Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Just Don't See It

A commenter mentions to Megan McArdle that a Wall Street Journal article is very similar to her post on the same subject. That's true; McArdle often riffs on others' work instead of developing her own theories, but one must be fair. The WSJ author writes that Canadian banks benefited from staying out of sub-prime mortgages, heavy leveraging, and securities, and Megan doesn't. She has supported the creation of these securities and poo-poohed any major sub-prime crises. So really, the articles aren't that alike after all.

McArdle and the article's author also have very different writing styles. Mrs. Kravis:

Advocates of increased regulation of U.S. financial markets have concluded that more stringent rules governing leverage and capital ratios account for Canada's impressive performance. They champion such measures here. In a Toronto speech earlier this year about reforming the U.S. banking system, former Fed chairman and Obama administration adviser Paul Volcker said the model he is considering "looks more like the Canadian system than it does the American system."

Nevertheless, Canadian banks operate in a very different context. Copying the Canadian banking system in this country, without understanding how its banking and housing sectors operate, would be a mistake.

Miss McArdle:

I don't find "they were more tightly regulated" a plausible explanation.
When you dig down, most of those explanations seem short on the actual
regulations that accomplished this marvelous feat, or even an extraordinary risk
management system, and long on glowering regulators putting the fear of God into
snivelling bankers through sheer force of moral righteousness. But more
importantly, the banking crisis seems to be hitting almost every other country
very hard even though they have very different bank regulators.

The difference is night and day.


clever pseudonym said...


For one thing, Mrs. Kravis can spell.

Dillon said...

"The difference is night and day."

Kravis - uses facts and quotes to provide a basis for her opinion.

McArdle - uses colorful adjectives to provide a basis for her opinion.

Susan of Texas said...


Dillon--and don't forget the sneers.