There are a few things that suddenly ignite my urge to blog again. This piece a couple of days ago by Dominique Strauss-Kahn urging nations to coordinate their approaches to financial regulation almost did it. Here is a little excerpt:
Imagine a financial holding company that owns a commercial bank, an investment bank, an insurer and a derivatives dealer. In good times, only the consolidated entity matters. In bad times, each subsidiary in trouble must be sorted out individually with rules and procedures that vary by the legal form of the subsidiary and that might work to the detriment of the consolidated entity, financial system and economy. Now imagine trying to deal with a conglomerate with 100 subsidiaries across numerous jurisdictions and you will be closer to the complex reality that was Lehman.
Sounds to me like a great argument for why we should not allow banks to turn into all those things and have 100 subsidiaries. Here is my argument against international coordination, and here is Stiglitz’s.