Demasiado grandes para vivir

NUEVA YORK – Una controversia global está en pleno furor: qué regulaciones se necesitan para restablecer la confianza en el sistema financiero y asegurar que no estalle una nueva crisis dentro de pocos años. Mervyn King, gobernador del Banco de Inglaterra, ha exigido restricciones a los tipos de actividades en las que se puedan involucrar los megabancos. El primer ministro británico, Gordon Brown, ruega que se hagan las cosas de otro modo: después de todo, el primer banco británico en caer –a un costo de unos 50.000 millones de dólares- fue Northern Rock, que se involucró en el negocio “sencillo” de los préstamos hipotecarios.

La implicancia de la observación de Brown es que este tipo de restricciones no son garantía de que no se produzca otra crisis; pero King tiene razón de exigir que se controle estrictamente a los bancos que son demasiado grandes para quebrar. En Estados Unidos, el Reino Unido y otras partes, los bancos grandes han sido responsables del grueso del costo que recayó sobre los contribuyentes. Estados Unidos ha permitido que 106 bancos más pequeños quebraran sólo este año. Los megabancos son los que presentan megacostos.

La crisis es el resultado de, por lo menos, ocho fracasos diferentes pero relacionados:

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