Britain is, and remains for all the rhetoric of Conservative and Labour, a two nation society…

So Labour is drifting, according to the polls.  The Observer yesterday put some bones on to why that may be happening. Or rather it explained why to some extent there is no real substance to Labour’s UK opposition…

Today’s Opinium/Observer poll shows Labour dropping three percentage points from two weeks ago to 36%, taking its lead over the Tories to only seven points. Some senior figures in the party suggest that Labour’s silence for much of the summer is symptomatic of a lack of resources and forward planning – the email sent to shadow ministers in July asked for ideas, not necessarily fully worked-out ones, by the end of the next day. More worrying still, others say the lack of response to that rather panicky email suggests a party devoid of fresh thinking.

Michael Meacher MP, a minister for the environment under Tony Blair, is not necessarily of that mind. He is a firm supporter of Miliband, voted for him over his brother David in the leadership election three years ago, and believes in him. But his frustration at a lack of counter-narrative to the Tory message of austerity, in particular, is widely shared within the Labour ranks. “I would like the Labour party to speak out more strongly about the positive alternative,” Meacher told the Observer. “Maybe it will when the manifesto comes to be published, but there is, I think, a lack of wider discussion and a bit of a void.”

Meanwhile, according to Danny Kruger, David Cameron has only the election in his sights, and having resiled from any sturdy political defence of his own big pre-election idea of ‘the Big Society’, or indeed much in the way of restarting that other big stick they used to hit Gordon Brown’s Labour with, they’ve resorted to squeezing the poor on the housing issue and sending vans round immigrant neighbourhoods asking the illegal ones to go home.

The trouble for Labour is that the same issues are as likely to bind them into just as large a twist. As Iain Martin notes, the system still favours Labour, and the poll lead is still seven per cent (which Electoral Calculus currently transposes into a 90 seat majority):

The Labour leader needs a rethink, and fast. While he dealt relatively well with the recent row about trade union influence over Labour candidate selection, on the big subjects on which the next election is likely to be fought his party seems to have perilously little to say that might cut through in the country.

If the economic recovery does pick up, and employment continues to grow, Labour will have lost its central line of attack against Mr Cameron. The huge hit that Britons have taken in terms of falling living standards since the financial crisis offers an opening, but if there is any sign of recovery by polling day then Mr Cameron will campaign on asking voters whether they want to jeopardise hard-won improvements by gambling on Mr Miliband.

Equally, on welfare, despite several attempts to recast his party’s welfare policy, it is still not clear what the party is trying to say in practical terms.

The loss of voice of Labour on anything but macro economic policies (a game which the Tories from the outset calculated would provide diminishing returns as the country drifted back towards stability if not prosperity) and Tory troubles is unnerving some insiders.

David Skelton, a founder of Renewal, a campaign to try and get the Tory party to make a serious appeal to working class and ethnic voters, argues that Labour’s attention has drifted from its northern heartland to the professional classes. In US parlance from the beer to wine drinkers:

That new reality is reflected in the voting figures. Only 57 per cent of skilled working-class voters voted at the last election, compared with 76 per cent of middle-class voters. The level of detachment from today’s Labour Party is illustrated by the fact that only 29 per cent of the skilled working class voted Labour – it was well over 50 per cent for Tony Blair’s first two victories. Ordinary working people have fallen out of love with a Labour Party that has relinquished any claim to be the People’s Party.

That much of David’s pitch is certainly true. Whether with policies like the bedroom tax affecting the poorer classes, the Conservatives are in a plausible position to generate new votes out of it is another matter. Neither large party is offering credible long term solutions to big problems like the housing crisis.

This is not an inconsequential problem. As Brian has noted, the UK’s population is on the rise:

Almost two-thirds of the growth came from natural population increase – the number of births minus the number of deaths. The remainder came from net migration, which was 165,600, down from 247,000 the previous year.

The government’s bedroom tax is an attempt to flip local populations within the rented sector to make better use of the current limited supply of properties. Anticipation of the Help to Buy scheme is already fueling something of a housing bubble (as John McDermott notes), this is impossible to avoid when “you increase demand in a supply-constrained market” (it also keeps labour supply high).

These are patchy, and may prove in the end to be nothing more than gimmicky tinkering with trickle down politics. Yet large scale social change often arises from the smallest changes in procedure.  Eva Wiseman in yesterday’s Observer exasperatedly notes

Who, in these times of zero-hours contracts still believes that the unemployed, the poor, the young, are simply not working hard enough? Who still believes that it is possible to buy a house on a single income, without an injection of family money?

