November 09, 2014

Tim Harford, where would Britain be if since Jane Austen’s days equity requirements for banks had been risk-weighted?

Sir I refer to Tim Harford’s "A passport to privilege" November 8. 

It is an extraordinary article that brings a new perspective to the important discussion on inequality. And Harford limits it clearly and adequately to “financial inequality” because, in terms of inequality of privileges, I have always thought of that much more a local issue so as to be comparable on a global scale. 

For example the even temporarily inequality of privileges I felt when young, and it was my brother’s birthday, and he got celebrated, was not much diminished by the fact I was given a consolation gift and I knew my own birthday was less than two months ago.

But that said, as usual, mono-thematically, let me return to my concerns about current bank regulations.

I suspect that the referenced FT personalities, Gillian Tett, Simon Kuper and Tim Harford himself, have incomes in a range comparable to that of Mr Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, and so let me ask them the following:

How much passport derived privilege do you think you would have today if Britain, during Jane Austen’s days had adopted bank regulations that were based on subsidizing bank lending to what then was perceived as absolutely safe… and with that creating a toll on bank lending to those perceived as risky”? Regulations that among others stipulated banks needed zero equity when lending to “Infallible” King George III :-)

Are you really not aware you are negating your children the rights to all that risk-taking that brought you to where you are today... passport-wise?