December 05, 2011

We were thrown back into the Dark Age... by the Basel Committee

Sir, Tony Jackson’s “Why talk of a coming Dark Age is a touch overdone”, December 5, reminded me of Peter L. Bernstein who in Against the Gods (John Wiley & Sons, 1996) wrote that the boundary between the modern times and the past is the mastery of risk, since for those who believe that everything was in God’s hands, risk management, probability, and statistics, must have seemed quite irrelevant. 

Ironically, we might now be thrown back into the Dark Ages, because of bank regulators who thought themselves Gods, and assigned minimal or even zero percent risk weights, those used when determining the capital requirements for banks, to what they thought were the infallible, the triple-A rated and the solid sovereigns.