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Mervyn ponders abolition of banking as we know it

Paul Mason | 20:00 UK time, Monday, 25 October 2010

Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, has tonight made a big intervention into the debate on banking reform. In a speech at Buttonwood, New York, he describes the Basel III bank regulations as inadequate and proposes a much more radical structural breakup of the banks:

"If [Basel III] is a giant leap for the regulators of the world, it is only a small step for mankind. Basel III on its own will not prevent another crisis."

Surveying the various proposals for higher taxes, levies, higher capital holdings etc -and the idea of "living wills" for banks that are too big to fail, King says:

"But taxes, the Basel capital requirements, special arrangements for systemically important financial institutions and enhanced resolution procedures all have drawbacks and are unlikely to do the job perfectly."

This leads him to a list of much more radical proposals.

1. Forcing the riskiest banks to hold capital "several times the magnitude" of requirements at present.
2. The Volcker rule-style enforced breakup of banks into speculative and non-speculative arms.
3. The "Kotlikoff proposal", which forces banks to match each pool of risks with a requisite amount of capital, preventing losses in one spilling over into another.
4. Stunningly, Mervyn King imagines the "abolition of fractional reserve banking":

"Eliminating fractional reserve banking explicitly recognises that the pretence that risk-free deposits can be supported by risky assets is alchemy. If there is a need for genuinely safe deposits the only way they can be provided, while ensuring costs and benefits are fully aligned, is to insist such deposits do not co-exist with risky assets."

King does not advocate any of these radical plans - but the fact that he goes out of his way to list them, and to place them on the agenda of the UK's Independent Commission on Banking, means that we are not yet at the end of the debate about long-term reform of the banks. It may take years, even decades says King, but:

"This crisis has already left a legacy of debt to the next generation. We must not leave them the legacy of a fragile banking system too."

Beyond the technicalities, the fact that a central banker in a G7 country is prepared to imagine such outcomes is itself significant. Imagine the head of the UK Armed Forces floating the idea of a Swiss-style militia and giving up the nuclear deterrent and you get a sense of the scale of blue skies thinking the formerly "unswervin' Mervyn" is doing.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    FUD - Fear, uncertainty and doubt.

    Raise various alternatives, warn about the inherent dangers in each and then, after years of meetings in New York, London, Zurich, the Caymans, some other nice places that have 5-star hotels and first class travel to and from London, you do nothing.

    G and Ts all round. Time for another bonus. Fooled the masses again.

    Did Merv fly economy class to New York? Is he lunching at Dennys even as we blog? I hope he is doing his bit in this age of austerity.

  • Comment number 2.

    So is Mervyn backing Vince against George in this debate. He is suggesting separating the casino from the bog standard deposit based banking service. Much of the last few years has to be unwound - appointing chef de casinos to run virtually all of the banking industry and allowing Lloyds to incorporate Halifax into a banking mammoth that will be too big to fail. How long do people think these radical proposals will get serious consideration. The government should exploit the current public ownership of two of the banks and introduce supervision rather than regulation.

  • Comment number 3.

    Mervyn King's list:

    1. Forcing the riskiest banks to hold capital "several times the magnitude" of requirements at present. Yes, this would be great. Basel III has been structured for basic requirements only.
    2. The Volcker rule-style enforced breakup of banks into speculative and non-speculative arms. Mandatory. Break mom & pop away from investment banks, segregate investing from normal everyday banking.
    3. The "Kotlikoff proposal", which forces banks to match each pool of risks with a requisite amount of capital, preventing losses in one spilling over into another. Absolutely.
    4. Stunningly, Mervyn King imagines the "abolition of fractional reserve banking". Actually frational reserve banking isn't half as bad as fiat banking. Fractional has at least some value behind its currency while fiat has none, knows it has none, and keeps printing worthless fiat money anyway. Fiat money should = white-collar crime.
    5. "Eliminating fractional reserve banking explicitly recognises that the pretence that risk-free deposits can be supported by risky assets is alchemy. If there is a need for genuinely safe deposits the only way they can be provided, while ensuring costs and benefits are fully aligned, is to insist such deposits do not co-exist with risky assets."
    Right on!.
    How risky does Mr. King believe fiat money is?
    The UK has a long way to go to regulate & reform its financial institutions, but this reform must occur before coporate or business reform can happen becuase the money supply must be loose, though tightly regulated and above-all: trusted.
    "This crisis has already left a legacy of debt to the next generation. We must not leave them the legacy of a fragile banking system too."

