The bubble was huge and we are mired in a terrific bust. Is this unprecedented? No. The basic patterns repeat throughout financial history.

"Leveraged financial institutions are inherently prone to crisis," as James Grant reminds us. A mere two decades ago, the 1980s bust brought us not only the collapse of the savings and loan industry, but the failure of 1,500 commercial banks and also the government bailout of the Farm Credit System.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.