Basel, and spoiled bratsJanuary 7, 2010
This from the FT:
The Bank for International Settlements will gather top central bankers and financiers for a meeting in Basel this weekend amid rising concern about a resurgence of the “excessive risk-taking” that sparked the financial crisis.
In its invitation, the BIS cited concerns that “financial firms are returning to the aggressive behaviour that prevailed during the pre-crisis period”.
This should surprise precisely no-one. To all intents and purposes, the bankers got away with it: they’ve been bailed out, and if the bonuses symbolise one thing – other, I suppose, than a breathtaking indifference to public hatred – it’s a return to normality. The status quo ante has been restored, at great expense.
The finance industry won’t learn any lessons from any of this; worse yet, the incentives to take exactly the same ‘excessive risks’ that forced the crisis last time have all been reinforced: like the proverbial spoiled brat, if you think your doting parents will clean up after your mess, why would you do anything other than make yourself thoroughly obnoxious? Why not behave even more outrageously? The bankers can, and they probably will.