    This is not blue-sky thinking. Make it happen!

  • Comment number 4.

    "4. Stunningly, Mervyn King imagines the "abolition of fractional reserve banking":

    "Eliminating fractional reserve banking explicitly recognises that the pretence that risk-free deposits can be supported by risky assets is alchemy. If there is a need for genuinely safe deposits the only way they can be provided, while ensuring costs and benefits are fully aligned, is to insist such deposits do not co-exist with risky assets."


    But does this mean anything more than "if you want to deposit money into a secure account with us with almost zero risk, you'll have to pay us for that service?" which is pretty much in Bill form already isn't it? A new excuse for bank charges.

  • Comment number 5.

    No fractional reserve banking is being considered. And if there is sound money backed by something real (gold/silver) then there is absolutely no need for a central bank.

    Interest rates will be set by the market.

    This will actually end major distortions as a result of credit booms. i.e. the boom and bust cycles and the credit/business cycle will be no more.

    Investment banks benefiting from discount windows and newly created money will no longer be able to speculate and benefit from the proximity to the source of inflation (growing monetary base) transferring wealth from the hard working classes and middle classes to the elites and their friends/pocket politicians.

    If Mervin is really considering this, he's talking himself out of a job. Good on him.

    I fear that the suicide bankers will gorge on the remaining carcass before allowing this to happen though.

  • Comment number 6.

    Hallelujah!

    This is a U-turn of historic proportions, atoning for the damage Montagu Norman did in 1925 in pushing Churchill back to the pre-war gold standard!

    We need two suitable cartoons like these:

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=45408&id=100000501614735&l=1a6090654b

    The first involving Papa Montagu and Master Winston, and the second involving Papa Eddie and Master George!

  • Comment number 7.

    This might indeed be significant! I can't quite evaluate the significance at the moment, but I will later.

    Holy Cow!

  • Comment number 8.

    DEFINITIVE DAVE SPELLS OUT REALITY

    Discrepancy Dave told the CBI that a high-growth economy is like an ECO SYSTEM. I wonder if 'Craven A for your Health's Sake' Clegg, wrote that one for him! He could use the slogan: 'GET GROWTH - GET CANCER!'

    Surely the viability of an eco-system relies on ZERO GROWTH and total recycling of materials.

  • Comment number 9.

    Here's another radical proposal: take the banks into public ownership with no shareholder compensation & start by writing off every mortgage.

    I think King knows the crisis hasn't finished.
    Indeed, it's only just begun.

  • Comment number 10.

    Maybe Merv will get a better reception from the Unions next time ?

    Will these proposals bring capital out from eternally deferred pseudo time and into the temporal world we share ? Only with some provision for time limiting debt, be it loan stock or equity. In this way the liability is shared more equitably between creditor and debtor. Mervyn needs to explain how his proposals will achieve this, and how they will overcome the disconnect between money and the real economy.

  • Comment number 11.

    Lost Ivor the Engine reels found in a pig sty

    'Nearly 40 rusty reels of videotape were discovered under a “large pile of steaming mess” in the disused sty.

    The 16mm footage is thought to have been stashed away by the late Oliver Postgate, creator of both Ivor the Engine and Bagpuss, who died in 2008.'


    Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/10/26/lost-ivor-the-engine-reels-found-in-a-pig-sty-91466-27541321/


    I think this is the most important news of the week. Puts the economy into perspective - there's a lesson in here somewhere Mr. King.

  • Comment number 12.

    @8 Barrie - I agree - and the cancer analogy is perfect!

    @6 Me - I meant Papa Mervyn and not Papa Eddie.

    If Britain does abolish Fractional Reserve banking, then we will have to impose exchange controls against countries who don't. Otherwise foreign financial institutions will be able to destabilise the British ecomomy with manufactured money.

  • Comment number 13.

    To the extent that Governor of the BofE counts for anything in the global banking system, is this not a form of waving the big stick? The message to banks is that he doubts that the Basel III proposals are likely to be enough in the long run (in so much as any regulation of banks is likely to be bomb proof). The recent crisis shows that where profit is pursued there will always be a way around the regs (just reading Gillian Tett's excellent book 'Fools Gold' which narrates the gaming of Basel II using complex instruments the regulators little understood, and the demise of Glass Steagall. When policing the Wild West there was a need for a capable sheriff, gun toting deputies and a strong Jail for the miscreants. No sign of that yet in global banking. The regs will always be one step behind, controlling structures that already exist and not the banking products that have yet to be thought of.

