Michael Pettis, Senior Fellow, Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy


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Michael Pettis is no stranger to episodes of financial crisis. Trading through multiple Latin American debt crises in the 1980’s, the Southeast Asia currency debacle in 1997 and, in its aftermath, the capital flight that engulfed Brazil, Michael has developed a rigorous framework for the how and why of these disruption events. Central to his approach is Hyman Minsky’s focus on the balance sheet and the relationship between assets and liabilities both for individual entities and across the system. Driving financial fragility, in Michael’s rendering, is a specific type of mismatch in which the payments on the liability side are vulnerable to sharply increasing when conditions become less favorable. Our conversation considers these events in the context of China, a country that Michael moved to in 2002 and has become a renowned expert on. Seeing China on an unsustainable debt path as early as 2007, Michael argues that the conditions for financial crisis are less obvious given the closed nature of the Chinese banking system and the powerful ability of the regulators to be able to force the creditors to restructure. Michael has plenty to share on a number of other important topics including MMT and his recent, important book, “Trade Wars are Class Wars”, in which he lays out the impact of globalization on wages and the resulting shifting of political tides in the US and abroad. Please enjoy this episode of the Alpha Exchange, my discussion with Michael Pettis.

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