"History is a wonderful thing, if only it was true"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Banking Should be BORING

Books: John Cassidy's How Markets Fail - BusinessWeek:

"Cassidy agrees with free-market advocates that the market performs wonders, but he believes its reach is limited. In that spirit, he favors greater government regulation of the financial-services industry. Although he doesn't dwell much on practical ideas for reform, he argues that it's necessary to tame Wall Streetplus or minus now that financiers have learned they can privatize profits during good times and socialize losses in bad. He admires the changes that came out of the Great Depression, such as the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated banking from investment banking. Even if current legislators aren't willing to go that far, banks must be required to keep more capital on hand and be given limits on how much debt they can accumulate, he says. He considers the proposed Financial Product Safety Commission a sensible idea. 'The proper role of the financial sector is to support innovation and enterprise elsewhere in the economy,' he writes. 'But during the past 20 years or so, it has grown into Frankenstein's monster, lumbering around and causing chaos.'"

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