A high proportion of those who have the vote and regularly use it have already jumped the gap and are clinging hopefully to some point of the property ladder. Many of them find it all too easy to believe.

Of those who don’t, very few trust the mainstream parties at all and would, if sufficiently motivated, shift out to the far right ideologues that talk directly to their distress without feeling the burden of having to offer any workable solutions.

Labour, to have a credible chance at government year after next, has to find someway of reconciling those two ends.

Their core problem is that Britain remains, for  all the rhetoric of Conservative and Labour, a two nation society…

, , , ,

  • Big Island Exile

    As a card carrying member, the lack of any big ideas coming out of the central council is worrying. Losing Tom Watson is a blow, but not fatal. It’s still 2 years out from the next election, so as long as he is replaced quickly and with someone as brutally manipulative as the Tories have with Crosby, we should be fine. Ever since Blair was elected we have taken working class votes for granted and I don’t blame them for feeling disconnected. You only have to look at the rise of UKIP, ordinary people are hurting in this recession, and they are looking for scapegoats to blame. So its immigrants and those on welfare that are taking the brunt of it. So any campaign needs to be founded on working and middle class concerns. They have done well to start switching it to living standards and away from blunt GDP growth figures, but it needs more than that.

    Thoughts on turning this around would be to take the idea of fairness and push it strongly.

    So instead of increasing the minimum wage, re-brand it as a Living Wage campaign. Spin it as a way of making it uneconomic for big employers to hire foreigners instead of local staff. The minimum wage at the moment, especially in the south east, is just an opportunity for rapacious employers to pay below subsistence wages and let the state pick up the balance with tax credits and housing benefit. A fair wage for a fair days work.

    Create a massive home building plan, funded directly by Bank of England QE. Set up not-for-profit companies, or use housing associations to get existing council housing stock renovated and new stock created. Set fair rents. Clamp down on buy to let by doubling the stamp duty on 2nd or more properties. Steal the Lib Dems mansion tax.

    Start the process of getting the link back between NI contributions and entitlements. It will take a generation, but if voters understand that there will be fairness built into the system, that if you contribute more you will receive more, then they will support it.

  • Greenflag

    ‘a party devoid of fresh thinking.’

    I’m trying to think of a political party in opposition anywhere in Europe or even North America where ‘fresh thinking ‘ has come up with practical policies which would quickly reverse the huge hit that Britons , Europeans and Americans have taken in terms of falling living standards since the financial crisis .

    Eva Wiseman’s article is not exasperating -she’s just relating truth .Although waiting for the next residential property meltdown In London before clambering onto the property ladder seems to indicate a level of desperation among some that might have gone unnoticed in the corridors of Westminster ..

    Which reference i.e Westminster reminds me that ‘fresh ‘ thinking or even any thinking has been absent from Governments not just at Westminster but in Dublin , Stormont, Berlin , Paris and even the USA Congress.

    The common factor which unites all of the above legislatures is that they have still not resolved at base the issue which has driven all of their economies into recession and that is the reform and restructuring of the financial sector such that that sector is seen to contributing to increasing ‘fairness ‘ within western societies instead of being just a niche paper money international scamming great ponzi scheme mainly dedicated to looting the majority of British people of any kind of economic future . And ditto for elsewhere in Europe and North America .

    As for Britain remaining a 2 nation society by which I’m guessing you mean the haves and have nots or the ubiquitous North South divide , or Blue /Red constituency graphics which now appear at every general election -the current situation is much more than that .

    It is that of course but there is also the fraying around the edges of Middle England as increasing numbers of Britons are now coming to terms with the fact that their ‘children ‘ may not enjoy a higher standard of living than their parents and in many cases will instead find themselves falling off the property ladder as the relentless squeeze on middle class incomes continues apace .

    Some of these folk are attracted to the UKIP scapegoat fantasy that somehow if the UK leaves the EU that all will be well and that Britain will recover it’s former standing in the economic GDP tables .

    That of course would just make matters worse -perhaps not for the current ‘haves ‘ within British society but certainly for the ‘have nots ‘.

  • Greenflag

    @ bigger island exile ,

    While I’m not up to date on Labour Party internal matters I can agree largely with your thoughts /suggestions described further on in your post .

    Voters don’t think in ‘generational ‘ terms .As Eva Wiseman wisely put it some have already forgotten the property meltdown of 2008 .

