Business Case Studies, Executive Interviews, Lord Meghnad Desai on Government and Business

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Executive Interviews: Interview with Lord Meghnad Desai on Government and Business
January 2010 - By Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary

Lord Meghnad Desai
Lord Meghnad Desai, is an Indian-born British economist and Labor politician

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  • Instead of attempting to regulate using a patchwork of agencies, is it time for BrettonWoods II, i.e., should there be a new and powerful overarching body (as suggested by UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown) controlling, monitoring and regulating the international capital flows?
    There were powerful bodies such as the Financial Stability Forum set up by Gordon Brown in 1998 at the time of the last crisis. It has now changed its name to Financial Stability Board. I doubt it will do any better.

  • The aim of economic regulation should be the same in all sectors: to facilitate fair competition among players or, where natural monopolies exist, to ensure fair pricing and service levels. Greater competition means stronger productivity growth, which in turn means a faster-growing economy and more wealth to share. Yet governments everywhere struggle to get regulation right. Unfortunately, regulation often has a negative effect. What can governments do to get it right?
    Why think that governments can do better than anyone else. It is made up of people as is the private sector.

  • I Should boards view the current crisis as an opportunity to review the way they function. During tough times – and they haven’t been this tough for generations –directors are supposed to ask difficult questions about their companies. Yet they rarely ask hard questions about themselves, such as, “Are we the right people, asking the right questions, providing the right sort of leadership, challenging management in the most productive ways?”
    A healthy self-assessment can go a long way toward improving a company’s performance. What kind of reassessment do you suggest for the boards and their directors? I neither know nor care.

  • What are the major global trends that businesses should be thinking about? Do you envision new approaches to management and new ways of interacting?
    There is a little new but it is the fancy of Business School gurus to make up new fangled theory. They should think about cutting costs, improving quality and making profits.

  • What specific three measures do you suggest to ensure that such crises do not recur? To what extent should the government intervene in business to check immoral behavior of executives and / or entrepreneurs?
    Crises will always recur. It is a folly to think that you can eliminate boom and bust as Gordon Brown boasted he had.

The Interview was conducted by Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary, Consulting Editor, Effective Executive and Dean, IBSCDC, Hyderabad.

This Interview was originally published in Effective Executive, IUP, January 2010.

Copyright © January 2010, IBSCDC No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced or distributed, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or medium – electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise – without the permission of IBSCDC.

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