May 08, 2013

It was bank regulators who suffered the mother of all intellectual failures

Sir, John Kay writes that the left, were so horrified that a collapse of capitalism from its own global contradictions, might occur under their watch, that their only thought was to avert it by shoveling public money at the capitalists, “Sinister or silly, protest politicians are united in grievance” May 8. And Kay refers to that as an “intellectual failure”.

That is indeed true, but, as intellectual failures come, much worse was the one which preceded it, namely the regulatory theory that banks would be better off diverting their credits from what though perhaps productive was perceived as risky, and concentrate on earning high returns on their equity by giving credit to what was perceived as “absolutely safe”.

Capitalism might have contradictions but, allowing banks to leverage their equity 62.5 to 1 when lending for instance to Greece, but only 12.5 to 1 when lending for instance to a German medium sized business, has of course nothing to do with that.

In fact those regulations are more than stupid, they might in fact even signify a crime against humanity.