Law unto themselves

Monday 25th April 2011

BANK holiday. Now there’s an interesting concept.

Does it mean we should spend the afternoon down by the river? Or is it a day when no charges accrue on our loans and overdrafts, when no interest is paid to those with millions in their investment accounts? Or should it, instead, be a time for giving the financial institutions a break? Perhaps we could all agree not to say anything critical about them for a period of twenty-four hours. If only I could find it in my heart to be that generous…

Acceptable behaviour (in this country) has undergone several changes in my lifetime. Racism and homophobia are now rightly treated with disdain. There’s some way to go before hitting children is universally regarded as unjustifiable, but we appear to be edging towards a society where physical or mental torment of the weak or meek is considered unethical.

Unfortunately, the lawmakers always take a while to catch up with the rest of us.

The practice of shipping poor or orphaned British children overseas – often to suffer appalling abuse – was still being ignored (and possibly even sanctioned) by the Home Office as recently as the 1970s.

If a man walked into a police station today and confessed to having raped his wife on the night of their marriage, twenty-five years ago, he could not be prosecuted. Marital rape did not become illegal in the UK until 1991.

What has this to do with the banks? Not a lot, you might say.

Well, I invite you, dear reader, to ask yourself which you regard as more important: social justice or legal statute?

They are not breaking the law, but under what moral code can bankers accept bonuses of several million pounds, knowing that their institutions’ actions have led to an economic crisis, cuts in public service and hardship for the many now facing unemployment?

I believe it will be a mark of our progress when later generations shake their heads in disbelief at how our generation allowed these dishonourable few to commit what is, in effect, financial rape.

 

 

 

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3 Responses to Law unto themselves

  1. Sorry Marcus, it took so long to find you

    What do you think of the following? and getting .., to support it?

    • The eurozone, and more broadly Europe, is slowly strangling itself with a toxic mixture of austerity and a structurally flawed financial system.” Comment is Free, Guardian 15 jan 2012
    Ian g saysTHIS and the associated text IS PRETTY SPOT ON But there is more to it
    The consumer-led BANKING BONANZA reached a peak in the mid-2000s. The banks paid out new money to sellers of property (particularly in the UK) based on the borrowers’ ability to repay loans that banks had made, increasing the money supply under fractional reserve rules. These loans were secured on that property, leading to higher interest rates on that new money.
    Banks received that interest without (much) additional tax. They also have received for 300 years, the new money repayments, also without additional tax. THIS MUST CHANGE, BUT ESPECIALLY THE INTEREST ON IT MUST BE PARTLY DIVERTED, we suggest WHICH COULD HELP THE EUROZONE CRISIS, streamlining the funding systems for good causes, such as the fight against fuel poverty and for an energy transition. This could be in addition to suggested regulatory changes (eg Librarian at 9.40 pm) on CiF. As governments have successively tried to “cool” the “economy” (hardly an economical system, given consumerist tendencies and frivolous spending (as well as those in jobs still causing transport congestion,for example), with struggles to raise investment funds for longer-term projects) by raising interest rates, there is a delay in the effect this has, so that banks reap extra profits for a time in a bouyant system (hiding those profits with high expenses and investing funds offshore) until the economy does cool. When confidence evaporates (the herd effect kicks in and an over-reaction can occur, so they might have trouble paying bloated staff numbers and bonuses. Currently it’s the bank shareholders who are suffering much-reduced dividends, hanging on in the hope of good times when the economic convulsions are over. Not likely in the West, since the global,players are engineering panic for profit.
    Meanwhile, there is still little informed debate as the “free” money issue and possible solution above/below. It remains little reported and no clear direction of reform is suggested, even from the Occupy Movement which seems to be targeting banks without understanding what could change, in spite of some support from churches, the public and even some bankers and ex-bankers.
    There is plenty of contraction of consumer spending still needed. There is plenty of need to make it easier for smaller businesses and householders to do long-term beneficial work such as super-insulation, even if this must be stimulated by using the renewable obligation funds from the energy companies’ price rises. These would be most efficiently allocated if they were to be ring-fenced for the super-insulation materials to be at “almost free” prices.
    There is plenty of scope for the western countries to set an example to the east by setting up sustainable systems with localisation, better insulation to reduce fossil-fuel waste, less cost in oil/transport, instead of taking profits while continuing to plunder the resources of Asia, Africa and South America using high currency exchange rates and big companies.
    There is plenty of scope for the UK Government also to fund our large-scale R&D demonstrator in the big heart of England for quicker acceptance of the details by the public at oldPrintWorks.org. This would show how summer solar heat can be stored underground ready for slow release (free under-floor heating) over winter. That will work if the losses from buildings are reduced as above via super-insulation.
    HOW ELSE can the Laws be changed? to make things fairer and more equitable, and less of an advantage only to the big companies, such as the energy ones? Well, it seems that savers should be encouraged and banks’ power to pay low interest rates to increase their mark-up should be curtailed. It would be simple enough to SET A FLOOR ON SAVERS RATES TO BE PAID AND A CEILING ON MORTGAGE RATES to be charged for banks to compete within. A diversion of at least the base rate of interest on ALL NEW MONEY CREATED would allow an operating window (of profit) for the market to operate in, while still protecting against banks shifting off-shore to avoid tax. The additional interest paid would help to reduce the pensions shortfall in the future and the investments possible would get the uK back to productive work.

    What about getting back up to interest rates on savings – say at 5%

    BAN free money – at least 3% on any free money ring-fenced to go into the energy transition investments we need.

    Originally i suggested Sustainability in Trade Environment, Education and Resources -a return from imports using part of any such ring-fenced funds to go back to the producer nation for their renewables and efficiency investments. Why not be in touch and ask about how to achieve savings in your own place by investing a little?

    kind regards

    ian

  2. sisterkaff says:

    Saw your comment on CiF (time to start talking with the bankers) – great stuff, and I look forward to following your posts.
    (CiF Kaff)

  3. Spoz says:

    As always Marcus … you’re totally “on the money”!

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