January 10, 2013

Like China, the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision censors the free speech of the market.

Sir, I agree with John Gapper’s “Censorship is making China look ridiculous” January 10.

But in that respect, I also need to remind you again, for the umpteenth time, that the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision also carries out a censorship, by means of their decree Basel II, which is equally or even more ridiculous, and, for the world at large, especially for the Western world, much more dangerous than China’s.

Basel´s censorship is clearly more subtle than China´s. Still, it includes giving to some officially designated agents, the credit rating agencies, special prerogatives by which they can influence the market, like allowing for sublime small capital requirements for bank when they engage “The Infallible”, while punishing, severely, with immensely larger capital requirements, those banks that dare lend to “The Risky”, those not favored by the regulatory establishment.

And if in China the consequences of their censorship are still to be seen, what Basel’s has caused already lies before our eyes: Preposterously large and dangerous exposures to what was ex-ante perceived as absolutely safe, and too small exposures to what is perceived as more risky, like loans to small and medium businesses and entrepreneurs.

And this Basel censorship has also our financial authorities flying blind, since they have no idea about what the real market rate for the sovereign debts would be in its absence.

And yet this Basel censorship is for all practical purposes ignored; which has led to it having been in many ways made even stricter with Basel III. Just as an example of it is all the silence of FT´s "without fear" journalists of FT.

Sir, I beg you, pardon my indiscretion, but could it really be that the journalists of FT are subject to something similar to what John Gapper describes the Chinese journalists to be suffering?