April 07, 2017

Politifact, Snopes, AFP, BFMTV, L’Express, Le Monde and Correctiv. Please check this fact for us! Pro-bono of course.

Sir, Madhumita Murgia reports “Facebook plans to pay fact-checkers to monitor news on its platforms in response to sustained criticism that it has not been doing enough to crack down on fake stories... So far, it has formed partnerships with third parties such as Politifact, Snopes, AFP, BFMTV, L’Express, Le Monde and Correctiv. “Facebook fights back against fake news” April 7.

Do I have a fact checking for these organizations to do? I mean pro bono, I am no Facebook.

Current bank regulators, the Basel Committee, in order to set the capital requirements for banks, so that we can all feel calm about the stability of our banking system, have for instance risk weighted those rated AAA to AA with 20%, and those rated below BB- with 150%.

I am absolutely sure no bank crisis has detonated because of major bank exposures to something that was perceived ex ante as risky so as to merit something like a below BB- rating. I am absolutely sure that if a bank crisis has been caused by something connected to the perception of risks, that has been because of excessive exposures to something ex ante perceived as very safe, like a AAA rated borrower, but that ex post turned out to be very risky.

Could you check that fact for us? Risk-weighing this way means that what is rated AAA has now more and cheaper access to bank credit than was the norm in the absence of such regulations; and that what is rated below BB- has now less and more expensive access to bank credit than usual. And that makes no sense.

In terms of how Mark Twain put it, this signifies that the banker is now even more willing than usual to lend you the umbrella when the sun shines, and even faster than usual to want to take that umbrella back as soon as it looks it could rain.

While checking these facts, if you happen to meet a bank regulator, I would appreciate it if you could try to get some answers from him on the questions I link to below. Though I have tried for years, I have had no such luck.