Bringing the banksters to book

With publication in the UK of the latest report into banking standards, here’s an interesting discussion on Thursday’s BBC This Week programme which invited former market trader and financial commentator Max Keiser to discuss whether this might usher in a new age of accountability for the banksters. And – surprise, surprise – the opinion seemed to be that it won’t.

Which is interesting to me because it shows just how much the banks have got us by the short and curlies, both economically, but politically as well. Casting my mind back to my days as an undergraduate political economy student, I remember how the power of vested interests was categorised (this was in 1983, by the way).

Vested interests were considered to have power if they could marshall an army of allies to outflank challengers and win the political argument to defend their position. But where they could prevent an issue from even becoming the subject of debate was seen as as a much greater expression of power.

 

Reckless

However, despite the banks’ reckless behaviour leading up to the 2007 crash, it seems that these particular vested interests have taken the power relationship a step further. Because, even though their position has been the subject of considerable debate, with the resulting fact that they have very few, if any, arguments to defend themselves, no one has carried the can for the economic damage they have caused.

No one seriously defends the banksters – not even chancellor George Osborne – yet virtually no action has been taken against any individuals in the UK, despite the fact that the means to do so exists under criminal law.

Banks may have been fined, but who has been put behind bars for their role in wrecking economies, destroying jobs and spreading misery? So far, the banksters have been largely protected by an ‘accountability firewall’ that our current political masters have barely even tried to penetrate.

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peterbatt

Peter a journalist with 30 years experience of freelance writing, UK national newspaper and magazine production roles, and business development. In 2007, he developed and launched a mainstream-style green consumer magazine in the UK, called GreenerLiving, as a means of promoting sustainable change ‘within the system’. GreenerLiving closed during the post-crash recession, but Peter went on to become managing editor of the international ethical business title, Ethical Performance. However, Peter felt that the CSR sector has not succeeded in changing corporate priorities anywhere near fast enough, and so I decided to leave the treadmill of corporate employment and debt accumulation to focus on my own projects. Now poorer but a billion million times happier, he writes on political, economic and social issues – usually seriously, but sometimes as satire. He's currently writing Psychopath Economics, a book about the logic of social and economic power, belief systems, and the rise and fall of societies. Peter is convinced that ordinary people must educate themselves and exercise their economic leverage if we are to avoid social and environmental destruction.

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