ALIEN the sequel: Phase Three of the Global Crisis

Paul Mason’s lecture at the London School of Economics is well worth a listen (via iTunes subscription, or via the LSE website as MP3 or Youtube Video). Mason draws on his new book  Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed. The book is unfortunately not in Kindle format. Also unfortunate – I can’t find Paul slides on the net, only the video.

At the end of his talk Paul sketches his view of “phase three” using the movie ALIEN as a metaphor. The movie’s acidic alien blood is used as a metaphor for the toxic debt overhang. Darn good metaphor I think. Do you remember the blood cutting through floor after floor of the spaceship – if it cannot be stopped “the movie will be over”?

Paul’s view is that the alien blood/excess debt is now cutting through the floor of the real economy.

When his talk comes to policy solutions, Paul’s main offering is to reduce banking leverage. Good — but there has to be a regulatory apparatus that can make that true in the light of ongoing financial innovations.