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Are the U.S. financial markets losing their edge?
Are the U.S. financial markets losing their edge?
When Buffett was ready for photographs, the students stampeded out of the room and formed a line.
And what's the right balance between confidence-inspiring standards and ...

... between regulation and the Wild West? Well, I don't think we're losing our edge. I mean, there are costs to Sarbanes-Oxley, some of which are wasted. But they're not huge relative to the $20 trillion in total market value. I think we've got fabulous capital markets in this country, and they get screwed up often enough to make them even more fabulous. I mean, you don't want a capital market that functions perfectly if you're in my business. People continue to do foolish things no matter what the regulation is, and they always will. There are significant limits to what regulation can accomplish....

It's very, very, very hard to regulate people. If I were appointed a new regulator--if you gave me 100 of the smartest people you can imagine to work for me, and every day I got the positions from the biggest institutions, all their derivative positions, all their stock positions and currency positions, I wouldn't be able to tell you how they were doing. It's very, very hard to regulate when you get into very complex instruments where you've got hundreds of counterparties. The counterparty behavior and risk was a big part of why the Treasury and the Fed felt that they had to move in over a weekend at Bear Stearns. And I think they were right to do it, incidentally.

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Last updated April 14 2008: 12:24 PM ET