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Jan 20 / Jonathan

Why Nationalization is the Best Alternative

Felix Salmon.

Felix Salmon

Felix Salmon

Why Nationalization is the Best Alternative

Kevin Drum is a bit like Joe Nocera: he’s reluctant to nationalize, but he doesn’t really say why.

It’s wise to be wary of nationalization. It should be a last resort, and I’ve gotten a sense recently that a lot of people are talking about it awfully casually. Still, it’s true that there are some benefits to nationalization, and one of them is that it allows us to avoid the problem of valuing and buying up toxic assets from troubled banks. If the government owns the whole bank, then the bad stuff can be easily hived off without any kind of valuation at all, and then left to sit for a while before it’s sold off — which is what the Swedes did.
If we have to nationalize, then we have to nationalize. But we should understand the precedents before we do, and go ahead only if we have to.

The only argument I can find in here is an argument in favor of nationalization, not against it. Why should nationalization only be a last resort?

See also Krugman.

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