What is critical about this is that if the bailout hadn't happened all the banks would have gone bust - not just those who were directly bailed out by the taxpayer. Since 2008 'free' market apologists have tried to claim that banks such as Barclays and HSBC were always OK, as if they would not have crashed, but this is not the case, the fact is that the global banking system was saved by taxpayers.
|Lehman Bros HQ|
What does all this tell us? It shows the power of financial capitalism and that our democracies are dominated not just by financial capitalism but also the other big corporations. In the West, which has been hardest hit, politicians have put the interests of financial capitalism above the rights and interests of their own people. The aim has been to preserve the capitalist system and to continue 'business as usual' at all costs, even though it is obvious that the austerity programme in the UK and elsewhere isn't working, at that it will probably make things worse rather than better.
The latest manifestation of the row about bankers bonuses centres around Stephen Hester who is the CEO of taxpayer 'owned' RBS. He was awarded £963,000 in shares as a bonus this year, despite the fact that RBS is still struggling and 33,000 employees have lost their jobs. David Cameron claims there is nothing the government can do about this but that is clearly not true. The Independent revealed that there is nothing in Hester's contract that would prevent the government denying him a bonus. There have been claims that the RBS board would have resigned but so what? They are not the only people who can run a bank. The fact is that the government is taking sides and its not our side, its the bankers side. They are putting the interests of capitalists above our interests. RBS is clearly not being run in the national interest. The bank should be fully nationalised and turned into a green national investment bank to make the loans that businesses need to help create jobs. That is something that RBS and the other private sector banks are failing to do.