May 27, 2009

Yes, let’s put a damper on size!

Sir John Kay is of course right in “Why ‘too big to fail’ is too much for us to take.” May 27.

In May 2003 at a Risk Management Workshop for Regulators at the World Bank, as an Executive Director, I said: “A regulation that regulates less, but is more active and trigger-happy, and treats a bank failure as something normal, as it should be, could be a much more effective regulation. The avoidance of a crisis, by any means, might strangely lead us to the one and only bank, therefore setting us up for the mother of all moral hazards—just to proceed later to the mother of all bank crises.

Knowing that the larger they are, the harder they fall, if I were regulator, I would be thinking about a progressive tax on size.”