  • Comment number 14.

    King sat on his hands when he could have stopped the UK boom. He can't influence globally, so the end result is the same. ie King gets another nice tea and a big house.

    Invest in Merv's neck - it's made of brass and it's the safest asset around.

  • Comment number 15.

    #3 BluesBerry

    I think you are right to raise the issue of fiat money.

    Both the central banks & commercial banks create money.
    Almost certainly for the West, more money is created than productive 'value'.
    It is also probable that this is the case on a world scale, despite the huge increases in production coming from China & the like.

    This is the argument about fictitious capital & asset-price inflation.
    The banks have huge sums of money that they can't invest productively.

    The law of value will eventually assert itself (as it tried to in 2008) & huge amounts of capital will get devalued/destroyed.

  • Comment number 16.

  • Comment number 17.

    "9. At 07:12am on 26 Oct 2010, duvinrouge wrote:
    Here's another radical proposal: take the banks into public ownership with no shareholder compensation & start by writing off every mortgage."

    The shareholders are a) international and b) will include pension funds.
    So, who would that public be, and which country could do it? You'll recall that all the UK Government ever did with banks here was take a share holding, they didn't even try to manage them..

    How many people who post here want their thoughts/beliefs etc to be true and will hold on to them regardless? Once people face that question and its answer honestly they'll better appreciate the scale of the problem which exists elsewhere.


    IT'S THE INTENSIONAL (FILL IN THE GAPS) LANGUAGE, STUPID

    Mervyn ponders abolition of banking as we know it

    And as with a Rorschach, the usual suspects here leap to read into that what they like, just as the speech writers hoped they would. What do they want, and end to FRB, what does that mean....ermmm... bank charges on some deposit accounts. Bank charges for deposits would be an end to banking as we know it would it not?.

    The irony is, I could be Mr King himself saying so on this blog, and yet the usual suspects would be STILL arguing.

    Narcissism - it's endemic, and for some its a useful quality to selectively reinforce in consumers

  • Comment number 18.

    "We're all in this together"': Translation: "We are definitely NOT in this together, as all the tax data and borrowing/credit data shows, but as there are far more of you than there are of us, and as we are cleverer and more devious than you are, you will have to pay to get us out of the mess which we have created, and guess what, you gave us a democratic mandate to do it, you schmucks".

  • Comment number 19.

    they have no mandate, they have no right, it will lead to the same unpleasantness when the Lady said 'let them eat cake'

  • Comment number 20.

    tn02 wrote:

    'In response to business pressure (for consumers), the right-wing libertarians soften their stance on the immigration cap:'


    EU’S DEAL WITH INDIA WILL LET IN MORE MIGRANTS
    http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/207558/EU-s-deal-with-India-will-let-in-more-migrants-/

    "Such a deal would give skilled Indian computer experts, engineers and managers an easy way into Europe in return for better access for EU companies to India’s MASSIVE DOMESTIC MARKET.
    Critics expect Britain to be a major destination because of historical ties, the English language and large number of Indian firms already established here, who would find it easier to import staff."

    The profit chasing libertarians are very devious indeed.

  • Comment number 21.

    Here's another unacceptable face of banking:

    Israeli banks provide the financial infrastructure for all activities of companies, governmental agencies and individuals in the continuing occupation of Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights. The services provided by the banks support and sustain these activities.

    http://www.whoprofits.org/Newsletter.php?nlid=59

  • Comment number 22.

    Yes, Paul, I agree that Mervyn is signalling an important institutional approach. Bearing in mind that the BoE is now the macro-prudential regulator and will, through the new Financial Policy Committee, control the banking environment I cant see how the Banking Commission will not pay some close attention to what the regulator is saying. International agreement is the key issue. I hope no-one holds their breath.If anyone has heard the pro-bank language of Andrew Tyrie recently ( Treasury committee chairman) I doubt they will expect change anytime within the next decade or two!

  • Comment number 23.

    MORE DATA (ONS)

    See how the population was falling, the low birth rate?

