November 21, 2018

Bank regulators from developed countries kicked away the ladder of risk-taking for the developing ones

Sir, Mohamed El-Erian writes: “the global economy is losing momentum and the divergence between advanced economies is growing… the majority of developed economies are yet to adopt meaningful pro-growth measures”, “Faltering developed world economies raise the risks for equity investors” November 21

Sir, Friedrich List in “The National System of Political Economy” 1885[1]wrote that free trade was the means through which an already industrialized country “kicks away the ladder by which it has climbed up, in order to deprive others of the means of climbing up after it.” 

In a similar way I would argue that the Basel Committee, with its perceived credit risk weighted capital requirements for banks kicked away from the developing countries that ladder of risk-taking that had been the oxygen for helping to get the developed countries where they are.

In 2007 at the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Developing at the United Nations, New York, October 2007, I introduced a document titled“Are the Basel bank regulations good for development?

In it I tried to explain that prioritizing as it does bank lending to the safer present over that to the riskier future is not how a nation can develop.

But worse, the fact that the developed countries also promote these regulations means they are now reversing their development; and they will also have to confront especially horrible crises… those caused by especially excessive bank exposures to what is ex ante especially perceived as safe, but that ex post turn out risky, against especially little bank capital.


[1]List, F. 1885. The National System of Political Economy, translated by Sampson S. Lloyd from the original German published in 1841. London: Longmans, Green, and Company.