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Banking's Future Lies in its Past

August 25th, 2002

On of the big problems of policy debate, particularly on the “left”, is that it’s considered unthinkable to advocate a return to the institutions of the past, even when they performed demonstrably better than those that replaced them. That’s why it’s encouraging to read Martin Mayer, a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, saying that Banking’s Future Lies in its Past, that is, that it was a mistake to repeal the Depression-era Glass-Steagall act which required complete separation between commercial and investment banking. Of course, Mayer doesn’t advocate a return to the exact policies of the past, but a modernised version taking advantage of the controls made possible by new technology.

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