Quote of the Day: The Financial Doomsday Machine

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From noted pinko Martin Wolf, after observing that the real cost of the recent financial meltdown is far more than official estimates:

Financial systems are important servants of the economy, but poor masters. A large part of the activity of the financial sector seems to be a machine to transfer income and wealth from outsiders to insiders, while increasing the fragility of the economy as a whole. Given the extent of the government-induced distortions in the system, even the fiercest free marketeer should accept this.

Italics mine. So what to do? “There are two broad approaches now under discussion. The official one is to make something roughly like the present system far safer, by raising capital and liquidity requirements, moving derivatives on to exchanges and enforcing prudential regulation. The alternative is structural reform. Which is the least bad option? I plan to address that issue next week.” Betcha he votes for structural reform.

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