Hvor meget liberaliserede Thatcher egentlig finanssektoren?

Ikke nær så meget som man skulle tro, forlyder det i rapporten Thatcher: The Myth of Deregulation fra det velestimerede Institute for Economic Affairs, som kom på gaden i går:

It is commonly believed that, during the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher presided over a substantial reduction in government regulation of financial services. …

‘Big Bang’ in 1986 did remove the restrictive practices and largely private regulation that existed in securities markets. However, this involved the state unwinding systems of private regulation and was not, as such, a simple act of deregulation.

The idea that the 1980s was a period of increasing regulation and not deregulation is not revisionist history. Contemporary accounts argued that, under the regulatory system that developed, the City has ceased to be a place “where you look after yourself according to a code of honour of conduct. It is a tough regulatory system”; that the regulator had a “very tough bunch of powers”; and that “There is a substantial risk, in fact, that we now have massive overkill of the supervisory structure in the financial industry.”

Rapporten ledsages af en kommentar i City AM, som også er læseværdig. Den forsøger at gøre op med, hvad forfatteren opfatter som myter: at Thatcher i væsentlighed liberaliserede finanssektoren, og den politik hun førte – hvad end den så var – var en succes:

Thatcher’s governments did two things. They opened the door to the bureaucratic regulation of many areas of financial services, and this regulation has since grown like Topsy. They also stifled regulatory institutions that grew up within the market. Neither policy has been a success.

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