Thursday, April 22, 2010

If transparency is good, isn't more better?

The financial regulation bill just voted out of committee includes a provision that requires derivatives to be traded only over exchanges.
All the major bills would require that most derivatives be settled in a centralized system and traded over exchanges. Supporters say this would improve market transparency, drive down prices for users of derivatives, and provide more information to regulators.

Well, why stop there? How about we require all employment contracts to be settled over exchanges. Every week your job description could be posted and an auction could commence for services rendered. After all, isn't all this fuss over relationship specific investments affecting the form of the contract is just a smokescreen for underhanded dealing? And appeals to transactions costs affecting the form of the transaction carry little weight. After all no one has ever won a Nobel prize for for this harebrained idea (here, here).

How about exchanges for congressmen too? It really sucks when a lobbyist thinks that he has bought a congressman's vote on an issue only to find out later that someone else outbid him in some clandestine deal. Surely an exchange would make bribery campaign contributions more efficient. Moreover, the transparency would allow constituents to see how important various issues are to other groups.

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