For months now I have witnessed various economists lay out their version of the housing collapse and financial crisis. For whatever reason, none seemed to be able to wrap their heads around all of the pieces that I was seeing.
However, my friend Vincent Benard, a French economist and President of the "Institut Hayek", has now done that, and this time it is in English! Link here.
A general outline:
Ignition - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac*, Fed Reserve's Low Interest Rates**
Amplification - Land Use Regulations
Propagation - Federal Reserve system encourages banks to be highly leveraged, Derivatives were poorly priced and risk misunderstood
Punchline - "Big Government is the culprit"
* - Vincent sent me some links after I poo-pooed Fannie and Freddie here. I have since softened my stance and believe that the two government subsidized organizations have more influence than my previous impressions.
** - I railed against this theory here, but again I have softened my stance (without writing about it) that it does have a significant impact, it is just not a primary cause.