Peter Bernstein, even in death, inspired a provocative tone on the limitations of financial regulatory reform.
Laurence B. Siegel, editor of “Insights into the Global Financial Crisis,” a masterful collection of essays on the market and economic meltdown, recounts a telling remark from the memorial service last Sept. 15 for Mr. Bernstein, the economic consultant and historian.
Mr. Siegel wrote in the lead essay to the book — “A riskless society is ‘unattainable and infinitely expensive.' We are not paying that expense.” — quoting Edwin Goldwasser, physicist and childhood friend of Mr. Bernstein at the memorial service.
For as much as Wall Street excesses brought on the financial crisis, the role of government in regulating financial activity to achieve specific objectives, especially expanding house ownership by encouraging or countenancing reckless mortgage lending and reducing market risk, wound up attaining neither, the book generally shows.
With contributing essays by investment practitioners and academics like Bruce I. Jacobs, principal, Jacobs Levy Equity Management Inc., and Robert F. Bruner, dean and professor of business administration, Darden Graduate School of Business, University of Virginia, the book lays out in sweeping detail the primary causes and ramifications of the financial crisis, from Wall Street to the federal government. And the contributors provide readers with solutions to the challenge of limiting excesses in the future.