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To recap, John Exter (a former Fed official, ironically) thought of the post-Bretton Woods financial system as an inverted pyramid resting on its apex, emphasizing its inherent instability compared with a pyramid resting on its base. Within the pyramid are layers representing different asset classes, from the most risky at the top down to the least risky at the bottom.
He foresaw a situation where capital would progressively flow from the top layers of the pyramid towards the bottom layers.
“…creditors in the debt pyramid will move down the pyramid out of the most illiquid debtors at the top of the pyramid…Creditors will try to get out of those weak debtors & go down the debt pyramid, to the very bottom.”
Below is his drawing of the inverted pyramid as he saw it in the late-1980s, when the riskiest assets were Savings & Loans (“thrifts”), Third World debt and (relevant to today) junk bonds, etc.