The Pre-1980 Roots of Neoliberal Financial Deregulation
U.S. financial deregulation is often popularly presented as a fundamental attack on financial regulation that began with neoliberalism's Big Bang in 1980. This paper argues this position is wrong in two ways. First, it is a process that stretches back decades before 1980. Textbook mentions of 1970s precursor "financial innovations" fall far short of presenting the breadth and duration of the pre-1980 attack on the system of regulation. Second, it has not been an across-the-board attack on financial regulation in the name of market efficiency as required by its ideology and claimed by its advocates, but rather a focused attack on only one of the five pillars of the system of regulation. This paper develops both of these assertions through a presentation of the five central pillars of the pre-1980 system of financial regulation, and the four major attacks on the three different aspects of the restrictions on financial competition.
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