An Awful Anniversary Arrives on Wall Street

It's been 10 years since the collapse of Lehman and the start of the financial crisis
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2018 11:39 AM CDT
10 Years After Lehman, 4.8M Fewer Babies
Clerk Michael Hill puts his hand on his face in the Euro Dollar options trading pit at the CME Group in Chicago, on Sept. 16, 2008.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Saturday marks 10 years since the largest bankruptcy in American history, or what CNN calls "the most terrifying moment for business and the US economy since the Great Depression." It might feel like ancient history given today's surging economy. But the scars of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy filing run deep, even if the consequences are hard to encapsulate.

  • Fewer births: American women have had 4.8 million fewer babies than demographers expected since 2008, reports the BBC in a roundup of unexpected consequences. The site notes that those in their early 20s when the crisis hit also have less wealth and a lower rate of home ownership than those of earlier generations.
  • False impressions: "One of the most intriguing aspects of the 2007-09 financial crisis is how little understanding there is of what actually occurred," Barry Ritholtz writes at Bloomberg. Top on his list of 10 things people get wrong: they think Lehman's collapse caused the crisis. Lehman, though, was more of a symptom than a cause, even if the turmoil there "showed just how fragile and interconnected the entire system was," in the words of CNN.

  • When, not if: Arguing that lobbyists have slowly chipped away at 2010's meek reforms, the editorial board of USA Today says "a lack of action ensures that the next crisis is a matter of when, not if."
  • Concern in Norway: Quartz notes that a single trader in Norway just caused a "stunning default" that cost $133 million. The incident illustrates the vulnerabilities of systems set up to prevent such losses, and the "timing is also an eerie reminder of the risks that are still embedded in the financial system."
  • Still have deep pockets? You can nab a piece of Lehman Brothers history on eBay, per the Guardian. A pad of sticky notes printed for the bank’s 150-year anniversary in 2000 has a starting bid of $500.
(More Lehman Brothers stories.)

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