Outside the Box

by Andrew Lachance

Mark Whitehouse writes for the Wall Street Journal,

“The pain of the financial crisis has economists striving to understand precisely why it happened and how to prevent a repeat. For that task, John Geanakoplos of Yale University takes inspiration from Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice.”

The play’s focus is collateral, with the money lender Shylock demanding a particularly onerous form of recompense if his loan wasn’t repaid: a pound of flesh. Mr. Geanakoplos, too, finds danger lurking in the assets that back loans. For him, the risk is that investors who can borrow too freely against those assets drive their prices far too high, setting up a bust that reverberates through the economy.”

Read more at the Wall Street Journal

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