22 November 2009

Banks drift toward being part of the problem and not the solution

Repudiating the architects of the faux boom is a necessary but not sufficient condition for world economic recovery.

From Liberal Krugman, "Government officials, perhaps influenced by spending too much time with bankers, forgot that if you want to govern effectively you have retain the trust of the people. And by treating the financial industry — which got us into this mess in the first place — with kid gloves, they have squandered that trust."


To conservative Wolf, FT, "Over the past half century, UK bank capital has remained at between 3 per cent and 5 per cent of assets, these assets have risen tenfold, relative to GDP, and returns on equity have averaged 20 per cent. Such high returns, in an established industry, must mean either high barriers to entry or excessive risk-taking. The former are undesirable and the latter terrifying, particularly in view of the huge rise in the state’s exposure to the risks."


Buiter, FT, proposing auditing the ECB,

"A comprehensive independent audit of the Fed’s use of what is, in the final analysis, public money and therefore tax payers’ money is long overdue. This is a major victory for democracy and the public’s right to know what those to whom certain public functions have been delegated and entrusted have been doing with the taxpayers’ money.

What’s good for the Fed and for American democracy is equally important for the European Central Bank and European democracy or for the Bank of England and British democracy. It is time for a detailed and comprehensive independent audit of the ECB’s financial transactions since the beginning of the crisis. This should include a close examination of the precise terms and conditions, including valuations of illiquid collateral, on which liquidity support, including enhanced (credit) liquidity support has been made available to the Euro Area banks by the NCBs of the Eurosystem."


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