December 06, 2017

Some might see Donald Trump’s bankruptcies as a weakness, but others, especially in America, as a symbol of go-get-it strength.

Laura Noonan, Patrick Jenkins and Olaf Storbeck write: “Deutsche Bank has been one of Mr Trump’s longest-standing and most supportive lenders, extending him hundreds of millions of dollars in credit for real estate deals and other ventures despite his history of bankruptcies.” “Deutsche Bank hands over Trump files to Mueller probe of Russian influence” December 6.

Sir, the way it is phrased might reflect some profound cultural differences. Is it really “despite Trump’s history of bankruptcies”, or could it precisely because of it, that Deutsche Bank could be interested, as that would indicate business opportunities?

Let me quote the following from “The Wisdom of Finance” by Mihir A. Desai, 2017, Chapter Seven “Failing Forward”:

“Until 1800 [in America], borrowers who could not service their debts were moral failures. As a consequence, imprisonment was common for debtors…

Failure would be redefined away from moral failing or a sin and toward a more natural consequence of risk taking with the 1800 act. [The first bankruptcy law]… the new republic desperately needed risk takers, and punishing them so severely froze commerce in the late 1790. If the young country was to flourish, failure had to be redefined, and the moral stigma associated with it had to be lessened.”

Sir, after current regulators, with their risk weighted capital requirements, for soon three decades now, have exacerbated the normal risk aversion of our bankers… I would argue we currently are also in desperate need of risk takers. God make us daring!