November 28, 2014

Martin Wolf, stupidity is not "frighteningly near", it is already here, and it is well entrenched.

Sir, Martin Wolf, with respect to immigration, correctly argues that “the presence of hard-working and ambitious people speaking a multitude of languages and offering a diversity of culture, while fitting with the predominantly liberal culture of the UK, should surely be welcomed”, “Fear of immigration is no reason for Britain to leave Europe” November 28.

And Wolf rightly concludes “It would be folly to let a paroxysm of anxiety over immigration drive the debate on whether UK should stay in EU… unfortunately, that degree of stupidity seems frighteningly near”.

But, let me ask Martin Wolf, sort of for the umpteenth time: what’s the use of inviting immigrants who could provide much dynamism if at the same time, you are fighting against the number one source of dynamism, namely risk-taking?

The credit risk weighted capital requirements for banks, which provide banks with much more incentives to finance the “safer”, the old, the history, than the “riskier”, the new, the future, tells me stupidity has already arrived. And, observing how the debate ignores the distortions in credit allocation these regulation produce, I would venture that stupidity is firmly entrenched.