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The Final Word by Jim Thompson
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Stock Markets worldwide have had a tumultuous time over the last three or four weeks. There seems to be two sources of this: emerging markets' transparency and the U.S. home mortgage market.

I, and professionals much smarter than me, tend to agree: worry about transparency in emerging markets, do not worry about the U.S. home mortgage market. The percentage of underperforming loans in the U.S. home mortgage market, while high by historic standards, is still a small number compared to the overall economy.

Transparency in emerging markets, however, is another matter. If investors lose faith in the numbers put forth by companies, or even, in some cases, by countries, a very difficult time will develop. The worldwide economy depends on faith—faith that markets and companies will do what they say they will do. When that stops, disaster will strike.


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