September 20, 2017

Risk weighted capital requirements for banks expresses a venomous lack of confidence in the future

Sir, Martin Wolf writes “the financial crises that destroyed globalisation in the 1930s and damaged it after 2008 led to poverty, insecurity and anger. Such feelings are not conducive to the trust necessary for a healthy democracy. At the very least, democracy requires confidence that winners will not use their temporary power to destroy the losers. If trust disappears, politics becomes poisonous” “Capitalism and democracy are the odd couple” September 20.

No! Free flowing not encumbered by crony statism capitalism is about as democratic it can be.

But one of the pillars of current bank regulations is that when banks lend to or invest in something perceived as safe they are allowed to leverage more their equity than if that is done with something perceived as more risky. That means banks can obtain much higher risk adjusted returns on equity financing the safer present than financing the riskier future.

The 2008 crisis resulted from too much exposure against too little capital to “safe” AAA rated securities, or to sovereigns decreed safe, like Greece.

The minimal response of the real economy to all stimuli, like QEs, is in much the result of “risky” SMEs and entrepreneurs not having a competitive access to bank credit.

To top it up a zero risk-weight of governments with one of 100% of citizens has nothing to do with democracy and all to do with statism brought in through backdoors.

“Democracy says all citizens have a voice; capitalism gives the rich by far the loudest.” Indeed but self appointed besserwisser regulators gave “the safe” more voice than “the risky.”

Wolf’s article ends with “After the crisis, hostility to free-flowing global finance is strong on both right and left”.

Mr. Wolf, that hostility was preceded, and caused, by that insane regulatory hostility against free-flowing bank credit, about which you have decided to keep mum on.