Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
Abandoning the fetish of liquidity. From and old thread:
As long as the "units" are liquid there will be bubbles. And if they are not liquid it will be very difficult to find investors to sell them to.

Here's Keynes on liquidity (with my emphasis)

Thus the professional investor is forced to concern himself with the anticipation of impending changes, in the news or in the atmosphere, of the kind  by which experience shows that the mass psychology of the market is most influenced. This is the inevitable result of investment markets organised with a view to so-called 'liquidity'. Of the maxims of orthodox finance none, surely, is more anti-social than the fetish of liquidity, the doctrine that it is a positive virtue on the part of an investment institutions to concentrate their resources upon the holding of 'liquid' securities. It forgets that there is no such thing as liquidity of investment for the community as a whole. The social object of skilled investment should be to defeat the dark forces of time and ignorance whichh envelop the future. The actual, private object of the most skilled investment of to-day is 'to beat the gun'. as the Americans so well express it, to outwit the crowd, and to pass the bad, or depreciating, half-crown to the other fellow.
He then proposes a Tobin tax, or high barriers to entry to capital markets
These tendencies are a scarcely avoidable outcome of our having successfully organised 'liquid' investment markets. It is usually agreed that casinos should, in the public interest, be inaccessible and expensive. And perhaps the same is true of stock exchanges. That the sins of the London Stock Exchange are less than those of Wall Street may be due, not so much to differences in national character, as to the fact that to the average Englishman Throgmonton Street is, compared with Wall Street to the average American, inaccessible and very expensive. The jobber's 'turn', the high brokerage charges and the  heavy transfer tax payable to the Exchaquer, which attend dealings on the London Stock Exchange, sufficiently diminish the liquidity of the market (although the practice of fortnightly accounts operates the other way) to rule out a large proportion of the transactions characteristic of Wall Street.[4]   The introduction  of a substantial overnment transfer tax on all transactions might prove the most serviceable reform available, with a view to mitigating the predominance of speculation over enterprise in the United States.
However, there is a dilemma: liquidity leads to speculation but you cannot have investment without liquidity.
The spectacle of modern investment markets has sometimes moved me towards the conclusion that to make the purchase of an investment permanent and indissoluble, like marriage, except by reason of death or other grave cause, might be a useful remedy for our contemporary evils. For this would force the investor to direct his mind to the long-term prospects and to those only. But a little consideration of this expedient brings us up against a dilemma, and shows us how the liquidity of investment markets often facilitates, though it sometimes impedes, the course of new investment. For the fact that each individual investor flatters himself that his commitment is 'liquid' (though this cannot be true of all investors collectively) callms his nerves  and makes him much more willing to run a risk. If individual purchases of investments were rendered illiquid, this might seriously impede new investment, so long as alternative ways in which to hold his savings are availale to the individual. This is the dilemma. So long as it is open to the individual to employ his wealth in hoarding or lending money, the alternative of purchasing actual capital assets cannot be rendered sufficiently attractive (especially to the man who does not manage the capital assets and know very little about them), except by organising markets wherein these assets can be easily realised for money.
Unitisation cannot solve the dilemma. It can do away with default risk and default/recovery costs, but it cannot do away with the liquidity/speculation dilemma.

The facts that

there is no such thing as liquidity of investment for the community as a whole
and
each individual investor flatters himself that his commitment is 'liquid' (though this cannot be true of all investors collectively
is behind my diary How much is $172 trillion worth? from March 24th, 2008.
later revisited.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 13th, 2009 at 09:13:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Others have rated this comment as follows:

Display:

Occasional Series