    In an age in which Trade Union ‘protection ‘ is no longer available to the mass of British/American /Irish workers in the private sector one would think that ‘a living wage ‘ policy would set the base floor on which a ‘fair ‘ society rather than a ‘Big ‘Society could be built .

    Compare the wages , benefits , working conditions , overtime rates etc of as an example the lower paid employees in the public sector with the ‘zero contract ‘ low paid in the private sector ?

    The threat of having to pay a living wage will unite the private sector and the usual threats of divestment a la ” I’m off to Switzerland where they respect my expertise in financial skullduggery ‘ will be seen on the front page of the Daily Mail as usual but then that was always so .

    Perhaps Labour are holding their fire until closer to the election . I sense that Cameron will be a one term PM at this stage and that even if there is a slight economic recovery ‘ the perception of Middle England will tilt to Labour not because they have become ‘enthusiastic ‘ Labour voters but simply because they are still disgusted by the fall out from the banking crisis . And while many would not vote for a Labour Party that would as former London Mayor Ken Livingstone suggested ‘hang a banksters week until they improve ‘ nevertheless they will vote against that party which has as it’s main backers those City of London interests .

  • Can anyone identify when we first became slaves to the banksters or, at least, milch cows to be drained relentlessly? Was it under Reagan or under Bush junior?

  • Mick Fealty

    If you are looking for someone to throw a custard pie at Joe, why not try Gordon Brown?

    In fact the bond market has been around since the Renaissance hit Italy… and along with it all its benefits and maddening and debilitating contractions…

    The latest crisis is because the ‘banksters’ lost touch with the risk of leaving it all up to the machines to slice and dice debt so that it seemed to disappear…

    And both major UK parties have to hold their hands up to that…

    Ah well, least there’s a canny Canuck in charge of the Bank of England now… 😉

  • erewhon

    RE: “Can anyone identify when we first became slaves to the banksters or, at least, milch cows to be drained relentlessly? Was it under Reagan or under Bush junior?”
    The standard answer to this question seems to be that it was from the time of creation of the US Federal Reserve. To research this view, watch Bill Still’s film “The Money Masters” or his more recent summary on the coded commentary embedded in the story of The Wizard of Oz.

    For a more historical and sociological view read “Debt – The First Five Thousand Years” by David Graeber.

  • erewhon

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swkq2E8mswI is the link for “The Secret of Oz”. I see that a new film on these topics has been funded on kickstarter http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/191063619/jekyll-island-the-documentary?ref=search

    The focus of the film is to be:
    “This year — 2013 — is the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Federal Reserve System. This was a system which was sold to the public as a way to create stability for the U.S. financial system, but, in fact, just the reverse has been true. The film examines the roots of the Federal Reserve System and what was put in place at the secretive Jekyll Island meeting in 1910 where it was given birth?

    Until we recognize what the basic problem is – in every nation – we certainly can’t fix it. In fact, nothing any national government does will fix the problem, and all of us will see mounting debts and sinking standards of living. Our children will inherit this mess, and it will get worse every single year.”

  • Big Island Exile

    @ Greenflag

    You’re right that the protection that unions used to give workers has eroded. But the perception that the public sector is feather bedded compared to the private is not the case these days.

    Much of the public sector is being hollowed out by outsourcing, started under Blair right enough. The government couldn’t function without the likes of Serco and G4S, and their subcontractors wouldn’t be on the sort of terms and conditions that the old civil service used to be. The Tories and their friends in industry said that the minimum wage would cost jobs when Labour first proposed it. They were wrong. Unless workers have money in their pockets at the end of the month then forget about any sort of recovery. Unless that is they start borrowing cash to consume more, and we know where that got us last time.

  • Greenflag

    @Big island exile ,

    ‘Unless workers have money in their pockets at the end of the month then forget about any sort of recovery. ‘

    And add to that a recovery in construction at least in Ireland & USA . It was Henry Ford (arch capitalist of the old school ) who increased his employees wages to $5 a week so that his employees could afford to buy his cars .

    Re the public sector at least in Ireland the upper echelons of the Civil Service have done very well riding the back of the ‘Celtic ‘Tiger as did the politicians . The latter are still paid vastly more than their British or German equivalents which should be a national scandal but isn’t ?

