Knowing Your Government: How Deregulation Is A Dangerous Tool

uncle-sam-1734507_960_720The years before the crisis saw a flood of irresponsible mortgage lending in America. Loans were doled out to “subprime” borrowers with poor credit histories who struggled to repay them.

These risky mortgages were passed on to financial engineers at the big banks, who turned them into supposedly low-risk securities by putting large numbers of them together in pools.

Pooling works when the risks of each loan are uncorrelated. The big banks argued that the property markets in different American cities would rise and fall independently of one another. But this proved wrong.

Low interest rates created an incentive for banks, hedge funds and other investors to hunt for riskier assets that offered higher returns.

Deregulation is the process of removing or reducing state regulations, typically in the economic sphere. It is the undoing or repeal of governmental regulation of the economy.Opposition to deregulation may usually involve apprehension regarding environmental pollution and environmental quality standards (such as the removal of regulations on hazardous materials), financial uncertainty, and constraining monopolies.

Deregulation can be distinguished from privatization, where privatization can be seen as taking state-owned service providers into the private sector.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan campaigned on the promise of rolling back environmental regulations. His devotion to the economic beliefs of Milton Friedman led him to promote the deregulation of finance, agriculture, and transportation. A series of substantial enactments were needed to work out the process of encouraging competition in transportation.

The financial sector in the U.S. has evolved a great deal in recent decades, during which there have been some regulatory changes and the creation of new financial products such as the securitization of loan obligations of various sorts and credit default swaps.

Among the most important of the regulatory changes was the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act in 1980, which repealed the parts of the Glass–Steagall Act regarding interest rate regulation via retail banking. The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 repealed part of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933, removing barriers in the market among banking companies, securities companies and insurance companies that prohibited any one institution from acting as any combination of an investment bank, a commercial bank, and an insurance company.

A few researchers have made an intriguing link between the decline in labour mobility and wider profit dispersion.Market power is supposed to be policed by competition agencies, but they have lost some of their vim, particularly in America, where competition cases are fought out in the courts. A landmark Supreme Court judgment in 2004 said monopoly profits were the just reward for innovation.

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