The current international financial crisis is part of a perennial pattern. Today’s events echo earlier big international financial crises that were triggered by events in the U.S. financial system. Examples include the crises of 1857 1893 1907 and 1929–33. This crisis has many similarities to those of the past but also some important modern twists. The crisis started in the United States with the collapse of the subprime mortgage market in early 2007 and the end of a major housing boom. It occurred following two years of rising policy interest rates. Its causes include major changes in regulation lax oversight relaxation of normal standards of prudent lending and a prolonged period of abnormally low interest rates. Defaults on mortgages spread to investment banks and commercial banks in the United States and across the world via an elaborate network of derivatives.
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