    Under 16 Males
    Thousands
    1971 7,318
    1981 6,439
    1991 5,976

    Then the immigration surge:

    Thousands
    2001 6,077
    2011 5,949
    2016 6,128
    2021 6,411
    2026 6,489

    Now note the proportion the under 16s comprise by ethnic group:

    White British 18%
    Mixed " 51%
    Indian " 20%
    Pakistani " 34%
    Bangladeshi " 36%
    Black Caribbean " 20%
    Black African " 33%
    Other Black " 37%
    Chinese 2 12%
    All ethnic groups 19%

    Note carefully e relationship between ability (skills) and fertility?
    The Chinese British are top in schools, then Indians and then White and so on...

    What we are seeing is the importing and breeding of undiscriminating consumers which we are told is good for some people's economy. Whose?

    Was there ever an alternative?

  • Comment number 24.

    merv should join the red of the FBU on the barricades :)

    fractional reserve banking should be used to fund risk not consumption. that was its original intention but the bankers got greedy.

  • Comment number 25.


    "19. At 3:43pm on 26 Oct 2010, stevie wrote:
    they have no mandate, they have no right, it will lead to the same unpleasantness when the Lady said 'let them eat cake'"

    They do have a mandate stevie, and that means the police will have to do as they command, which means that any unpleasantness will just be met with the same kind of response which the miners received in the 80s. Mind you, these days most of those complaining will either be women, or not too smart other people. The women will probably just wave rude placards whilst making sure that their makeup look right for the camera ;-)..

  • Comment number 26.


    20. At 4:24pm on 26 Oct 2010, DebtJuggler wrote:

    "Such a deal would give skilled Indian computer experts, engineers and managers an easy way into Europe .."

    Still, able Indians (like able Chinese or any group) aren't generally the problem. In fact, they tend to be model citizens and so are welcomed. The problem is more subtle in that it's high fertility, but low ability South Asians and Africans (and not all of them). It's really not a race, but a gene pool issue. If we get that wrong, the same problems which we see blighting their home countries will be gradually replicated here, to neither their nor anyone else's advantage here, including non White British citizens. Many of the latter will say this too as they know it to be true. We need far more honest and intelligent talk about this, both here in the blog, from the BBC journalists, and from politicians. Instead we get vague euphemisms and sanctimonious PC rubbish which is highly destructive through the negligence and dysgenesis which it licences, often in favour of selfish consumerism.

  • Comment number 27.

    ONS Demographics:

    World demographic indicators, 2005–2010
    Pop x 1000 TFR
    Asia 4,167 2.35
    Africa 1,033 4.61
    Europe 732 1.50
    Latin Am/Carrib 587 2.26
    North America 352 2.04
    Oceania 36 2.44
    World 6,909 2.56

    Note TFR (birth rate per woman on average) of 2.1 is required to replace a couple, i.e to prevent population DECLINE! Notice anything REALLY important? This renders much of modern politics trivial claptrap. There is a relationship. With ability goes infertility (low birth rate) WHY?
    What are the consequences ECONOMICALLY (see Africa).

    A TFR of 1.3 means a population HALVES in 60 years. Bear in mind that the European figure is INFLATED by immigrant births.

  • Comment number 28.

    Funnily enough Mervyn King has already started the take over of the UK government. Nearly a quarter of the UK government's debt £200bn is owed to the Bank of England. See the latest quarterly review from the Office for Debt Management;

    http://www.dmo.gov.uk/index.aspx?page=publications/Quarterly_Reviews

    When you add in the additional £28bn of government debt owed to RBS, it quickly becomes apparent that the UK national debt is not nearly as big as is customarily thought.
    Interest payments are no higher than their level in the year 2000, and close to 30% of those interest payments are simply transferred from one government department to another!

  • Comment number 29.

    So, I take I am the only one who has spotted an uncanny resemblance between Merv King and Jones the Steam?

    "What's that Ivor? Fraction-reserve banking is what got us into this mess! Oh, I had better put a stop to that! Look, here comes Mr Dinwiddy... I wonder who that is with him... I think it is Mr. DiddledUsAll."

    I am going to have a lie down now.

  • Comment number 30.

    "29. At 8:30pm on 26 Oct 2010, tawse57 wrote:
    So, I take I am the only one who has spotted an uncanny resemblance between Merv King and Jones the Steam?"

    FRB is almost co-extensive with liberal-democracy and its capitalism so that's not going to go away unless we embrace Islam and/or socialism.
    Given the way our populations are going demographically. Based on demographic projections and world population figures and TFRs, that might well happen once there's nobody left who's able to run and feed FRB.

