No more rules

Author: | Published: 1 Dec 2008

We have not seen anything like it in living memory – not even Suez, the Russian invasion of Hungary, the Vietnam war, the seventies oil crises, the stock market crash of 1987 or the dotcom bust of the early 21st century seem to equal it.

The roll call of the great financial institutions brought low is extraordinary. The nationalisation of Northern Rock now seems little more than a warning of things to come. Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, HBOS, Royal Bank of Scotland, Bradford and Bingley, Landsbanki and Kaupthing are all now members of the financial hall of shame. But they are far from alone.

At the time of writing, Libor rates are creeping steadily downwards and world stock markets seem to be edging upwards. But what happened to the regulatory system that was meant to prevent things like this? And what do we do to ensure it doesn't...