Anat Admati on Seeing Through ‘The Banker’s New Clothes’

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This week, Bill speaks with Anat Admati, an economist at Stanford University, about how our banks are actually larger now than they were before the 2008 crash — and still living dangerously.

In this TEDx Stanford talk she delivered earlier this year, Admati explains how she fell into a “rabbit hole” when she started studying banking around the time of the financial crisis. She likens Wall Street executives and financial analysts to the emperor in the memorable children’s fairy tale. “In banking, there are lots of people who say lots of things,” she says, pointing at bankers, policymakers, regulators, experts, academics and politicians. “A disturbing proportion of what they say has as much substance as the emperor’s new clothes.”

The average size of the “too big to fail banks,” says Admati, was $1.3 trillion in 2006 and has now grown to $1.7 trillion. “There are no such corporations in the world…No corporation is as big as these “monstrous institutions.”

Describing the financial system as reckless, out of control and “very dangerous,” Admati says that “not much has changed” since the crash. She says we can only have a better system if we the people demand one, “and that’s why I need you to help me scream.”

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