Saule Omarova (pictured right), was granted The Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship in 1989 while studying philosophy at the Moscow state university, then flew out to the United States as a Visiting MacArthur Scholar in 1995 at the Center for International Security and Arms Control of Stanford University.
She hardly stayed there, studying a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Wisconsin and a JD shortly after. At the same time she becomes a law clerk and thereafter an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell where she stayed for about five years.
A tour of Germany and France follows as a visiting professor, and the restless Omarova, originally from Kazakhstan, so keeps moving until Cornell.
Tackling the hip field of fintech, she says it risks disrupting the New Deal settlement where the private market is in her view subject to public control.
The public in her view, through the state, should become a market actor in itself. She argues thus for a National Investment Authority (NIA).
“When you say direct public investment you should mean actual state owned enterprise, because if not, then it’s still public money given to private actors,” she says.
The government should become an “asset manager” she argues, and so through that have a direct say over market participating companies it controls in regards to whatever agenda the government may have.
“The key is that the NIA, as a standalone institution, cannot be situated inside the Treasury or the Fed. Its job has to be to get inside the financial markets and effectively outcompete Wall Street banks and asset managers that currently play an incredibly important role in managing and controlling the flow of capital.”
Sometime it sounds like she is just saying there should be a development bank, which most countries have, but sometime it sounds like she is saying that basically there should be communism. She says:
“Given the growing systemic significance of these market infrastructures as providers of the new era’s core public goods, and the inherent difficulty of anticipating the precise effects of the ongoing change in their operations, it may make sense to mandate a direct government stake—the ‘golden share’—in these entities.
This approach would turn these systemically important infrastructures into public-private enterprises, in which the government would have direct management rights.”
The infrastructures she had in mind are “digital asset trading and payment systems, major MPL and other crowdfunding platforms, cloud service providers, crypto-currency exchanges and derivatives markets, and so forth.”
“While the specific design features of this public-private FMI model may vary depending on the platform type, its overall goal would be to create a powerful organizational node of public-interest-driven management inside the core infrastructure of digital finance,” she says.
By the public, she naturally means the state in practice, the government, and more specifically the unelected bureaucracy in the government which she argues should have a say not only over how Coinbase or Robinhood should be regulated, but over the management of Coinbase or Robinhood.
We hope we are mis-interpreting her in our plain reading of her own words, because otherwise it is a bit terrifying that such arguments not only are seriously being made in USA, but are being considered for a fairly powerful position at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the banking finance regulator for which she may be nominated according to Bloomberg’s unnamed sources.
The argument in effect being to follow China’s model of ‘state capitalism,’ or fascism as some might call it due to it being a one party state, where the government funds ‘private’ enterprises which it controls and so are under The Party’s direction.
Where bitcoin is concerned she calls it “libertarian” and gets a bit apoplectic in suggesting through fintech the ‘public’ might lose oversight of finance which she argues is becoming self-referential and might be artificially detached from the economy where financial activity becomes layered and syntheticised.
According to this sophist, to get it back to serve the economy, we of course need the state to effectively become finance, become an asset manager itself, become a banker, become even a crypto exchange.
This joke, we hope, has the fundamental flaw of considering the public and the government, especially its bureaucracy, as one and as one interest.
As Stalin and Mao and maybe even Xi Jinping may show, the state or the government can often be one person, and that one person can never be the public.
It isn’t through the government that the public has a voice necessarily because the public has almost no voice over the bureaucracy, but through the market.
It is through free choice, as well as all those things she characterizes as bad like personalized financial packages, that the public gets to have a real voice.
The interest of the public therefore is served not by the state suffocating competition through getting its hands in all things and potentially using state power to injure Ant Financial or other competitors of the state, but through the state facilitating competition by lowering regulatory barriers to entry, especially in banking which is so chocked by regulatory requirements that official new entrants are almost non existent.
That competition does far more than any bureaucrat or direct bureaucratic company management to keep even monopolies on their toes, with fintech being the prime example of a disruption that the public is loving and flooding to it because it satisfies better their needs and thus gives them a far better real voice and direct oversight through choice.
It is somewhat curious therefore that someone who is basically arguing for communism is at Cornell, but it may well explain why she has kept jumping throughout her career as teaching communism in corporate finance is a bit of a pantomime, with a paper on govcoins stating:
“It offers a blueprint for a comprehensive restructuring of the central bank balance sheet as the basis for redesigning the core architecture of modern finance. Focusing on the U.S. Federal Reserve System (the Fed), the Article outlines a series of structural reforms that would radically redefine the role of a central bank as the ultimate public platform for generating, modulating, and allocating financial resources in a democratic economy—the People’s Ledger.”
Democratic economy. With all that’s said before, that she’d argue this is no surprise, not least perhaps because it would completely destroy the United States as we know it in eradicating banks and their global dominance over finance while offering the next step of presumably Ant Financialing the rest.
The primary strength of the United States is the limited role of the government and its bureaucracy so as to offer the maximum freedom with its involvement being as minimal as possible and only where necessary for basic public needs.
That facilitates innovation, which then gives it real strength, with nothing new coming out of communist China or any other communist country, while the internet, iPhones, the blockchain, ai, and a countless list has come out of the free market.
A market where the state minds its business, and any involvement is through grants, not taking up private shares in trying to turn bureaucrats into entrepreneurs.
In addition after two decades of war, rather than more state we need less state. We need to do the exact opposite of what this communist is saying and lower the regulatory burden for financial activities or capital formation so that there are more new entrants competing to offer more and better choices.
Rather than having the state try to manage everything and continue its sedation of our economy, the home of the brave needs to take more risk, and needs to become more comfortable with failure, as risk is unavoidable, and the risk of state control is the inevitable state collapse.
We need to get rid of ‘responsible’ innovation and get to more plain innovation. Brave innovation that challenges our way of thinking and not more back to communist dogma.
Above all, we need more freedom. Both socially and in the market. Primarily freedom from the state.
That is becoming more urgent with this suggested nomination as America may well be at risk of a communist takeover. Something that freedom lovers need to fight at every corner and every way, especially by grabbing this freedom through innovation that makes bureaucratic diktats applicable only by public consent.
Where OCC is concerned, Brian Brooks was doing a great job. Chaotic Biden however seems to think better a communist. To that we can only say: God Save USA.