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192 definitions by abu yahya

 
1.
Act passed in 1933 which regulated banking. Named for Sen. Carter Glass (D-VA) and Rep. Henry Steagall (D-AL 3rd). Also known as the Banking Act of 1933. Motivated by the Great Depression and one of the pillars of the New Deal.

Glass-Steagall prohibited commercial banks from engaging in underwriting securities, i.e., banks that accepted deposits and loaned money at interest were not allowed to issue bonds or new public offerings of stocks. The Act also authorized the creation of deposit insurance.

The Banking Act of '33 was strengthened in 1956 when bank holding companies were barred from the insurance business.

Between 1982 and 1999, banks were deregulated until the same corporation could take deposits, create credit, borrow from the Federal Reserve, underwrite stocks and bonds, operate a hedge fund, and sell insurance.
Glass-Steagall was repealed in stages between 1982 and 1999.

In 1990, the largest bank in the USA--CitiBank--held assets of $369.1 (2009 dollars); by 2009, it held over 5x that. Bank of America is now 13.24 times its size in 1990. The repeal of Glass-Steagall undeniably worsened our problem with banks that were too big to fail.
por Abu Yahya 05 de Abril de 2010
 
2.
(IRANIAN HISTORY) Secret police of Iran during the reign of Shah Muhammad Reza (r.1941-1979); began operations in 1957, four years after Operation Ajax. Gen. Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf (father of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf was a US Army liaison who trained SAVAK in intelligence tactics; additional training was provided by the Israeli military.

General Teymur Bakhtia, the main Iranian military officer involved in Operation Ajax, was rewarded with command of SAVAK; he was dismissed in 1961 because he was believed to be organizing a coup. Subsequently, the Shah had his own secret service to spy on the secret service.

SAVAK's activities to include gathering intelligence and neutralizing the regime's opponents. An elaborate system was created to monitor all facets of political life. For example, a censorship office was established to monitor journalists, literary figures, and academics throughout the country; it took appropriate measures against those who fell out of line. Universities, labor unions, and peasant organizations, among others, were all subjected to intense surveillance by SAVAK agents and paid informants. The agency was also active abroad, especially in monitoring Iranian students who publicly opposed Pahlavi rule.
SAVAK mostly concentrated on Tudeh and populist organizations until the late 1960's, since the clergy was mostly aligned with the monarchy until 1964, when the regime started to redistribute endowments of land held by the religious orders.
por Abu Yahya 19 de Julho de 2010
 
3.
*noun*; global economic collapse; in the USA, this began in 1929 and persisted to 1939; most other industrialized countries emerged from the Depression earlier.

During the Great Depression, unemployment reached over 25% in the USA, and those who had jobs suffered severe wage cuts. The index of industrial output fell over 53% from its high in July '29, while trade and capital markets plummeted to mere fractions of their former levels.

*What Happened*
_____________________________________
Many people imagine that the Stock Market Crash (Oct '29) and the Great Depression are the same thing. However, it took another three years for employment, bank failures, and declining industrial output to run its course.

In 1929 the USA had 25,000 banks. By 1933, 10,000 had either failed or been merged with another to avoid failure. At this time there was no FDIC, so depositors mostly lost their money.

Another phenomenon was plunging prices: the consumer price index fell 25% during the first four years. For businesses, this was a disaster, and forced them to lay off millions.


The Great Depression made farms in much of the Southwest unviable; ruined farmers fled to California or Washington, and their abandoned farms succumbed to the Dust Bowl. This was the single largest ecological disaster in recorded history.


*How It Happened*
_____________________________________

There are basically three main explanations for the Great Depression.
1. During the 1920's, there was a huge and growing disparity between rich and poor. The incomes of the great majority rose much more slowly than productivity, but this was masked by increased borrowing. People were able to borrow because the market value of their assets was larger than what they owed; but when a rash of defaults occurred, then the market value of assets plummeted, and people owed more than their assets were worth. Businesses had to lay off workers, which further reduced aggregate demand.

2. The Great Depression began as another minor downturn, but was made much worse by the failure of the Federal Reserve to respond adequately (see Milton Friedman & Anna Schwartz). While the Fed reduced interest rates, prices fell even faster, so real interest rates soared. This made a quick recovery impossible.

3. The financial markets (combined with Fed supervision) distributed capital badly; for example, speculative ventures in growing wheat in the Great American Desert, real estate in Florida, and so on. When this arrangement of productive resources failed, it constituted an extremely large technology shock. Subsequent policy intervention tended to withhold capital and labor from the most productive enterprises, making the depression deeper.

(Explanation 3 is the New Classical economics explanation; see Harold Cole & Lee Ohanian.)


*Roosevelt Administration*
_____________________________________
Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected by a landslide in 1932, and inaugurated 4 March 1933. The White House immediately used emergency powers to close, restructure, and re-open the nation's banks. During the first 100 days of the FDR administration, Congress passed the New Deal which greatly eased the impact of the Depression on the hardest hit.

The New Deal did not significantly hasten the end of the Great Depression, because it was too small to provide a meaningful fiscal stimulus. However, it did introduce many important programs to help those affected by poverty. The Depression had ended in most of the world by 1937; the US was mostly recovered by 1939, when World War 2 broke out.
The NBER business cycle chronology dates the start of the Great Depression in August 1929. For this reason many have said that the Depression started on Main Street and not Wall Street. Be that as it may, the stock market plummeted in October of 1929. The bursting of the speculative bubble had been achieved and the economy was now headed in an ominous direction.

