Friday, February 20, 2009

Another Historic Day - Equity Markets Move Below Fall 08 Lows

Another historic day yesterday as the US equity markets tumbled to a 6 year low falling through the previous bottom set November 20th of last year. With the DOW now at 7466 and the S & P at 779, levels not seen since 2002, one has to worry that we will remain in a shaky state for some time to come.

The why is well summarize by a question asked by Robert Zoelick, the World Bank President, in Thursdays FT – “What started as a financial crisis, become an economic crisis, is now becoming an unemployment crisis – and to what degree does it become a human and social crisis?”

I cannot help but reflect back to when I started blogging at the beginning of last year BECAUSE I felt we were entering a historic period for the US and global financial markets and I needed a way to share my opinions and more. At this moment I am just so angry. I am angry because of how long the ‘powers that be’ denied that there were any real problems to worry about. I am angry because at the time the government’s solutions to what few problems they acknowledged were to suggest we should just keep shopping. I am angry about years and years of people (including me ) just failing to do the right ( and often difficult) things. I have been an unwavering bear, A Mrs. Doom to Nouriel Roubini’s Dr. Doom, and yet at this moment I feel I did not do enough to help protect others and be part of the solution.

This is not about the level of the stock market. This is about who we are as people. This is about how we view ourselves, our role's in society and our obligation or lack thereof to care about the common good and take personal responsibility to do our best to keep our world, as well as our own life, on a positive trajectory.

Why I am being so self-reflective early this morning? Because in a few hours I have to speak to a roomful of incredible business leaders about these issues. About corporate ethics. Though I am long since a partner of Goldman Sachs where I had the huge personal responsibility to be a culture driver and carrier I am still that everywhere I go. For 14 years my space was primarily GS, and now it is other spaces and places but the obligation remains the same. As a leader, as a citizen of this planet, I feel strongly that I have an obligation to serve the common good and not just what is good for me. At the heart of it I think that is what is wrong with America, perhaps the world.

I need to add a few articles that I have clipped over the past couple of days mainly because I love saving them in a place where I can easily access them again down the line. If you are not yet a subscriber to Naked Capitalism I would highly suggest it… everyday some of the best business writings from multiple sources are collected and sent to you in one email… love it and thanks.

From the WSJ

A short History of the National Debt” by John Steele Gordon – He gives some great history on government deficitis.
Synchronized Boom, Synchronized Bust” by Marc Faber – Mark manages money and I follow is thinking in Barrons. He was featured in this year’s roundtable and I agreed with most of what he had to say. This article walks through the financial meltdown in easy in a very straightforward way.
There is Virtue in Geithners Vague Bank Plan” by Nouriel Roubini and Matthew Richardson– basically argues that the many US banks will be nationalized.

From the FT

Japanese Lessons for a World of Balance Sheet Deflation” by Martin Wolf. I love the FT opeds in general and this one highlights the indebtedness of the world.


John Brantley Hooks, IV said...

You are spot on. I have sat on the sidelines for over a year but now am 'coming out' as a blogger in support of women of wealth and their offspring who have been victimized by a male-dominated financial system repleat with Fraud, Fantasy, and Folly and are paralyzed with FUD. I have put your Blog at the top of my "Recommended Resource" list. I hope those who visit will gain from your insight.

Jacki Zehner said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Truly....