For The Financial Times
In the midst of the market turmoil, the pressing priority for US and global policymakers is to repair the financial system and restore the economy. Just as important, however, will be addressing the serious flaws exposed by this crisis. This process of reflection and reform will be critical to restoring confidence and enabling market-based capitalism to rebuild our economies. We must recognise the real possibility that because the crisis is not behind us, there may be lessons to learn and problems to address that are not now obvious. Yet many lessons are obvious and I take confidence from the commitment of world leaders – in the US, Europe, China and elsewhere – to pursue comprehensive regulatory reform and co-ordinate internationally.
First, this will be a big, multi-year undertaking. The crisis has exposed serious flaws in many aspects of our financial system. There will be proposals for more effective regulations in areas ranging from over-the-counter derivatives and short selling, to the practices of financial institutions, investors, mortgage originators and credit rating agencies. We will need to reflect on the long-held premise that sophisticated investors have the wherewithal to look out for themselves and require minimal, if any, supervision. In these areas and others, regulations must be crafted to foster market stability while maintaining the fundamental tenet of capitalism: if investors are to reap the rewards of taking risks they must also bear the negative results of their risk-taking.
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