Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
the trigger for the current European crisis seems to have been the collapse of Eurodollar liquidity following the American credit freeze in 2008.

Well - psychologically capitalist recessions and depressions are caused by a loss of faith in the future among the financial class.

Capitalism is inherently manic depressive, with wild and uncontrollable swings between irrational euphoria during boom periods and irrational depression and projected guilt (q.v. austerity) during busts.

Essentially all the markets do is measure faith - in individuals, companies, corporations, and countries. The ultimate capitalist virtue isn't practical output, it's the ability to persuade people they should believe in you.

Markets 'punish' those whom faith has abandoned. And during crisis periods, everyone's faith stampedes towards the door.

You can see here that oil prices spiked just before the crash:

Now - Chris Cook will likely say that this was a result of manipulation. And he may be right.

Practically, it doesn't matter. Enough people were looking at rising energy prices to consider that the chances of getting their (non-viable, multiply leveraged) loans repaid were trending to zero - after a long period during which it was still possible to believed that repayment would be possible eventually.

Something similar happened during the oil panic during the 70s, which is why there was a similar crash then - even though taxation was more evenly balanced and worker compensation was proportionally higher.

So I think it's simplistic and empirically disconfirmed to suggest that all we have to do is return to the redistributive policies of the 70s and resource constraints will drift back down into the economic background noise.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jan 30th, 2012 at 07:42:09 AM EST
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