“Speculation: There’s a critique of the regulators and key decision makers during the crisis that invokes cultural capital and the idea that regulators are socialized with Wall Street in a way that it is difficult for them to exercise any type of power over them, to see their interests in conflict. I wonder if the same is true for the corporate sector. As the firm goes global, and as the white-collar workforce is broken by computerization and globalization, more and more elite corporate positions will be filled by those leaving Wall Street. (Has this already happened? Data/Studies?) If so, you’ll see an even more lucrative revolving door between corporate elites and financial elites. As such, any natural checks to financial sector power coming from the corporate market space is less likely to happen.”
“The lesson here is that if we want serious regulation of banks, we can’t trust it to be done by bank regulators. We’ve seen the Fed and the OCC time and time again bend over backwards to let the banks out of statutory requirements. We’ve seen this with inaction (HOEPA regs), with aggressive preemption (and OCC is back to its old tricks…).
And this isn’t just in the realm of consumer finance. This is also in the safety and soundness area. I’m not talking about stretched interpretations of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. I’m talking about affiliate transaction rules and Prompt Corrective Action, cornerstones of the safety-and-soundness regime. Saule Omarova has a great paper that shows how the Fed granted affiliate transaction waivers like a drunken sailor during the financial crisis. Those were rules that went back to 1932–33 as part of Glass-Steagal.
And remember Prompt Corrective Action? That was a response to all of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board’s screw ups during the S&L crisis (Who you say? There’s a reason the FHLBB doesn’t exist any more…). PCA is clear of a bunch of tripwires as you can get. The whole point was to make sure that the bank regulators regulated, not coddled. But Bernanke announced that he was suspending PCA for the banks during the financial crisis. Only after the stress tests cleared the big banks did PCA get applied to the small banks, and with a vengance. What a sorry state of the world we live in where the bank regulators are the last people we can trust to actually regulate the banks. ”
“Much of the modernization that Marx triumphed was a victory of profit-makers over rent-holders. What Hardt argues is that, as the economy becomes more and more about information, the crucial ends of capital holders is to take things that could belong to the commons and instead appropriate them as property rights and sell them off. The implies a prioritization of rent-holders over profit-makers in terms of power over the economy (also implying a regression back from the future that Marx thought would come after profit-makers – take that Hegelian Marxism!).
If we look at some of the major economic battles taking place, they are over patents, how the risks and rewards of large, systemically important public-utility style financial institutions are distributed and who gets to control the residual over the delegated ends of the government with the mad rush for the privatization of government resources and responsibilities. These are all, in some way, about rents. And the battle over these will determine a lot about who gains in the future of the economy.
As such, they are the only place where the financial sector and the real economy fight it out.”