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What Does "Too Big To Fail" Mean?
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What Does "Too Big To Fail" Mean?:

 51 Tibetan Fox, Sat, 19th Feb '11 5:08:53 PM from Death Continent
Feels Good, Man
Yup. The good news is it gets less bad every time.
For the banks, or for the rest of the economy?
 
Welp, Redbeard is angry
Judging by what Tibetan Fox posted, the latter.

Considering the persistent high unemployment, lower wages, and all that, I'd disagree.
 
"Oh Jegus you have no idea. The nastier aspects of the New Deal (in particular, the National Recovery Administration) have been largely forgotten." - Tibetan Fox

I'm not even very familiar with the New Deal and I'm inclined to think it should be no surprise that it has some pretty nasty aspects. Despite FDR's reputation as a great president, the guy DID do some pretty terrible things. (Executive order 9066 for one thing.)

That was for WWII, not the New Deal.
 
 57 Tibetan Fox, Sat, 19th Feb '11 9:06:16 PM from Death Continent
Feels Good, Man
Indeed it was.

I'm not trying to say things aren't bad, Ivy. I'm saying that if we hadn't built on knowledge gained from experiences in the last couple of banking panics, it would be even worse.

Some bad things are an unavoidable side effect of good things. One of the reasons we keep having these periodic recessions and banking panics, even though we could indeed do away from them is we'd lose a lot of good stuff as well. A whole lot of businesses would lose the lines of credit they need to maintain a viable cash flow.

If you want to talk about unemployment and downward wage spirals, there's a path of real nastiness. For all the bastardry bankers engage in, a lot of us are dependent upon them, even if we don't quite understand to what extent.
Also known as Katz
Tibetan Fox:

Do you think part of the reason we went for 50 years without a major banking crash might have been because business and banking were so highly regulated before all the deregulation that began in the 80s?

Such as the non-FDIC-insured S&Ls that numerous scumballs used to steal people's money in the '80s.

Eric,

Only Sane Fox
Here's an idea: require all businesses over a certain size to make all the files on their computers publicly readable by anyone with an Internet connection the nanosecond the files are created or modified.

If you're too big for one person to manage, you're too big to have secrets.

edited 20th Feb '11 7:08:02 AM by Roxor

Accidental mistakes are forgivable, intentional ones are not.
scratching at .8, just hopin'
An extension on that: you know citizen's arrests? Allow them in cases of white-collar crime. In fact, allow the SEC to open cases to the public and allow anyone to gather prosecuting evidence. Encourage participation with old-fashioned bounty postings.

I'd like to see Wall Street's reaction when Anonymous goes after them.

edited 20th Feb '11 4:41:23 PM by RadicalTaoist

 62 Tibetan Fox, Sun, 20th Feb '11 4:25:50 PM from Death Continent
Feels Good, Man
@jeweleddragon. Kind of a complex question to answer, but that would have been a factor. Regulation does not come without cost, however. In particular, it tends to create operating costs and barriers to entry that unfairly privilege big incumbents. Solving every problem by throwing more regulation at it is a great way to create oligopolies and "Too big to fail" situations.

@Eric DVH. Yes, the Savings & Loan crisis was the last time the banking situation went to shit. In that case, ironically, it was due largely to a lot of small banks being run by people who didn't really know jack about banking.

@Roxor. I really hope you weren't being serious.

@Radical Taoist. Likewise. Mob justice is hardly going to do anything constructive.
 63 Radical Taoist, Sun, 20th Feb '11 4:42:25 PM from the #GUniverse
scratching at .8, just hopin'
On the contrary, it will make the cost of legally defending yourself with an Army of Lawyers much more difficult for executives who break the rules. Good for the lawyers, admittedly, but also easier for the Justice Department.
Fuck it. The regulations need to be in place, and their absence certainly isn't preventing monopolies from forming.
 
