Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Western world is being brought to its knees by mad bank regulators

The Western world is the result of risk-taking in all shapes and forms… “God make us daring!” ends one of the psalms sung in its churches… and we honor the successful and feel for the unsuccessful. 

But regulators, concerned only with bank failures, decided on capital requirements for banks based on perceived risk. And with these they gave the banks additional incentives to embrace lending to those perceived as “not-risky”, like the triple-A rated and “infallible” sovereigns, and to further avoid the “risky”, like the small business and entrepreneurs. And with this they stuck a dagger in the very soul of the Western world. 

And the dagger proved also to be more than useless for its initial purpose. Since it is precisely when banks embrace too much something that is perceived as absolutely not risky, that they fail en masse, the regulators doomed the world to this the mother of all systemic bank crises. 

The survival of the Western world now needs to begin by rescuing the possibilities of its risky risk-takers to take the risks we depend upon as a society, and that requires to allow the “risky” to compete for bank credit without regulators discriminating against them. 

And that begins by firing the nannies in the Basel Committee and in the Financial Stability Board, and renaming the latter immediately the Financial Functionability Board so that the regulators do not forget what they are there for.