Leveraged Loans and Systemic Risk (Third of a Series)

What’s in a name? A lot, apparently, if it’s the name of a very large number.

According to a WSJ piece last week, as the world of big data grows, so does the problem of keeping track of it. In a decade or so, the amount of information will exceed 1 yottabytes. That’s 1 with 24 zeros after it. 1 with 27 zeros? Well, there’s the rub.

No official names exist for larger byte sizes. One scientist employed the classics to propose ronnabytes, and queccabytes for 1 with 30 zeros. After that, it’s Greek to us.

Though not as multi-zeroed, $1.2 trillion is a pretty large number. It’s also the size of the leveraged loan market. In the last five years, that market has doubled. Such stellar growth has been used as a case against it. If so much money is being poured into an asset class, the argument goes, there must be a bubble. Which could put the economy at risk.