That about sums up the events of this past weekend, which saw the following events transpire:
- After failing to finagle a government bailout, Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH ) filed for bankruptcy protection.
- Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) spurned Lehman Brothers and instead agreed to acquire Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER ) .
- Insurer AIG (NYSE: AIG ) begged the Federal Reserve for as much as $40 billion of assistance.
This is bigger than either JPMorgan Chase's (NYSE: JPM ) buyout of Bear Stearns or the government bailout of Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM ) and Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE ) . Our colleague Bill Mann, in fact, has deemed this weekend's credit-crunch-inspired string of bailouts, buyouts, and bankruptcies "the biggest financial story of the past half century."
Bigger than the dot-com bust? Yep. Bigger than Black Monday in 1987? Yep. Bigger than the oil shock of the 1970s? Mmmhmm.
NYU economics professor Nouriel Roubini, George Soros, and the International Monetary Fund have all called the overall credit crisis the worst since the Great Depression.
Are you nervous yet?
As always, Fools, stay calm. The price of panic is high.
We've been through many financial crises together over the years, and we'll get through this one. As Bill told us, mark this down as an "accidental victory for capitalism." There's some cleansing going on in the markets. The dust will settle eventually. We don't know when, or who the next headline-maker will be.
We do know that Fools need to keep their patience and their sense of perspective. We'll be monitoring the news and providing our analysis on an ongoing basis. You can review all of our coverage of this climactic weekend below. Be sure to bookmark this page and come back for all the latest from Fool.com
First, some perspective from Bill Mann and our advisors
- Fool newsletter service advisors recommend patience and perspective: An Open Letter From The Motley Fool -- 9/16/2008
The U.S. government's intervention
- Morgan Housel on the late-breaking federal government plan: The Mother of All Mother of All Bailouts -- 9/19/2008
AIG's government bailout
- Andrew Sullivan explains AIG's glorious failure: AIG's Failure Is Much Bigger Than Enron -- 9/17/2008
- Morgan Housel breaks down the government bailout of AIG: The Fall of AIG -- 9/17/2008
Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy
- Alex Dumortier thinks Barclay got the good part of Lehman at a great price: Barclays Guts Lehman -- 9/17/2008
- Bill Barker, Bill Mann, and Rich Greifner distill one key lesson to draw from Lehman's demise: The Lesson We Can Learn From Lehman -- 9/16/2008
- A panel of Fool analysts talks about why ordinary investors should care about the failure of one Wall Street investment bank: Roundtable: Why You Should Care That Lehman Went Bust -- 9/15/2008
- Alex Dumortier explains the ramifications of Lehman's bankruptcy: Why Lehman's Bankruptcy Matters -- 9/15/2008
- Andrew Sullivan on the free market actually being free: Why Lehman's Failure Is the Best Outcome -- 9/15/2008
What this means for your finances
- Dan Caplinger examines what AIG's collapse means for retirees: Are Annuities at Risk? -- 9/15/2008
- Mac Greer asks a trio of Fool analysts to help sort out this week's events: Fool Video: Sorting Out the Market Madness -- 9/18/2009
- Bill Mann explains exactly what shareholders receive when a company files for bankruptcy: When Companies Go Bankrupt -- 9/15/2008
- Nate Weisshaar walks us through the credit crunch: Lehman, Liquidity, and You -- 9/16/2008
- David Meier gives a lesson on avoiding the next bubble: Big Bets Gone Bad -- 9/16/2008
- Morgan Housel gives his thoughts on the lack of a Fed rate cut: Bernanke Doesn't Budge -- 9/16/2008
The next companies to fail?
- Morgan Housel wonders what Washington Mutual will do next: What's Next for Wamu? -- 9/17/2008
- Alex Dumortier determines whether the mighty are falling: Has a Run on Goldman and Morgan Begun? -- 9/17/2008
- Morgan (Housel) on Morgan (Stanley)'s latest quarter: Morgan Stanley Dazzles, Sort Of -- 9/17/2008
- Alex Dumortier isn't impressed by the big banks' cooperation efforts: Wall Street's $70 Billion Facade -- 9/16/2008
- Morgan Housel assesses Goldman Sachs' tumultuous quarter: Goldman Feels the Heat -- 9/16/2008
- Morgan Housel looks at two companies sitting precariously right about now: Clock's Ticking for AIG, WaMu -- 9/15/2008
The Merrill Lynch/Bank of America deal
- Why is the market so humdrum about Bank of America's deal for Merrill? Alex Dumortier investigates: The BofA/Merrill Deal Won't Happen -- 9/16/2008
- Alex Dumortier breaks down Bank of America's buyout of Merrill Lynch: B of A Marries Merrill, Leaves Lehman -- 9/15/2008