For Sale: A Sign of the Times

imageimage Ironically. as we still struggle to claw back the investments lost by the excesses of the so called good times, Lehman Bros sign is being auctioned at Christie’s next Wednesday in London. Collectors there will be able to bid for the plaque commemorating the opening of the Lehman Bros building in 2004 by Gordon Brown, who was then Britain’s finance minister.

There are also Lehman Brothers corporate signs, perfect for the bedroom wall of any trader who lost their job when this so called glamour bank fell of the perch and sent the world into bankruptcy in September 2008.

These are among millions of dollars’ worth of items being sold albeit now 2 years on, to help pay Lehman’s creditors. Christie’s expect to raise about ?2 million. More artworks from Lehman Brothers’ collection is being sold by Sotheby’s in New York this week.

The Lehman Bros Bank collapse was the largest bankruptcy filing in US history and triggered one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression. which extends through to now.

This failure was triggered by a liquidity shortfall in the United States banking system driven by  by greed driven sub prime lending policies for housing that overheated the domestic economy. That in turn caused loss of confidence and credit limitation by banks the world over that resulted in the collapse of many more financial institutions, and was followed by bailouts by national governments around the world.

This contributed to the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth estimated in the hundreds of trillions and a significant decline in economic activity with significant risks still remaining  for world economies into the the 2010–2012 periods.

At a micro level I find trying to make sense of all this is impossible so I need to get into the helicopter to take a loftier view. image This table and the charts to the left above show economic 2009 decline and 2010 re growths occurring as at Sep 12 2010

The US CIA Word Fact book provides one of the best views around. Another example is the House of Commons Library with this  example showing comparatives GDP (purchasing power parity) that as very useful economic indicator.

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