From Baseline Scenario:
The guiding myth underpinning the reconstruction of our dangerous banking system is: Financial innovation as-we-know-it is valuable and must be preserved. Anyone opposed to this approach is a populist, with or without a pitchfork.
Single-handedly, Paul Volcker has exploded this myth. Responding to a Wall Street insiders‘ Future of Finance “report“, he was quoted in the WSJ yesterday as saying: “Wake up gentlemen. I can only say that your response is inadequate.”
Volcker has three main points, with which we whole-heartedly agree:
- “[Financial engineering] moves around the rents in the financial system, but not only this, as it seems to have vastly increased them.”
- “I have found very little evidence that vast amounts of innovation in financial markets in recent years have had a visible effect on the productivity of the economy”
and most important:
3. “I am probably going to win in the end”.
Volcker wants tough constraints on banks and their activities, separating the payments system – which must be protected and therefore tightly regulated – from other “extraneous” functions, which includes trading and managing money....MORE