The Great Debate

A middle ground in the banking crisis

pauldanos– Paul Danos is the dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. The views expressed are his own. –

A major question in the government response to the banking crisis is choosing between the “evils” of nationalization of banks that would however provide stability, versus the “benefits” of saving of the private banks that would innovate and compete in a market system.

As the dean of the Tuck School of Business I’m privileged to speak with a wide range of economists, bankers, Wall Street executives and our own students, and what I’m interested in is finding an answer somewhere in the middle ground:

* First decide what major businesses absolutely need in banking services and then set up a ‘facility’ to assure that that those prime banking services will be available. This facility would initially be owned by the government but with an explicit goal of going to full private ownership as soon as feasible.

* Make that facility a separate legal entity from private banks.

* Let the private banks operate these “franchised” facility under close scrutiny.

Redefining the sacred in the banking rescue

James Saft Great Debate – James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Another week, another set of protestations that U.S. banks will remain in private hands, apparently almost regardless of the consequences.

It is clear that nationalization violates a sacred value for U.S. policymakers, or perhaps they believe it to be a sacred value held by voters. As we know from behavioral economics, when people are confronted by a conflict between material advantage and their ideas of the sacred, they tend to opt surprisingly often for the sacred.

Nationalization by autumn, bank on it

– James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

jimsaftcolumnLike it or not the United States will be forced to nationalize large swathes of its banking system by the time the leaves fall from the trees in Washington.

The tragedy is that we will have to wait that long and that the costs will mount.