Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A must read piece on big finance and big government

Luigi Zingales, a finance professor at the University of Chicago, has a brilliant piece "Capitalism After the Crisis." Zingales explains how the finance sector has grown in both size and political influence, grown to the point where he thinks it has become dangerously co-dependent with the federal government. He sees two possible paths: (1) genuine market-oriented reform of the financial sector that would shift risk away from taxpayers and back to executives and shareholders (in other words, an end to "too big to fail") or (2) federal policy supports the continued survival of big firms in the financial sector while regulating executive pay to appease populist outrage (but taxpayers still end up holding all the risks). This is the type of "big think" piece that economists do not write often enough. You may or may not agree, but you should take the arguments seriously.

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