September 14, 2009

But be careful of not adding to the confusion

Sir it sounds so utmost reasonable what Joseph Stiglitz mentions in “Towards a better measure of well-being” September 14 that I guess no one would, in principle, argue anything different. That said, there is clearly room for a warning, especially with the recent evidence provided by the crisis, on what can happen when someone arbitrarily plays around with the numbers.

The regulators fed up with adding AAapples with Bbbananas as fruits decided to give the first a risk-weight of 20 percent and the latter one of 100 percent when calculating the capital requirements of the banks and we ended up with such a confused world that most experts, FT, included had no idea of what bank leverages they were talking about, in fact most still don’t know.

And so whatever we do to measure what we want better, and a lot of improvements are indeed needed in this area, let us see that we just do not add to that confusion the politicians love to hide behind.