August 22, 2013

Private innovation needs government help, but it also needs not to be blocked by regulators

Sir, of course nations need to be bold, and take risks, in order to have a better future. That is, or at least was, why we used to go to our churches and pray “God make us daring!

And so of course most of us would wholeheartedly support Marianna Mazzucato’s call for more government financed basic research; especially if this resulted from redirecting to it other governmental waste; and this even though we suspect the argument will, as usual, be exploited by those who 
just want to increase taxes, “Why private innovation needs government help”, August 22.

But, that said, the fact is that currently, if a bank lends directly to a innovation project, like the failed solar power company Solyndra in the US, then it is required to hold about 8 percent in capital, but, if it instead lends that money to the government, so that a bureaucrat can relend it to a Solyndra, then it has to hold no risk-weighted capital... which skews all too much in favor of the government.

I do understand the importance of Mazzucato´s call, but, frankly, to me, it is of secondary importance when considered in relation to the fact that bank regulators, with their risk-weighted capital requirements, are effectively castrating our banks, making them sing in fAAAlsetto.