Finance Under the Magnifying Glass Twelve Reforms to Restore Trust Publication date : September 9, 2010
Georges Ugeux, an investment banker of Belgian origin, is the Chairman and C.E.O. of Galileo Global Advisors, a small investment banking advisory group based in New York. He was formerly Executive Vice President International of the New York Stock Exchange. His frequently unorthodox views, expressed on his blog at lemonde.fr, are often the subject of lively debate.
The shock provoked outside the United States by the financial crisis has been considerable. How did the economy reach this stage? How did a few hundred heads of financial institutions succeed in playing Russian roulette with the fate of the global economy? Who gave them so much power? Above all, what can we do now to avoid repeating the same mistakes?
The myth that the market is the best system to foster growth and regulate the economy has collapsed. Unbidden, finance has brutally entered our lives and brought us to the brink of disaster because of the excesses of financiers, who would much rather have remained in the shadows, discreetly carrying out their operations, without having to turn to their governments for help, and then having to shoulder the blame.
The various bailout programmes resorted massively to public aid, for the simple reason that governments, supervisory authorities and central banks all share responsibility for the worst financial crash since 1929. But also because we have created a system in which the financiers hold the rest of the economy hostage.
How can we loosen their hold? What can be done to recover real, non-illusory economic growth and confidence?
• Most analyses of the crisis and its aftermath are the work of theoreticians and ideologues. But, here, we have the point of view of an expert who is perfectly familiar with the mechanisms of the system that brought us to the edge of the precipice. And his point of view will hardly be found comforting.
• Besides offering a critical diagnosis, which is equally harsh on financiers and public authorities, the author shows how the economic order can be truly and profoundly transformed.
• A brilliant strategist, discerning expert and lively independent thinker, Georges Ugeux writes regularly in the international media.