By Michael Moran (auth.)
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Additional info for The Politics of the Financial Services Revolution: The USA, UK and Japan
The reason was simple: anybody who moved the other way took a cut in pay. 42 In the generation after the 1930s' crisis, therefore, a subtle but important alteration occurred in the institutional balance of the meso-corporatist system: at the beginning the financial services industries were suppliers of expertise to the agencies; over the next generation the agencies became much less de(iendent, until they were themselves a source of talent for firms. This changing balance was accompanied by a growth in the prestige and self-confidence of the agencies.
By the 1960s, however, this ideology had to survive in an environment where mystification was immensely difficult. There were numerous social agents ready to ask sceptical questions about the true effectiveness of flexible, practitioner-based regulation. Some of these agents were inside the regulatory system itself - something we noticed in the last section. But there were also wider forces at work. Meso-corporatism in financial services had to demonstrate its regulatory competence in a competitive political system and in a culture often sceptical - especially in the 1960s and early 1970s -of business honesty and competence.
But the wider structural changes resulting from the reforms of the mid-1970s have intensified competitive struggles. They are culminating in an attack on the last great barrier to economic competition erected in the 1930s, the Glass-Steagall Act separating investment from commercial banking. The struggle to adapt to structural change is part of the story of the financial revolution. But there is also another part. The age of financial change has also been an age of financial scandal, in the United States and elsewhere.