    Maybe people can't see that it's just a mater of numbers and time?

  • Comment number 31.

    #29 tawse57 wrote:

    'So, I take I am the only one who has spotted an uncanny resemblance between Merv King and Jones the Steam?'

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/2010/10/mervyn_king_says_banking_must.html

    I still can't believe that they let that one through!

  • Comment number 32.

    It will be a sorry day for us all when Jones the Steam and Ivor the Enginer are censored by the BBC.

    Before you know it we would be reading reports of Noggin the Nog's bank swindling billions from British savers. A slippery slope to finding out that Captain Pugwash is a submarine commander.

  • Comment number 33.

    ....and Mervyn King looks like the soup dragon.

  • Comment number 34.

    @32 ...Captain Pugwash is a submarine commander.

    But Cutthroat Jake is a hedge fund manager!

  • Comment number 35.

    That makes Gorgeous George a Clanger, I suppose....

    The big question is when does the regulation of the banking industry pass the point where it threatens the very nature of the capitalist system itself?

    If the constraints put in to protect the rest of us from the very real risk of the entire system collapsing may have the effect of so restricting the operation of the financial markets that they can no longer operate sufficiently flexibly to provide the investment and financing the system requires and so threatens the world economy, we would appear to have reached an impasse.

    At which point I suspect there will be a flight to offshore failed - or near-failed - states where the constraints either won't apply or can be ignored, but in the long run I suspect the whole basis of banking must change, if we can't regulate it to remove unacceptable risk without making the whole thing unworkable.

    The idea of atomising banking into MUCH smaller units and forcing them to specialise into retail and non-retail banking and having to hold insurance against failure would at least mean that the taxpayer could be shielded from picking up the tab for the too-big-to-fail banks, but I'd suspect all that would happen is that instead of a few large banks coming cap in hand, we'd have a large group of them making common cause to hold us to ransom all over again...

    We need to get back to boring banking - we need to reverse the sale of the building societies and re-establish a big mutual sector in the UK. We need to set up a not-for-profit Community Bank, run through the Post Office. We need to put in place severe penalties for the individuals involved in taking huge risks with other peoples' money - previous cultures imposed branding, maiming and very painful deaths - debtors prisons were vile place of suffering - why? Because they recognised the threat to everyone abuse to the system posed.

    Why do we have serious penalties for someone who fiddles a few hundred pounds on their welfare benefits, but we let those who ran RBS etc into the ground at the cost of billions to the nation off completely scot-free?

    The whole idea of private companies is that they belong to their shareholders and are run by Directors who represent them. This is a myth - most shareholders are institutions who are virtually supine in terms of holding companies accountable for their actions - yet they are supposed to be accountable to the millions of people whose pension funds and savings are invested in them.

    In practice directors seek to maximise the profits and are prepared to take big risks to make money. Ditto the managers - motivated by performance related pay & bonuses. This is an unaccountable structure based on hard wiring risk into the system - a system that in practice is only accountable to regulators, who allowed those in control to run amok.

    Clearly UK PLC needs a banking system - clearly that means retail banking and it means so commercial banking. We have allowed the globalised commercial sector to get far too big, in return for the taxes it pays UK PLC. This is a faustian deal - so we sup with the devil, but no matter how long the spoon is, so long as we expose ourselves to "temptation", we cannot be surprised if "evil" follows.

    I think we'd be well rid of the global financial services industry in the City, if we could show them the door - it's a cancer that has grown bloated whilst the fundamentals of manufacturing have gone by the board.

  • Comment number 36.

    For my sins I once worked in The City - believe me, bankers are boring.

    I long ago concluded that all the money they make will not make a single one of them interesting. The material existence they have created for themselves - this is the life they will have flash before their eyes one day.

    I think all the buying of material things, the getting drunk on expensive bottles of bubbly and hanging around lap-dancing bars sticking fifty pound notes in the thongs of nubile dancers, is some subconcious primeval need to try and get a personality or life before they die.

    When I worked in The City, albeit briefly, a part of me died each day. I think, deep within each banker, is a remmant of Humanity screaming out to live before it dies.

  • Comment number 37.

    @36 "I think, deep within each banker, is a remmant of Humanity screaming out to live before it dies."

    You seem to be speaking of some kind of spiritual undeadness - what kind of stake though the heart would finally set them free?

