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ECONOMICS AND ESOTERICA FOR A NEW PARADIGM

Archive for March 16th, 2009

Banking on it

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From The Daily Reckoning, Jan 2009

WE DO NOT REJECT the ‘bankers are stupid’ hypothesis completely; we simply add an important nuance: they are not stupid permanently; they are – like the rest of us – only stupid episodically.

Among the queerest financial stories of the last week was the proposal to create a ‘bad bank.’ It hardly seemed necessary. There were already dozens of them. The idea is to transfer all the sins of the bubble era to the ‘bad bank’ – funded with public money. Then, the bad bank will be crucified so that the rest of us can have life, and have it more abundantly. We first saw the idea floated in the pages of the New York Times last week. Now, it has made its way to the Financial Times in London, gaining favor as the measure of sin increases. The Sun says British taxpayers are on the hook for as much as 2 trillion pounds. In America, the bankers face $3.5 trillion in losses, says Mr. Roubini.

But if the ‘bad bank’ idea could work, why not create a super baaaddd bank? We could use it to get rid of all our mistakes. Writers could unload their bad novels. Businessmen could sweep their errors under its broad carpet. What the heck, let people get out of bad marriages without penalty; the super baaaddd bank could pay the alimony and divorce costs.

The hitch with the bad bank idea is so obvious even a banker could spot it. If the cost of mistakes is reduced, people might make more of them. Like the rest of us, bankers are neither good nor bad, but subject to influence. Unlike metallurgy or particle physics, banking does not have a rising learning curve. It’s not science. Instead, it’s more like love and gambling…with a circular learning pattern. They learn…and then they forget. They get carried away in the boom upswing; then they get whacked when it turns down.

So let them have a good beating. It will give them of a lesson that will last a lifetime… and give the next generation a solid banking sector.

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Written by aurick

16/03/2009 at 11:12 pm

Posted in Banking, Financial

Tagged with ,