arises as to how serious it will be, given that despite the massive injections of extra base money since the Lehman crisis, signs of liquidity shortages are already re-emerging in financial markets.
We don’t know what will trigger the crisis, but a likely candidate is foreign selling of US dollars combining with a collapse in the US government’s finances. Perhaps the coronavirus will turn out to be a black swan event, but the underlying conditions for an economic and monetary crisis already exist.
This article looks at alternative outcomes. It concludes that the current situation bears a worrying resemblance to the collapse of John Law’s Mississippi scheme exactly 300 years ago. The key to understanding why this is so is because of the link forged between asset prices and fiat currencies. One fails, and they both fail, more rapidly than the most bearish bear might expect.