  • Comment number 38.

    Look at Figure 6.10 in ONS Social Trends 40. The source is the Bank of England. What is net lending to 'individuals' exactly?. What about big property developers using dwellings as collateral for loans?

    How do we know domestic mortgagees and credit card holders aren't being misled/abused into believing that they're responsible for massive loans for property development by the like of the Tchen guiz-brothers who have since been blown out by the banks who know the collateral was no good, just a bubble? Look into who they are, and look into Panorama this week.

    Study the graph and data carefully

    Also, see Europe's changing Birth rate from the 70s.

    Table 1.16
    Demographic indicators: selected EU countries1
    1970 2005–2010
    Germany 1.64 1.32
    France 2.31 1.89
    United Kingdom 2.44 1.94
    Italy 2.35 1.38
    Netherlands 2.06 1.74
    Belgium 2.02 1.77
    Denmark 1.97 1.84
    Ireland 3.82 1.96
    Luxembourg 1.72 1.66

    Conclusion - not a lot of happy bunnies (especially Italy and Germany, and Spain is similar). Time to wake up to what matters?

  • Comment number 39.

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_social/Social-Trends40/ST40_
    2010_FINAL.pdf

    Download the file ONS Social Trends 40. Go to Table/figure 5.12 and 5.14. Click on figure 5.14 to download the data file as an Excel file.
    Then look at how they have created it as Series A and Series B (hard to add up eh?). So, make it all one column by highlighting the dead Series A cells and move the cells left so you end up with just one column, Then insert a blank at the end, and total up the cells. How many million 'individuals' do you get? Pay particular attention to the 3 million or so on over £48,000 a year (£1000 pw) see Graph footnote? 5.12.

    Then ask:

    Q1. what is the total population of UK (60m)?
    Q2. What is the size of the workforce (28m)

    What does this chart mean? What do IDS's remarks about fairness of income distribution mean?

    What is the average household income? 14m Home OWNERS, how many households?

    I don't believe journalists and politicians have a clue what they are talking about most of the time, literally. They assume viewers/the electorate will pat themselves on the back thinking they understand.
    This is intensional opacity at work. The logic of Intensional opacity is all about inequalities (Leibniz' Law). It's about identities.

  • Comment number 40.

    37. At 12:16pm on 27 Oct 2010, Sasha Clarkson wrote:
    @36 "I think, deep within each banker, is a remmant of Humanity screaming out to live before it dies."

    You seem to be speaking of some kind of spiritual undeadness - what kind of stake though the heart would finally set them free?



    Banking, like Wall Street, is largely a crucifix free zone. Those left are now largely Catholics, and the ruse there was get the opposition to dumb themselves down by sucking their intelligentsia into a sterile profession. The bottom line is there aren't the staff with enough brains to be able to put the stakes in. They're either Catholics, anarchists or 'terrorists'.

  • Comment number 41.

    #37 Sasha Clarkson wrote:

    You seem to be speaking of some kind of spiritual undeadness - what kind of stake though the heart would finally set them free?


    -----

    LMAO!

  • Comment number 42.

    Wecome to the Sammy Scheme. Like a Ponzi, only at state level !

    http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2010/10/27/385191/introducing-the-sammy-scheme/

    (mods - this may be behind ft's paywall, but they usually let you have a free peek )

  • Comment number 43.

    Strangely the title of your post reminded me of Star Trek and I played out a quick comedy sketch in my minds eye where a bunch of alien bankers were passing by our class 3 planet and examining our systems of value governance as part of their first year studies in responsible governance.

    '' Its banking Mervyn, but not as we know it''

    Perhaps merv is an alien, he is certainly acting like one.

    I do hope he is.

  • Comment number 44.

    @37 Sasha

    "I think, deep within each banker, is a remmant of Humanity screaming out to live before it dies."

    You seem to be speaking of some kind of spiritual undeadness - what kind of stake though the heart would finally set them free?

    @38 tn02
    Study the graph and data carefully

    go figure

  • Comment number 45.

    WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER?

    UK boardroom pays leaps 55% in a year
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/oct/28/uk-boardroo-pay-soars

    Britain's bosses have been accused of ignoring economic reality after boardroom pay leapt by 55% over the last year. FTSE 100 directors saw their total earnings soar in the 12 months to June, thanks to sharp rises in bonuses and performance-related pay. The average FTSE 100 chief executive now earns £4.9m a year, or almost 200 times the average wage.

