Lensic Performing Arts Center
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Ulam Lectures 2017 - John Geanakoplos - The Leverage Cycle and Forgiveness (Lecture 2)

Debt, default, and forgiveness have been at the heart of almost every major financial boom, bust, and recovery. Without debt, growth is nearly impossible. Yet too much debt is catastrophic. Why is it that out of all economic variables, debt causes the most trouble? In these lectures John Geanakoplos describes debt in history, in literature, and in economic theory, including his own theory of the leverage cycle, culminating in an explanation of the American mortgage crisis of 2007-2010 and the European sovereign debt crisis of 2010-2016.

Lecture 2: The Leverage Cycle and Forgiveness. - Tuesday, Septemeber 26, 2017.

What happened in 2007-2016? Are debt crises the result of panic, or systemic failure that can be controlled by regulation? Is there a mathematics of debt crises? Why is forgiving debt so hard? Why is it so important? When is it appropriate? Geanakoplos describes the leverage cycle, and uses it to explain the mortgage debt crisis of 2007-2008, the Greek and European debt problem today, and student debt tomorrow.

John Geanakoplos is the James Tobin Professor of Economics at Yale University, an inaugural Yale Faculty Senator, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a recipient of the Samuelson Prize. From 1990-1994 he was Director of Fixed Income Research at the investment bank Kidder Peabody, and in 1995 he was one of the founders of the hedge fund Ellington Capital Management, where he remains a partner. He was Director of the Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics for 9 years, and director of the Steering Committee for the Santa Fe Institute for 6 years. He is the creator of a theory of collateral equilibrium and the leverage cycle. He has testified several times in Congress about debt forgiveness and he advised the Greek government about Greek debt relief. 

The SFI 2017 Community Lecture Series is supported by Thornburg Investment Management, with additional support provided by The Lensic Performing Arts Center.


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