Project SyndicateProject Syndicate

Another predictable bank failure

By Joseph E. Stiglitz

13 Mar 2023 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

The collapse of SVB is emblematic of fundamental failures in the conduct of both regulatory and monetary policy, Joseph Stiglitz writes in PS. Will we finally learns the right lessons? he asks.

NEW YORK – The run on Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) – on which nearly half of all venture-backed tech start-ups in the United States depend – is in part a rerun of a familiar story, but it’s more than that. Once again, economic policy and financial regulation has proven inadequate.

The news about the second-biggest bank failure in US history came just days after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell assured Congress that the financial condition of America’s banks was sound. But the timing should not be surprising. Given the large and rapid increases in interest rates Powell engineered – probably the most significant since former Fed Chair Paul Volcker’s interest-rate hikes of 40 years ago – it was predicted that dramatic movements in the prices of financial assets would cause trauma somewhere in the financial system.

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