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According to the Collins English Dictionary 10th Edition fraud can be defined as: "deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage".[1] In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent "discoveries", e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain
*As defined in Wikipedia

Sunday, December 23, 2012

FSB: Mark Carney's New "Baby"

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) is currently chaired by Mark Carney, a 13-year Goldman Sachs veteran, who is now Governor of the Bank of Canada and soon will become the Governor of the Bank of England.

FSB was created by G20 countries as an advisory group to promote international financial stability through shared information and international co-operation.  It has also been given the task to bring recommendations for "regulating" the Shadow Banking System.  Let's look at that that word "stability."  According to James Galbraith, the search for stability will inherently bring instability of the financial system (See videos here).  So are we doomed when the cure for the financial crisis brought to us by instability and corruption is to seek more stability via the FSB without dealing with the predation that caused it?

Some  recommendations that have been put forth for preventing another financial crisis include that the TBTF banks be broken up so that investment is made separate from commercial deposits; that the banks be closely regulated by those who are not part of the banking system itself; and that criminal prosecutions be brought against all executives that defrauded the public through CDOs and CDS before the 2008 meltdown.

Let's see what words are used by the FSB to tell their side of the "story."  As far as I can tell, the FSB ignores the above recommendations:  the TBTF (Too Big to Fail) becomes SIFI (systemically important financial institutions); the banks jealously guard their present large size in order to remain competitive (even if they are insolvent); and everyone has overlooked prosecution of any of the executives responsible for the fraud that accelerated the financial collapse. 

We are not off to a good start.

Is it possible that the FSB will only appear to make regulations and to appear to supervise while doing neither?  What is really being done to dismantle the predator state that has allowed banks to nationalize (capture) the government to do their bidding rather than the governments  nationalizing rogue and insolvent banks in order to do the public bidding?  Will we have more speculation that turns into Ponzi which will again collapse the system because the Capitalistic process is intrinsically an unstable one, as Galbraith states?
James Galbraith:  How financial stability creates instability
By Edward Harrison - Credit Writedowns

. . . James Galbraith talks about the Hyman Minsky concept of the instability of stability. This concept is fundamental to the behavioural psychology behind capitalist systems.  This is a case where stability invites greater risk-taking and eventually creates instability. He sees the latest episode of financial crisis as a Minsky moment predicated on ‘Ponzi’-style debt pyramiding that is the end game in the cycle of stability to instability as it was post-1929.

My view is that a lack of regulatory oversight allowed the system to veer away from macro-prudential finance. This is not a case of Madoff-style fraud with everyone in finance cooking up schemes to defraud homeowners. Yes, these cases of predatory lending existed. However, I see the systemic risk as more pertinent.

Systemically-speaking, the Ponzi phase is one of risky behaviour crowding out prudent behaviour in a world free of regulatory controls. If risky behaviour is temporarily rewarded with profit and this temporary period is long enough, then risky behaviour wins and drives out good behaviour. 
Read the article and see the videos here


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