Tuesday, 23 November 2010

We don't need private sector banks

As we witness the humiliation if the Irish people who are being bullied into accepting the rule of the IMF to bail out "their" reckless banks, Eric Cantona has stepped into the ring with a suggestion that we all withdraw our money from the banks, in protest against their behaviour, on December the 7th. I won't be participating but that's not because I think it's a bad idea. I've never been very keen on banks but neither do I want to keep my hard earned money under the mattress.

I've put my money in the Co-operative Bank, which by the very low standards of most banks is superb. It's not going bust anytime soon, and it even has genuine ethical policies. If only more people would do the same we would be less vulnerable to the kind of crisis which has rocked the world economy and slain the Celtic Tiger recently.

Predictably, Deborah Hargreaves, has written in the Guardian that Cantona's idea is a foolish one because we all need banks as much as they need us. But this is complete nonsense! We may need banks but the point is that we don't need irresponsible, unaccountable, out of control, private sector banks that we have to bail out every decade or so - if you think this is the first banking crisis in 50 years just take a look at what has happened in Sweden and Japan in recent times.

What we need is nationalised banks and community banks under democratic control. Full stop. Private sector banks are far too irresponsible to be allowed to create money from debt. That is unacceptable. Perhaps Deborah can be forgiven. She appears to be infected with a disease called capitalism, and being a business writer for the Guardian and the FT its easy to see why she should be trapped in a conventional view.

Don't be fooled. The banks, even now, are far too powerful, and completely unaccountable, and unregulated. Our politicians are way too timid and blinkered to be able to find a solution to this problem. We need radical change. In the meantime - withdraw your money on the 7th December and put it in a half decent bank. There are a few around.

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