Over the past decade, a lot of money has been printed. It was not printed by the U.S. Treasury but in the form of debt instruments by investment banks and others. These debt instruments (which were not subject to any regulation or oversight) became currency which was spent on commodities, stocks, bonds and real estate, including houses. Because this new currency was so plentiful, all of these things had their prices inflated to bubble levels. When a few of the debt instruments became subject to default, a wide range of debt came into doubt and the liquidity of this manufactured currency dried up – financial institutions became reluctant to recognize that it had the value previously assumed. The new currency was no longer working the way it had been and demand for the inflated items (commodities, houses, etc) began to fall.
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