By Johan Norberg – Every politician, central bank, and regulator in the developed world spent 2008 and 2009 saying, “This must never happen again.” “This” was the financial meltdown that almost took down the world economy. They differed in their proposed solutions but held one demand in common: Banks must never again take the kind of highly leveraged risks in exotic securities that were widespread at the tail end of the housing bubble.
In the last chapter of my 2009 book Financial Fiasco, I wrote: “If the government’s capital requirements favor certain ways of holding assets, all banks will hold their assets in those ways, and they will all be struck by the same type of problems at the same time.…After each crisis, the authorities investigate what worked better and then force market players to conform to this ‘best practice.’ All these attempts to make the system as safe as possible really make it extremely sensitive to small blows and changes.”
The problem is not faulty valuations of particular securities; those have been wrong before, and they will be wrong again. The problem is the false conceit that regulators can protect financial markets from risk simply by deciding what is less risky, then getting everybody to march in that one direction. This approach just gives every bank the same weakness. If the defense is breached, everybody will tumble to the ground together. more> http://tinyurl.com/7hybuny
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- Debate Grows as Europe Fears Return of a Crisis, Nicholas Kulish, NYTimes
- How Germans Get The Euro Crisis Wrong, Matthew Yglesias, Slate
- The President Of Iceland Tells Us How He Had The Balls To Stand Up To Britain, Adam Taylor, Business Insider