Debatterar Thomas Piketty med Leif Pagrotsky

Leif Pagrotsky, Katrine Kielos och jag diskuterar Thomas Pikettys nya bok i programmet Veckomagazinet.

Lång P.S

Katrine Kielos är förvånad att jag som Chicagoekonom kritiserar utvecklingen i finansvärlden. Det finns givetvis libertarianska dogmatiker på Chicago. Atmosfären i Chicago präglas samtidigt av en enorm respekt för rationalitet och faktadriven analys. Därför har Chicagoliberaler varit villiga att överge sina slutsatser, i varje fall när de är överbevisade av fakta och ställd mot väggen. Utdrag ur en New Yorker intervju med den nyligen bortgångne Gary Becker, näst Milton Friedman viktigaste företrädare för Chicagoskolan.

”I recall interviewing Milton Friedman, in 1998, I think, and he said he thought the stock market was in a bubble. The idea that Chicago economists don’t believe in bubbles—was that more Greenspan?

Absolutely. I think bubbles have been recognized. Certainly, Friedman and others, including myself, said there are phenomena that are hard to explain without thinking it’s a bubble.”…

”Do you think that Wall Street needs re-regulating?

Well, I do. I think some additional regulation is needed, and I’ve called for some. But I don’t think you can rely on regulators, because they fail along with the market. If we install rules for capital requirement that would work more or less automatically—I think there is a good case for that, particularly for larger institutions which we know we are going to bail out if they get into trouble.

I would have a differential requirement for bigger institutions, so they can’t get as big a multiple on their assets. Maybe derivatives markets—those are things I don’t feel very expert on, but I follow the literature a little bit, and I think some changes are needed”

”I never thought, even outside the financial sector, that there should be no regulation. There are externalities. There’s pollution. There are a lot of things you can do. In the education area, the government financing students, and all that. Those things go back a long time. So it was never zero regulation. It was just an observation that in many sectors regulation seemed to be throttling industry—like the airline industry, the trucking industry, all the stock-market regulations: prices were kept up. Nobody wants to go back to the time when you had a cartel and price-setting.”

”Chicago didn’t deny that there were externalities in the world. Chicago people were not anarchists. They always believed there was a significant role for government, and not simply in the obvious areas, like law and the military, and so on. In the educational area, take the vouchers system. It is government financed. There may be competition among providers, but it is government financed.”

”There are a lot of things that people got wrong, that I got wrong, and Chicago got wrong. You take derivatives and not fully understanding how the aggregate risk of derivatives operated. Systemic risk. I don’t think we understood that fully, either at Chicago or anywhere else…. Maybe some of the calls for deregulation of the financial sector went a little too far, and we should have required higher capital standards, but that was not just Chicago. Larry Summers, when he was at the Treasury, was opposed to that. It wasn’t only a Chicago view. You can go on. Global warming. Maybe initially at Chicago there was skepticism towards that. But the evidence got stronger and people accepted it was an important issue.”

But it hasn’t changed my fundamental view, and I think [the view of] a lot of people around here, that, on the whole, governments don’t manage things very well, and you have to be consistent about that.”