    ---------------------

    Still, I suppose it's only what they deserve after successfully transferring all of their private debt onto the dim/unwitting tax payers of the UK!

    Dimocracy at work.

  • Comment number 46.

    Here's a link to the introduction to Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy By Raghuram Rajan. Very interesting. I'll have to save my pocket money to buy a copy. It seems that the main arguments to overcome the fault lines from the crisis is to decrease social inequality and to wean ourselves off export-led products. It doesn't seem too far off Buddhist economics.

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=2RB3j_YfEg0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=rajan+fault+lines&source=bl&ots=ZBHfgo3xof&sig=oARiF74HNfWyjM9lQqPBKIvvFQY&hl=en&ei=eqHJTMaNJsuTjAe1vIAC&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CC0Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q&f=false

  • Comment number 47.

    Premier League stars using loophole to save millions in tax

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/premier-league-stars-using-loophole-to-save-millions-in-tax-2118289.html

    Experts in the football industry have told The Independent that around 75 per cent of Premier League clubs are now using a scheme known as EFRBS to allow players to avoid up to 50 per cent of income tax. It has come into the mainstream over the last 18 months as clubs try to find a way around the problem of losing out to clubs from across Europe on players put off by the new 50 per cent top level of income tax that will be introduced in April.
    It is understood that many leading Premier League clubs, including Manchester City and Chelsea, have used EFRBS – employer-financed retirement benefit schemes – in order to make their offers to players even more attractive. Completely legal, the scheme allows players to sacrifice up to 50 per cent of their wages at source to be placed in a trust that is set aside for their retirement.
    It was first used by City bankers to avoid paying tax on their bonuses but has become very popular with footballers after the Inland Revenue closed down the "image rights" loophole that was used to great effect in the late 1990s and early part of the last decade to give predominantly foreign players tax relief.

  • Comment number 48.

    As I wrote in response to an earlier post, Mervyn King is at least not delusional and sociopathic. Unlike most of his fellow bankers, best examplefied by the head of Goldman Sachs who claimed that he and his ilk are "doing god's work". It certainly is 'God's work' if you genuflect at the alter of market fundamentalism - count me as an atheist.

    King rightly could be worried that the banking system as developed over particularly the last 30 years is leaving our children with a suicidal legacy of environmental degradation, barbaric labour exploitation on the one hand and criminal waste on the other, the return to a feudal organisation of industry via corporatisation, escalation of wars and sectarian conflict... If banking as we know it is not abolished I fear we will not survive much beyond the next century as a species.

    Or maybe he doesn't think of all this but simply the massive fraud which is becoming more are more apparent and difficult to cover up.

    I am increasingly worried that the left here just doesn't get it, because it doesn't understand (or has never properly considered) the question of what money is, and what bankers do. I know I didn't and neither did my comrades throughout my feminist-trotskyist 1980s. Yesterday Ellen Brown came out with the best and most concise explanation here: http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/time-for-a-new-theory-of-money

    Rather than hysteria about the Tea Party (which started as a reasonable populist reaction against the bank bail-outs, now perverted into supporting bizarre self-defeating stances by corporate interests) it would be refreshing to hear about the not-so-new, but nevertheless refreshing, ideas now coming out of the US about banking and money. There is a huge discussion going on there about gold vs fiat money, which is really about what is credit, and about how to control the creation of of it. Which is ultimately about how we control our resources, both in terms of labour and environment.

    James Robertson is trying very hard over here to get these ideas out into public discussion but Paul: next time you go to the States could you please interview people like Ellen Brown, or Yves Smith of NakedCapitalism.com, the people behind zerohedge.com or even old Stephen Zerlinga of the American Monetary Institute, who's been trying to get a monetary reform bill considered in the US Congress for many years now.

    These people have ideas and an understanding of what is going on in the US and world economy which go beyond the old concepts of "capital" on the left and (rigged) "market forces" on the right. They can help answer King's challenge to come up with a sane banking system in a way that the TUC and all political parties have entirely failed to do.

  • Comment number 49.

    All credit to Mervyn King for floating the idea of an end to fractional reserve banking. Whether banks or government should be able to create money at will, at our expense (and invariably hand it over to the rich elite) needs serious questioning.

  • Comment number 50.

    I think, deep within each banker, is a remmant of Humanity screaming out to live before it dies [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

 

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