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Saturday, October 8, 2011

#GFC2 Challenges & Solutions

#GFC2 Challenges & Solutions

@Frances_coppola wrote in her recent blog that ‘Fear is probably our biggest enemy at the moment”. She rightly cautioned against doom mongering that could become a self fulfilling prophecy and highlighted how some commentators who should know much better, are making highly questionable assertions in pursuit of particular ideological goals.
This is not fear itself but it is an attempt to use fear to manipulate viewpoints and seek a particular type of outcome based on pre-conceived cookie-cutter notions.

From my point of view I find the idea that government should nationalise the banks horrific as there seems to be absolutely no concept in the minds of the protagonists that this would be subject to all the old sins of greed, cronyism and fraud.

Equally laughable is the ‘free’ market zero-regulation school of thinking which thinks it is possible for orgnaisations founded on an ethic of profit-above-all-else to effectively self regulate. Just as laughable is the idea that competition in a tiny oilgopoly of mega-banks will drive efficient operation.

Against this background most of the folks contributing and discussing on #gfc2 have been pretty clear and refreshingly honest about the international finance system, the levels of fraud & corruption involved in it and the fact that it has in many ways become a pathological threat to the societies which host it.

At the same time in the past 4 – 5 months of participating and observing I haven’t seen a fatalistic negativity or , as some have claimed, any pleasure in being right about what was / is happening.

On the contrary I HAVE seen a lot of genuinely helpful analyses and ideas about what could be done surface.

This includes looking at ways of breaking up banks such that systemically essential services like clearing and payments can be distributed across a network of providers or possibly bought into public domain as part of Critical National Infrastructure.

However that removal of systemic monopoly from a few big players is done doesn’t matter. What matters is that it is done. Then if a private banking institution fails, hard luck it fails (given of course that regulatory requirements for depositor protection are in place, as they are). There is no longer the blackmail leverage of systemic necessity for banks to fall back on.

This casts another light on the kind of panic and fear mongering going on. It is in the interests of huge banks for people to be convinced that if they fail then tomorrow is doomsday.

No it isn’t. As Frances and I have discussed, practically speaking it isn’t that hard to split out and maintain systemically essential functions like payments.

In fact it might just be a really good opportunity to re-assess the position of those functions and whether there IS a case for nationalisation or indeed (my preference) opening up the market to a much wider range of competition by considering ways of mitigating barriers to market entry.

Another key point to emerge and to be repeated again and again is the utter injustice of privatising profits among a tiny minority and then socialising losses to ordinary people. And be in no doubt that bailing out e.g. Greece is just another bank bailout by proxy (BBBP).

These are just a couple of the ideas that have been surfaced on #GFC2. I thought them worth highlighting in order to point out how concerned I’m sure most of us are to find genuine, workable and humane solutions to a crisis rather than try to leverage fear in pursuit of ideological goals.

Does that mean there’#s no room for ideological or political debate in relation to #gfc2? well that would be bl**dy stupid wouldn’t it?

Actually the levels of genuine debate (as opposed to infantile name-calling) are great. But that is utterly different to attempting to leverage a desperate situation and the insecurity and worry it creates to further any dogma. To do that strikes me as being as immoral and despicable as the frequently fraudulent and constantly immoral and unethical behaviour of a tiny powerful cabal of vested interest that has bought us (once more) to the brink of this abyss.

Note: I have referenced Frances’ thinking and writing here but the opinions and conclusions expressed are my own.

I hope #GFC2 continues to attract no-bullshit, incisive analysis and justified outrage along with attempts to seek for genuine workable solutions. I think the fact that we can now have such a forum is a major cause for celebration in itself.

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