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Can Financial Markets be Controlled?

Can Financial Markets be Controlled?

Howard Davies

ISBN: 978-0-745-69645-4

Dec 2015, Polity

136 pages

$64.95

Description

The Global Financial Crisis overturned decades of received wisdom on how financial markets work, and how best to keep them in check. Since then a wave of reform and re-regulation has crashed over banks and markets. Financial firms are regulated as never before.
 
But have these measures been successful, and do they go far enough?  In this smart new polemic, former central banker and financial regulator, Howard Davies, responds with a resounding ‘no’. The problems at the heart of the financial crisis remain. There is still no effective co-ordination of international monetary policy.  The financial sector is still too big and, far from protecting the economy and the tax payer, recent government legislation is exposing both to even greater risk.
 
To address these key challenges, Davies offers a radical alternative manifesto of reforms to restore market discipline and create a safer economic future for us all.

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Prologue viii

Acknowledgements xv

1 Heading for a Fall 1

2 The Global Financial Crisis 22

3 Regulation and Reform 51

4 What More Should be Done? 75

Further Reading 110

Notes 116

"Howard Davies accomplishes three striking feats in this remarkable book. He makes common sense of the large and technical literature on financial regulation. He warns against complacency in terms that will make even the most jaded reader sit up and listen. And he does so in an entertaining way. Who knew that thinking about financial reform could be fun?"
Barry Eichengreen, University of California, Berkeley

"Nobody is better placed than Howard Davies to describe the evolution of the financial system during and after the crisis, and to answer the central question of whether financial markets can ever be controlled and future crises prevented."
David Smith, Economics Editor, The Sunday Times.

"Howard Davies brings three things which are all to rare to studies of the financial world - a complete understanding of how the system works; a healthy scepticism as to the motives and competences of its major actors; and an ability to write with clarity and wit. Read this for a scary analysis of how the tidal wave of reform is not enough to stop things going even more disastrously wrong next time, and what needs be done now to prevent this."
Anthony Hilton, Financial Editor Evening Standard

"As a former top regulator and as a board member and adviser to large financial institutions, no one is better qualified than Howard Davies to explain the causes of the global financial crisis and assess the reforms that have followed. His short well written book does both. His conclusion is a sobering one: despite complex and costly reforms, financial regulators have failed to address the structural forces that triggered the crisis."
Laura Tyson, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

"Howard Davies has written a lively and highly readable response to the crucial question "Can financial markets be controlled?" His answer combines insights into both the big picture drivers of instability and the details of the world’s imperfect policy response. An excellent primer on still unresolved issues, it rightly concludes that without further change the answer to the question might be no."
Adair Turner, Senior Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and former Chairman of the UK Financial Services Authority

"Howard Davies has produced an excellent read with an insightful analysis of the pre and post crisis world. Clearly and succinctly, the shift in power from the regulated to the regulators is explored. While the book contains many reasons to justify this, the chilling reality is also laid bare, as we now may have created a new equilibrium that is too complex and hence unstable. Perhaps we need not fear as the author also explores many new solutions in the search for a workable social contract between the authorities and the financial markets."
Gerard Lyons, chief economic advisor to The Mayor of London Boris Johnson