Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Joker on the Basel Committee

I can hear now the free market answering a confounded citizen by describing the bank regulators with the same words the Joker used in the movie The Dark Knight, 2008. "You know, they're schemers. Schemers trying to control their worlds. I'm not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are. So, when I say that … was nothing personal, you know that I'm telling the truth. It's the schemers that put you where you are. I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few…" AAA rated collateralized debt obligations and some 0% risk weighting of sovereigns

When I think of a small group of nerds in Basel, thinking themselves capable of exorcizing risks out of banking, for ever, by just cooking up a formula of minimum capital requirements for banks based on some vaguely defined risks of default; and thereafter creating a risk information oligopoly empowering the credit rating agencies, and which all doomed, sooner or later, to take the world over a precipice of systemic risks; like what happened with the lousily awarded mortgages to the subprime sector, or to Greece when European central bankers assigned it a 0% risk weight and doomed it to excessive public debt... I cannot but feel deep concern when I hear about giving even more advanced powers to the schemers.

PS. Here is an updated aide-mémoire on some of the many mistakes with the risk weighted capital requirements for banks.