Thursday, 2 October 2008

Those banking problems

Last week there were chortles all around Europe. Those silly Anglo Saxons and their crazy free market capitalism. Look, see how their banks are falling over!

As Ambrose EP points out today, there's not quite so much laughing now.

By Monday, Mr Steinbr├╝ck was having to orchestrate Germany's biggest bank bail-out, putting together a €35 billion loan package to save Hypo Real Estate. By then Europe was "staring into the abyss," he admitted. Belgium faced worse. It had to nationalise Fortis (with Dutch help), a 300-year-old bastion of Flemish finance, followed a day later by a bail-out for Dexia (with French help).

Now it may well be that new and different regulations are needed in the finance industry. But that doesn't mean that we need more European style regulation. Sure, we've got to get through this mess first, but exactly what type of future regulation we need will be more apparent a little later.

For example, are us Anglo Saxon style economies going to get through this better than the more rigid Continental ones?

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