Category Archives: William K. Black

Ten Lessons We Must Learn from Charles Keating

By William K. Black

I knew Charles Keating, the head of Lincoln Savings, in my capacity as a financial regulator and as the subject of his wrath.  His fraud schemes and the manner in which they targeted our system’s vulnerabilities in an era before Citizens United made the corruption of politicians by fraudulent CEOs child’s play remain the play book for the world’s most destructive financial frauds.  Our failure to learn the ten lessons has caused immense suffering.  Keating’s life, and the great harm he caused, will not have been in vain if we step back and use the occasion of his death to reflect on the changes we need to make.

Continue reading

The New York Time’s Disgraceful Reporting about Deflation

By William K. Black

This is the third and final installment of a series of columns discussing the latest harmful policies and articles about eurozone deflation.  This column discusses the March 31, 2014 article in the New York Times entitled “Another Worrisome Drop in Euro Zone Inflation.”  I have already discussed the extraordinary sentence in the article in which the head of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, is cited as claiming that deflation is desirable for eurozone nations suffering Great Depression levels of unemployment.  Draghi claims that deflation will cause reductions in working class wages and prices that will lead to increased exports and economic recoveries.  I explained in prior columns that this is contrary to the ECB’s written policies and economic theories and the views of virtually all economists.  The NYT article does not report these facts.

Continue reading

Dr. Draghi Prescribes a Dose of Deflation for Spain as his latest Quack Cure

By William K. Black

I posted an article earlier today on the demented memes about eurozone deflation U.S. financial journalists parrot after talking to Brussels’ troika-trolls.  That article used the latest AP story to illustrate my points.

I promised a second installment that used a New York Times article (not sourced to AP) that was posted last night to illustrate the meme.  The NYT article is simultaneously more complex and more alarmingly analytically awful than the AP piece. 

This morning brought two April Fools’ Day articles about France and Italy that are also about the gratuitous second Great Recession (in the core) and the second Great Depression (in Spain, Italy, and Greece) inflicted by the troika’s infamous austerity dogmas.  This article discusses one sentence from last night’s NYT piece that notes the position on deflation of the head of the European Central Bank (Mario Draghi).  The NYT article misses the significance of the passage.  I show how the passage, particularly when read in conjunction with quotations from Draghi’s fellow troika-trolls in the articles about France and Italy, reveals the troika’s fanatical devotion to failed dogmas and the clueless nature of U.S. financial journalists covering the eurozone who continue to treat the trolls like savants.

Continue reading

Deflation Dementia

By William K. Black

There must be some café in Brussels where all the most inept U.S. financial journalists meet with the troika-trolls to get their take on eurozone deflation.  Regular readers know that I am a strong critic of much of what passes for financial journalism, but there are special qualities to the U.S. coverage of the topic of eurozone deflation.  It is so homogenous and its logic is so internally inconsistent that it is breathtaking that so many journalists can repeat the same demented “logic” no matter how many times we explain that it is facially nonsensical.

The latest example of this genre is an AP story that has already been reproduced by elite media without even a scintilla of scrutiny.  Here’s how the AP begins its tale.

Continue reading

An Economist in Ecuador Gives “William Blake” (sic) a Quiz

By William K. Black

Dr. Pablo Lucio Paredes, an economist from Ecuador who served as Planning Minister implementing the Washington Consensus in the disastrous run-up to Ecuador’s 1999 financial crisis has responded to a presentation I made at FLACSO in Quito, Ecuador by publicly announcing a quiz about economics he would like to administer to “William Blake.”  It is easy to spell foreign names incorrectly.  I am happy that the quality of my presentation reminded Paredes of William Blake.  Here is the link to my talk.

Paredes plans to be the grader of his quiz.  The tone of his “letter” to “Blake” makes it clear that he will declare I have failed his test.  He has already provided his conclusion: that I only presented because of my desire to issue “propaganda.”

Continue reading

Hoy, a Newspaper in Ecuador, Wants Us to Know How Much It Despises the People of Ecuador

By William K. Black

One of the many pleasures that life offers is seeing your critics prove your point.  I got to see this dynamic first hand in Ecuador when I was interviewed by Roberto Aguilar, described as the “Content Editor” of HoyAguilar’s column, which seethes with hostility and disdain, unintentionally proves the thesis of my talk.

This first installment responding to Aguilar will discuss only the most important points.  I was confused by Aguilar’s column the first few times I read it.  His column is so angry that I wondered what terrible thing I said that caused him such pain.  I focused too much in these early readings on his ad hominem attacks on my looks, my inability to speak Spanish, and my non-elite nature because I teach in “Kansas” (sic) (“profesor de Kansas”).  Aguilar is unable to speak English and does not understand the U.S. system of federalism or he would not write that the University of Missouri is in the state of Kansas rather than the state of Missouri.

Continue reading

NEP’s Bill Black speaks at FLACSO about Ecuador’s Miracle

For our Spanish speaking friends. While Bill Black speaks in English, the Spanish language translator tends to swamp Bill’s audio.

NEP’s Bill Black on GamaTV in Ecuador

NEP’s Bill Black is interviewed on GamaTV in Ecuador, 3/18/2014. Note: Interviewer speaks Spanish but a translator translates all questions to English.

The Most Dishonest Number in the World: LIBOR

By William K. Black

The FDIC has sued 16 of the largest banks in the world plus the British Bankers Association (BBA) alleging that they engaged in fraud and collusion to manipulate the London Inter-bank Offered Rate (LIBOR).  BBA called LIBOR “The most important number in the world.”

LIBOR is actually many numbers that depend on the currency and term (maturity) of the loan.  The collusion involved manipulating most of these rates.  A vast number of loans and derivatives are priced off of these “numbers.”  Estimates of the notional dollar amount of deals affected by the collusion range from $300-550 trillion in deals manipulated at any given time.  The LIBOR frauds began no later than 2005 and continued through 2011.

Continue reading

Risk managers should learn from the mistakes of others

Bill Black has just received unsolicited praise for his book about control fraud theory from one of the most credible sources possible.  Vincent Kaminski was Enron’s (honest and exceptionally skilled) top risk officer.  His positive, but ultimately futile, role at Enron is discussed in all the best books about that classic example of an accounting control fraud.  Kaminski has just written that:

“There is one particular book I wish I had read in the early days of my business career, which would have saved me and the firms I worked for a lot of money.

The book, entitled The best way to rob a bank is to own one: how corporate executives and politicians looted the S&L industry, was written by William Black, associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. It is based on his experience as a regulator of savings and loans (S&L) institutions during the S&L crisis of the 1980s and early 1990s. Within its pages, Black introduces the concept of ‘control fraud’ – effectively, a very simple recipe for great riches and limited civil and criminal liability.”

NEP thanks Energy.net and Risk.net for their kind permission to reprint the excerpt of Mr. Kaminksy’s post that was originally posted on 12 March 2014.