July 14, 2009

A mystic crusade against debt?

Sir, there is too much debt because debt has been given huge fiscal incentives; that banks have in some circumstances been authorized to have extraordinarily high leverages; that consumer debt pushers have been able to act freely with an impudence that any drug dealer or casino owner would kill for; and that markets followed faulty risk rating signals that indicated some borrowers were risk-free no matter how much debt they contracted.

And there is nothing “mystic” with that, as the almost embarrassing manifest of Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Mark Spitznagel “Time to tackle the real evil: too much debt” July 14 would seem to indicate. The authors call for economic demystification by calling for a mystic crusade against debt.

I have professionally been involved with many debt to equity conversion operations and of course they are often very useful but let´s face it, at the end of the day, a loss is a loss is a loss, whether you are holding debt or equity, just that the latter usually allows you to bluff yourself a little longer.