Wednesday, April 12, 2017
On April 12, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of IMF gave a speech titled “Building a More Resilient and Inclusive Global Economy”
Mme Lagarde stated: “We have found that technology has been the major factor behind the relative decline of lower- and middle-skilled workers’ incomes in recent years, with trade contributing to a much lesser extent” So where was IMF with this argument during the recent walls against foreign workers debate? Jobs are of course important but is it not also time to start thinking about the need for decent and worthy unemployments?
Mme Lagarde also stated: “Financial stability requires that we complete the reform of global financial regulations. These rules—especially on bank capital, liquidity, and leverage” Hah! With capital requirements for banks that are especially low for what can cause bank crises, namely what’s perceived as safe? Like the ultra low risk weighted assets of the AAA rated securities and a sovereign like Greece? IMF has to be joking.
Mme Lagarde spoke about IMF’s efforts for “avoiding protectionist measures as well as distortive policies that give rise to competitive advantage.” So why then does IMF keep silence on capital requirements for banks that make it harder than it already is for those perceived as risky, to access bank credit, like the SMEs and entrepreneurs?
Mme Lagarde holds that “today’s policies should not disadvantage future generations, who would be left to pay for the imprudent actions of today’s generation.” Hold it there! The current imprudent risk adverse bank regulations that give banks incentives to stay away from financing the riskier future and just keep to refinancing the safer present, does precisely disadvantage future generations.
Mme Lagarde, let me assure you that the current Basel Committee’s bank regulations do not live up to any of the three principles proposed by the great Roman architect Vitruvius:
Durability: No! “May God defend me from my friends, I can defend myself from my enemies” Voltaire”.
Utility: No! “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for” John A Shedd.
Beauty: No! Besides perhaps delighting some anxious nannies that regulation raises no one’s spirits. God make us daring!