A Property Economics Explanation of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis

14 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2009

See all articles by Gunnar Heinsohn

Gunnar Heinsohn

University of Bremen

Frank Decker

The University of Sydney Law School

Ulf Heinsohn

Berlin School of Economics

Date Written: December 2008


This paper investigates some of the underlying drivers of the 2008 global financial crisis. It is argued that a functioning system requires sufficient property in form of bank capital to absorb losses (banks and central banks), collateral to secure loans (enterprises) and adequate levels of interest rates to compensate for the burdening of property in this process. Thus interest rates set too low cause severe imbalances and the availability of unimpaired property assets determines the creation of money and credit. Two key principles of central banking were breached before and during the crisis. Firstly, very low interest rates by the two largest central banks triggered the crisis by helping to create the subprime asset bubble. Secondly, the recent lowering of collateral standards and balance sheet expansion by the Federal Reserve are possibly ineffective and expensive central bank policy responses. It is shown that the underlying issue of the crisis - the solvency of banks - cannot be addressed by a central bank but requires the state acting as a "proprietor of last resort" who directly recapitalizes banks. It is suggested that significant government intervention in bank lending may be required to stop the crisis from further deteriorating.

Keywords: Financial crisis, subprime crisis, mortgage, money, monetary policy, property economics, central banking, nature of money, youth bulge, property

JEL Classification: E50, E58, N100, G21, G24, J11

Suggested Citation

Heinsohn, Gunnar and Decker, Frank and Heinsohn, Ulf, A Property Economics Explanation of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (December 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1331712 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1331712

Gunnar Heinsohn (Contact Author)

University of Bremen ( email )

Universitaetsallee GW I
Bremen, D-28334

Frank Decker

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

Ulf Heinsohn

Berlin School of Economics ( email )

Badensche Strasse 50-51
Berlin, D-10825

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