But why is the banking system so fragile? The answer is simple. No other industry in the world operates so deeply in the dark. No other industry provides so little disclosure of what it owes and owns. No other industry has such eye-popping leverage – leverage that is little changed despite Dodd-Frank, Basel III, the Vickers Commission, and other so-called U.S. and international banking reforms. And no other industry engages in such rampant and unabashed deceit, corruption, malfeasance, and political bribery.
Pervasive opacity, extreme leverage, and rarely prosecuted criminality – those are the terrible hallmarks of the world’s Wall Streets. One can’t conceive of a more dangerous way to run any economic sector, let alone one that constitutes a critical public good, namely the financial exchange system.