Randall Parker, "An Overview of the Great Depression" (2002)
por Abu Yahya 06 de Março de 2009
 
4.
*noun*; prolonged economic crisis characterized by drastic (i.e., >20%) decline in output, reduction in employment, and deflation. Other technical conditions include a liquidity trap and "permanent" (i.e., persisting in many sectors for several quarters) failure to reach equilibrium.

Usually the word "depression" (when referring to economics) is used to refer to the Great Depression, although in fact there were eight incidents of a global depression between 1815 and 1922. These were
--- 1815-21
--- 1832-33
--- 1837-44
--- 1854-57
--- 1867-68
--- 1876-79
--- 1893-96
--- 1920-22
In addition, there have been many localized depressions, panics (e.g., the 1907 Panic {USA}, followed by the Mexican Depression of 1908), and recessions.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RECESSION & DEPRESSION

The technical distinction between a recession and depression can vary, although economists usually agree on which is which. In Keynesian economics, a depression is defined by the existence of a flat liquidity-money (LM) curve (which means that interest rates have no influence on people's determination to hold their wealth as cash); and/or a nearly vertical investment-savings (IS) curve (which means interest rates have no influence on the willingness of entrepreneurs to expand/continue operations).

In contrast, a recession is a much less drastic event. Interest rates still have influence on investment and liquidity, and there is no deflation. Conventional fiscal policy and monetary policy, combined and in moderate doses, can restore full employment.


Neoclassical economics/New Classical economics defines a recession as a shift in people's income/leisure preferences as the result of a technology shock. The technology shock sharply reduces the returns to labor, so workers are paid less and many withdraw their labor from the market. In a depression, the technology shocks are compounded and cause a permanent change in the production function; large numbers of enterprise are no longer viable.


More generally, a recession involves the downward phase of a routine business cycle; these typically occur every three-seven years. A depression represents a partial collapse of the industrial system, and a comprehensive collapse of the financial system.
From 1929 to 1933 the U.S. price level fell 25 percent. Many economists blame this deflation for the severity of the Great Depression. They argue that the deflation may have turned what in 1931 was a typical economic downturn into an unprecedented *sic* period of high unemployment and depressed income.


N. Gregory Mankiw, William M. Scarth, *Macroeconomics: Canadian Edition*, 2nd ed. (2003) p.318
por Abu Yahya 07 de Março de 2009
 
5.
(FINANCE) financial instrument in which buyer is someone who needs insurance against the possibility that a borrower will default on a loan. In that case, the counterparty is whoever receives the CDS premiums, and pays out in the event of default.

WHY IT'S BAD
Loans are usually made by either commercial banks (in which a loan officer is supposed to make a professional assessment of risk of default before handing over the money), or by investment banks (which underwrite securities like bonds). If the borrower has a high risk of default, then the loan should not be made--period.

Credit default swaps were a stupid method of supposedly turning a bad loan into a "risky" (and potentially high-yield) "investment"; they were in reality a strategy for fraud. Since portfolio managers knew they were bundling securitized loans that contained mostly crap, they would arrange credit default swaps and cash in when the borrowers defaulted.
What the bankers hit on was a sort of insurance policy: a third party would assume the risk of the debt going sour, and in exchange would receive regular payments from the bank, similar to insurance premiums. JPMorgan would then get to remove the risk from its books and free up the reserves. The scheme was called a "credit default swap," and it was a twist on something bankers had been doing for a while to hedge against fluctuations in interest rates and commodity prices.

{Newsweek, "The Monster That Ate Wall Street," 27 Sep 2008}
por Abu Yahya 17 de Julho de 2010
 
6.
(FINANCE) a limited liability partnership (LLP), originally limited to 99 partners, and organized to trade securities under specialized guidelines. The first hedge funds were organized to be a counterparty to the riskiest forms of derivative transactions: writing exotic options or swaps in which the buyer transferred most risks (and potential gains) to the hedge fund, but then offsetting the risk with different derivatives.

The first hedge funds benefited (or thought they benefited) from the Black-Scholes formula used to calculate the value of options; supposedly a hedge fund manager could design an immensely complex portfolio consisting mainly of explosively volatile instruments , whose pieces were supposed to absorb each other's risk.

Hedge funds mainly avoided the consequences of the financial meltdown they helped create, racking up gains through the '00's that far exceeded the rest of the stock market.
The hedge fund used to play a major role in absorbing and structuring the risks associated with hedging risks associated with large portfolios, but they now are sophisticated gambling enterprises.

Hedge funds supply market liquidity for the most exotic of instruments.
por Abu Yahya 01 de Setembro de 2010
 
7.
*noun*; series of programs enacted by the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) in response to the Great Depression. This definition refers to the New Deal in US history (as opposed to the current "New Deal" in Great Britain).

The main architects of the New Deal were Harry Hopkins, Henry A. Wallace, and Harold L. Ickes. The chief prigrams were:
--- The Works Progress Administration (WPA);
--- the Public Works Administration (PWA);
--- the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA).
These were set up to address industrial and farming failures.

Other programs addressed a long-standing need:
--- the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC);
--- the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which introduced electrical power infrastructure to much of the impoverished rural South;
--- the Civil Works Administration (CWA), which supplied electrical power generation;
--- the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which provides insurance for bank accounts;
--- the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC);
--- the Social Security Administration (SSA);

Legislation included:
--- the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), or Wagner Act, which gave most workers the right to organize;
--- the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which was struck down in 1935 by the US Supreme Court;
--- the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which set basic working standards.

The New Deal's main impact was to establish basic protections for workers, consumers, and farmers. While some of these protections could have been better designed, they perform an indispensable function. In terms of actual fiscal policy, the New Deal was far too small to hasten the end of the Great Depression itself.
A lot of the public buildings in this country were built by New Deal programs.
por Abu Yahya 06 de Março de 2009