"Des waerelds doen en doolen, is maar een mallemoolen,"

"Des waerelds doen en doolen, is maar een mallemoolen," engraving from Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid, 1720.

"The actions and designs of the world go round as if in a mill." South Sea bubble financial crisis.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Financial foundations of capitalisms

As it appears, we are all Chinese now, we might as well promote a new book:"Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China's Extraordinary Rise" by Carl E. Walter and Fraser J.T. Howie on the interplays between finance, law and economic growth in China. Even the brief Q&A with Carl Walter about his book on Economix shows that institutional paths always deviate from the Western blueprints. Now obviously when you decide to write a book about the fragility of the Chinese financial sector, you have to select what you will talk about and it's not surprising Walter and and Fraser do not mention norms, habits and the different cultural settings into which the Chinese financial sector is necessarily embedded. I would love to stumble across a book that takes these factors more into consideration when looking at financial structures. 

"China’s banks as modernizing financial institutions are less than 10 years old" says Walter. So had this young banking sector the time to pick up the specific norms on which sound banking practices are built ? The last generation of explanation for financial crisis highlights that we need more than just prudential regulations to avoid financial turmoils. I would guess these norms are close to what Krugman had in mind when he said Western financial systems slowly switch from "boring banking" to "fancy finance".

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