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We're potentially looking at insolvency for the major US financial institutions, huge class-action suits by both bond investors and wrongly foreclosed mortgagees, and the end of the rule of law and/or legal security around property records in the US.
If you take the view that the rule of law and a functioning property register are some of the key institutional factors explaining the success of capitalism in the last couple hundred years, you're potentially looking at the end of capitalism as we know it in the US.
By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
All well and good for a rational person trained in physics and math to think that, but there's a better than even chance you're underestimating the prejudices and corruption inherent in the US "justice system."
Property rights may be more "sacred' in the US than anywhere else (pointing to exactly what's wrong with the civilization as a while), but me bets they're more sacred for financial engineers who own the government than for pigmented people who were sold a bill of goods.
Though it will be interesting to see how Geithner deals with the next Dust Bowl.
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
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