March 21, 2018

Bank regulators violated both the efficient markets hypothesis and the rational expectations assumptions.

Wolf writes: “David Vines and Samuel Wills explain… the core macroeconomic model rested on two critical assumptions: the efficient markets hypothesis and rational expectations”

Bank regulators, those who should rationally be more weary of the unexpected, by basing their capital requirements on what was perceived risky, that which bankers were assumed to manage efficiently and rationally, made efficient allocation of bank credit impossible, and so both those critical assumptions were violated.

Wolf writes: “We need also to understand the risks of crises and what to do about them. This is partly because crises are, as the Nobel-laureate Joseph Stiglitz notes, the most costly events”. 

I disagree entirely with this limited Monday morning quarterback view. To measure the real cost we have to measure the full boom and bust cycle. Having, like now, bank regulations that favor banks financing the “safer” present consumption (houses), over the “riskier” future production (entrepreneurs), is a certain way to minimize the returns from our current circle of life.

Wolf writes: “Doctors’ first response to a heart attack is, after all, not to tell the patient to go on a diet. That happens only after they have dealt with the attack itself.” 

True, but even more important then that, is to correctly diagnostic the illness. In this case, the doctors, the bank regulators, do not want the diagnosis of missregulation to occur, so they are perfectly happy with most of the world blaming bankers or arguing deregulation.

Wolf writes: “We may never understand how such complex systems as our economies— animated, as they are, by human desires and misunderstandings — actually function. This does not mean that attempting to improve understanding is a foolish exercise.”

This is precisely what I have been trying to do with thousands of letters to the Financial Times and Martin Wolf, looking to explain how incredibly faulty the current risk weighted capital requirements for banks are, only to be silenced by FT and classified as obsessive by Martin Wolf.

Yes Sir, I admit being obsessive about this all, especially since I know the future of my children and grandchildren are affected by bad regulations. But, in his keeping mum on all this, Wolf is just as obsessive, I believe though because of much less worthy motives.