Bank of England: Owner of punchbowl or punchbag?
The governor of the Bank of England says that the point of putting his organisation in charge of both making sure that markets aren't overheating and that individual banks aren't taking crazy risks is so that a single authority has the power and confidence to take the punchbowl of booze away when dangerous euphoria is gripping financial firms and the rest of us.
But there's another way of looking at George Osborne's dismantling of the Financial Services Authority - and that's to say that successful regulation requires there to be a single punchbag for as and when things go wrong.
Or to put it another way, if the Bank of England knows that it alone will be walloped when there's another financial debacle, possibly it'll do its job in a more determined and focussed way than the previous so called tripartite regime, where responsibility was divided between the FSA, the Bank of England and the Treasury.
Will it work?
That's impossible to say.
If you look at the developed country perceived to have come through the great financial storm of 2007-8 in best shape, Canada, its system of banking regulation has things in common both with the UK's old system and its new system.
Its Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is separate from the central bank - and reports to the Canadian finance ministry.
But that regulator has a narrow role of preventing banks taking excessive risks; unlike our FSA, it doesn't also have the responsibility of protecting consumers from being ripped off.
That said, there is a logic to the chancellor's reforms.
Which is why most concern about those changes focuses on what's known as the execution risk, or that for the two-year period of transition to the new system the FSA will not have its eye on the ball.
And that's profoundly worrying, given that we're seeing serious signs of strain in the financial system once again - with there being, as you know if you read this blog, a genuine and worrying prospect of a second wave of banking disasters emanating from financially overstretched eurozone countries.
So Mr Osborne had quite a coup last night in persuading Hector Sants to abandon his previous intention of quitting as the FSA's chief executive.
Mr Sants - and his chairman, Lord Turner, also staying on - are widely seen to have raised the FSA's game very considerably since its disastrous performance in the run-up to the market mayhem of 2007-2008.
Even so, Mr Osborne has taken something of a personal risk.
If another financial storm comes over the horizon and the regulators react ineptly because they're fixating on which of them move to the Bank of England and which to the new Consumer Protection Agency, he will be the punchbag.