Look at this fascinating interactive graphic from the New York Times, about the shrinking and swelling of the major US financial firms. They may not have seen it coming, but boy can they see clearly in the rear-view mirror. (htp: Barry Ritholtz)
So, is all well again?
Denninger thinks not. To get back to where we were in 2000, either debt has to be slashed (this isn't the path chosen by the powers-that-be over the last couple of years) or GDP and incomes have to soar (how? Who are we suddenly going to sell loads more to?).
Given a choice of the impossible and the merely unpleasant, it looks as though there must be a large-scale default sometime - either of actual debt, or of current and/or future government-provided benefits (or both).
In the meantime, the monetary pumping may erode the dollar's value and cause a highly misleading leap in nominal stock prices. Like I said yesterday, I think we could be looking at a re-run of the mid-70s to 1982. I remember an old financial adviser colleague reminiscing about the stockmarket "boom" of 1974, but he didn't mention the inflationary context, which is what concerns Marc Faber - the fundamentals are still all wrong.