 65 Tibetan Fox, Sun, 20th Feb '11 5:07:12 PM from Death Continent
Feels Good, Man
Startups can't afford an Army of Lawyers. Bye bye startups!
 66 Radical Taoist, Sun, 20th Feb '11 5:47:04 PM from the #GUniverse
scratching at .8, just hopin'
Do startups pull enormous scams like those described earlier in the thread?
 67 Deboss, Sun, 20th Feb '11 6:06:29 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
You know what would be fun? Making it illegal to pay lawyers.
 68 Deboss, Sun, 20th Feb '11 6:09:52 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
You know what would be fun? Making it illegal to pay lawyers.
 69 Radical Taoist, Sun, 20th Feb '11 7:37:43 PM from the #GUniverse
scratching at .8, just hopin'
I'm reminded of an old Mad Magazine spoof of Back to the Future.
Doc: We've got to hurry! Your father was charged with murder in March 2025 after a 20-minute trial.
Marty: Wait, how did they resolve a murder trial in 20 minutes?
Doc: They've changed the legal system in the future - got rid of all the lawyers.
Marty: How do things work without any lawyers?
Doc: A lot better!

edited 20th Feb '11 7:41:54 PM by RadicalTaoist

Only Sane Fox
@Tibetan Fox: No, I wasn't joking. I also think the "no secrets" policy should be applied to governments.

@Radical Taoist: Excellent point about startups not pulling massive scams like big businesses do.

@Deboss: About the only way I can think of which could make that possible would be to nationalise the practice of law. Anyone other than the government department employing them who tries to pay them could be fined for attempting to bribe a government official.
Accidental mistakes are forgivable, intentional ones are not.
 71 Tibetan Fox, Mon, 21st Feb '11 5:01:57 AM from Death Continent
Feels Good, Man
Yeah, I think I'm done here.
 72 deathjavu, Tue, 22nd Feb '11 10:44:59 AM from The internet, obviously
This foreboding is fa...
...damn, I had some questions. Seems like an interesting discussion.

Government emergency intervention in the financial system is basically a Dangerous Forbidden Technique. Using it creates uncertainty, because it disturbs the status quo and has everyone asking "Well, what prior assumptions about how things work are going to be overturned next?". People invest more when they feel that assumptions on past behaviour and outcomes are likely to be accurate in predicting future behaviour. The more the government intervenes in an economy, the less certain it is that any given investment strategy is going to work and people start pulling their money out and hiding it under the proverbial mattress.

I agree with this, and it's completely valid. But you've ignored the more obvious solution to this problem: don't limit intervention to emergencies. If they had regular laws against certain dangerous business practices (and it's not like a lot of these cases aren't the same kinds of fraud over and over again, although there will always be new and exciting ways to commit fraud), laws that were actually enforced in a fairly consistent manner, there would be no uncertainty. Businesses would know what to expect: that the laws would be enforced, rather than the laws not being enforced as is status quo now. Sure this would require an initial period of change, but so would any change. And I don't think anyone can argue for "no change, ever", not in any realistic sense.

The best analogy I can find is that whenever you try to change the rules of financial regulation you're playing a game of Jenga. And you're advocating drawing out pieces that are very low on the pile. There really isn't a good time to do that.

Someone has to do it eventually. Jenga towers eventually run out of blocks to pull, though they usually collapse well before that point.

Ok, that was torturing the metaphor a bit. Basically put, financial regulation will change over time, and I don't see any particular reason to choose later over now. Yes, in the short term, such changes might damage the economy. It's a question of long term planning vs. short term gain, I think.

Most of the stuff you guys are talking about has already been tried a long time ago and was found to work extremely poorly compared to the sort of stuff being done now.
I thought the stuff that was tried a long time ago resulted in a bunch of laws being passed to prevent similar collapses in the future, laws that were then not really enforced after a while leading to similar collapses.

It's a depressingly short period of time before the next generation of Gordon Gecko wannabes will have forgotten all about it and start making the same mistakes. Birds fly, cats chase string and bankers simply cannot resist the temptation to shit in their own nest.

And the worst part is, they almost always rise to the top of the corporate ladder because their tactics bring in lots of profits...for a time.

Regulation does not come without cost, however. In particular, it tends to create operating costs and barriers to entry that unfairly privilege big incumbents. Solving every problem by throwing more regulation at it is a great way to create oligopolies and "Too big to fail" situations.

Do all regulations necessarily do this, however? Is this necessarily a bad thing, if the regulations are properly enforced? Maybe banks are an institution it makes more sense to have in larger, centralized but highly regulated units; much like power companies they provide an essential service with a large amount of infrastructure behind it, that almost need to be of a certain size to be of use/profitable.

Startups can't afford an Army of Lawyers. Bye bye startups!

That's a bit deceptive, we're only talking about regulating banks. Which means you're only talking about less startup banks, not start-ups in general.

And honestly, how many start-up banks are there, and how many of those don't get bought up fairly quickly by other banks?
Look, you can't make me speak in a logical, coherent, intelligent bananna.
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.
Total posts: 72
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