June 16, 2015

The hard left in Greece should shut up. Unless absolute fools, it was communist bank regulators who took Greece down.

Sir, Gideon Rachman, as one of the possible games Greeks are playing writes: “Syriza is a coalition party and the hard left of the party is likely to split off if Mr Tsipras is seen to accept austerity in return for a new agreement with Greece’s creditors”, “Four games the Greeks may be playing” June 16.

Bank regulators have decided that banks need to hold absolute minimum capital when lending to governments (or sovereigns as these like to be called) when compared to what they are required to hold when lending to for instance SMEs. With that they allow banks to earn much higher risk adjusted returns on equity when lending to governments than when lending to the other deemed risky.

And with that regulators set up the trap that guaranteed that governments would, sooner or later, become over-indebted… and one of the first one to fall hard in that trap was Greece.

Since those capital requirements also imply that regulators believe that government bureaucrats can use bank credit more efficiently than for instance the SMEs, this has to mean that the regulators are either absolutely foolish statist technocrats… or hardline communists.

And so, if I was Mr Tsipras, I would be very careful about furthering relations with the hard left… who knows what other tragedies might come out of it.

Sir, whether current bank regulators are fools or communists, Greece, and the Western World at large, need to get rid of them... urgently.