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Recalling the Celtic Tiger

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Edited By Eamon Maher, Eugene O'Brien and Brian Lucey

This book looks at various effects, symptoms and consequences of the period in Irish culture known as the Celtic Tiger. It will trace the critical pathway from boom to bust – and up to the current beginnings of a similar, smaller boom – through events, personalities and products. The short entries offer a sense of the lived experience of this seismic period in contemporary Irish society.

While clearly not all aspects of the period could realistically be covered, the book does contain essential information about the central actors, events, themes, and economic trends, which are discussed in a readable and accessible manner. Each entry is linked to the overall Celtic Tiger phenomenon and its immediate aftermath.

The book also provides a comprehensive account of what happened in this period and will be a factual resource for anyone anxious to discover information on the areas most commonly connected to it. All entries are written by experts in the area. The contributors include broadcasters, economists, cultural theorists, sociologists, literary critics, journalists, politicians and writers, each of whom brings particular insights to some aspect of the Celtic Tiger.

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Credit Default Swaps (Stephen Kinsella)

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Stephen Kinsella

Credit Default Swaps

A credit default swap (CDS) is a contract which operates very much like an insurance policy. CDS contracts are extremely complicated. They are opaque to most market participants, and that creates a problem. CDS’s exist for a wide variety of entities – government and corporate.

Say a government issues a bond. Many entities, for example companies and pension funds, purchase the government’s bond, thereby lending the government money. But if the government has a history of sovereign defaults – say, for example, Argentina – the entities want to make sure they don’t get burned if the government defaults. They buy a credit default swap from a third party. This third party agrees to pay the outstanding amount of the bond. The third party is often an insurance company, bank, or hedge fund. The swap seller collects premiums, just like a simple insurance company, for providing the swap. The buyer of the CDS enjoys protection from the loss caused by a default event, in return for paying the issuer of the CDS. Because a CDS itself has value until the term of the contract ends, it can also be traded. There are no exchanges for these trades, and it makes measuring the true value of the CDS market difficult, but not impossible.

CDS were unregulated until 2009. The market for CDS expanded rapidly during the 1990s. It then increased tenfold from 2000 to 2008, and after the global financial crisis, shrank....

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