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O mito da desregulação financeira

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 15.12.11

Aconselha-se vivamente a leitura deste artigo e deste paper, ambos datados de 2009, sobre um mito papagueado por muita gente.

 

Anthony Randazzo:

 

«Given all the talk of deregulation, you would expect to find dozens of deregulating laws put in place over the past few years. Surprisingly, there have only been three major deregulatory actions in the past 30 years. Ultimately, the data points to bad regulation as complicit in the creation of the financial crisis, not deregulation.»

 

(...)

 

Had mark-to-market regulations been more flexible banks would have had more time to raise capital and sell assets. Had Wall Street firms not seen Washington as a lender of last resort that would bail out investments gone awry, they would have managed their risk better. Had capital reserve ratios been higher banks and investment institutions would have had more liquidity when prices dropped (though some firms, like AIG, simply became insolvent and wouldn't have been saved by higher reserves). Or, if qualified special purpose entities—an off-balance sheet accounting method—had required more transparency, banks would have had to keep more risky mortgages on their books, subject to reserve requirements.

 

Indeed, even if these three deregulations had no caveats explaining away their supposed link to the current financial crisis, they would still hardly constitute a historical trend. In contrast, historical periods of high regulation have proven decidedly unfavorable. Financial sector regulation during the 1970s was much heavier than today, and that did not prevent stagflation, with unemployment reaching nine percent in May 1975 and inflation nearly topping 14 percent.

 

Similarly, Europe currently boasts some of the world's tightest financial sector regulations, and its banks have suffered just as much, if not more than American banks in this recession. European banks made the same bad bets, the same poor investments, and the same over-leveraged mistakes—despite more regulation and government oversight.

 

However, the answer is not increased layers of government oversight. Giving regulators increased oversight of hedge funds, forcing the standardization of derivatives, or creating a systemic risk council will cause more harm than any good. Neither will expanding the Fed's powers ex post facto. Richard Fisher, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, told the Wall Street Journal last month that regulators had enough authority to prevent a crisis. They simply failed to do so.

 

A far more prudential regulatory response is to fix broken rules—like the government has done with mark-to-market—and to have regulating agencies do a better job of oversight for 21st Century financial products. In a world of continually innovative investment strategies, flexible regulation from a loose government hand will prove most beneficial to a sustainable economy. The worst thing Washington could do is buy into the false history of phony deregulation and create more oppressive rules and stifling agencies that extend our economic struggles.»

 

 

Peter J. Wallison:

 

«The causes of the financial crisis remain a mystery for many people, but certain causes can apparently be excluded. The repeal of Glass-Steagall by GLBA is certainly one of these, since Glass-Steagall, as applied to banks, remains fully in effect. In addition, the fact that a major CDS player like Lehman Brothers could fail without any serious disturbance of the CDS market, any serious losses to its counterparties, or any serious losses to those firms that had guaranteed Lehman’s own obligations, suggests that CDS are far less dangerous to the financial system than they are made out to be. Finally, efforts to blame the huge number of subprime and Alt-A mortgages in our economy on unregulated mortgage brokers must fail when it becomes clear that the dominant role in creating the demand—and supplying the funds—for these deficient loans was the federal government.»

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