    ‘Unless that is they start borrowing cash to consume more, and we know where that got us last time’

    Last time and next time . I read that American educational debt i.e student loans for college is now over one trillion dollars and has overtaken consumer credit debt , and is second only to total mortgage debt – thus putting a ball and chain on future generations of ‘consumers ‘ At the same time wages and salaries have stagnated and massive unemployment means that the next American ‘ponzi ‘ is underway 🙁

    I’m aware that much of the public sector has been hollowed out in the past few years I’ve just come across a German joke/comment (yes they exist ) on the intractable existential conundrum of our times namely what is politics and what is it for ?

    I’ll post it later on this thread .

    .

  • Greenflag

    ‘The latest crisis is because the ‘banksters’ lost touch with the risk of leaving it all up to the machines to slice and dice debt so that it seemed to disappear…’

    A much sanitised version Mick . You could also add on the fact that the politicians ‘lost ‘ touch with the bankers about 20 years ago at least in any sense of understanding what was going on .

    “well, least there’s a canny Canuck in charge of the Bank of England now’

    I would’nt bet the mortgage on Carney as clean sweep broom . He’s a product of Goldman Sachs after all and may have ambitions of returning there when his Bank of England term runs out !

    I’ll start believing that the politicians mean business when I see Goldman Sachs and Bank of America being broken up into 20 separate smaller banks with a clear divide between commercial and personal banking and the rest.

  • Barnshee

    At the end of the day (over a modest period) Governments must raise what they want to spend via taxation — or borrow the difference.

    With the UK tax system taking some 40% or more of GDP ( and individual income) via the various local and national taxes, the limiting point is close if not already met.

    Governments have allowed parts of the public sector to run amok— It has taken years to create this mess. It will take years to get out of it-if ever.

  • Kevsterino

    The bailout of the investment bankers, on this side of the pond at least, will not be paid off in my lifetime, at least. And many of those goofballs got 7 digit bonuses that year!

    Off with their heads.

  • tacapall

    “Can anyone identify when we first became slaves to the banksters or, at least, milch cows to be drained relentlessly? Was it under Reagan or under Bush junior”

    I thought you knew your own history Joe if you look a lot closer to home and do a little research into what Orangemen would call the glorious revolution you will find that it was in fact the emergence of the modern capitalist banking system, the Bank of England forerunner to the Federal Reserve, created by investors and slave traders like the East India trading company who financed the foundations of corporate UK. That area of land the quislings of parliament at the time handed over to those investors and slave traders is the tax haven and headquarters today of the majority of the global financial institutions and the major global corporations that control every aspect of our lives today.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Governments have allowed parts of the public sector to run amok’

    I thought Margaret Thatcher sorted all that out when she reduced the public sector percentage by 1.5 % during her term only to increase it back up again by the time she was forced into resignation ?

  • Greenflag

    In her defence those on the neo con right could say that she at least let loose the dogs of deregulation in banking and the public services which gave the UK some 4 million unemployed if memory serves me right and enabled the City to go berserk in an orgy of greed and fraud which has left the UK in it’s current state 🙁

  • Greenflag

    London 2013

    A son (10 years ) asks his father (a banker , CEO , politician) what is politics ?

    His father replies it’s really simple son . See I bring home the money from the City so I’m the capitalist . Your mother administers the money for necessary household expenditures so she is the Government . Your grandfather who lives with us keeps an eye on everything to make sure all is in order so he is the Union . Our housemaid is the working class . And all of us together are working for your well being . Thus it follows that you are the People . And your little baby sister lying in the cot is the Future .

    ‘Do you understand all of that my son ?

    The lad considers and finally says to his father that he would prefer to think it through again overnight .

    During the night the lad is awoken by the cries of his year old sister who has wet herself and is desirous of everybody hearing about her production . The lad doesn’t know what to do so he goes into his parents bedroom where he sees his mother and she is fast asleep and he is unable to wake her . So he then goes into the housemaids room where his father is occupied with the housemaid while the grandfather is looking through the window at the activity unnoticed by anybody bar the lad . They are all so busy that they don’t notice the young lad so he returns somewhat confused to his room to try to sleep and ponder on these events ..

    Next morning Father asks his son if he could now explain in a few words what politics is ?

    ”Yes ‘ father . Capitalism screws the working class while the Unions look on and the Government sleeps . The People are completely ignored while the Future lies in s**t ‘

    translated from the German -origin unknown but applicable everywhere from Athens to Anchorage .

  • Good one, Greenflag.

    To all, I do know the history of the capitalist system but surely the deregulation in the past 20 years or more allowed the banksters to run amok with other people’s money. Of course, many people were simply too greedy also and likely didn’t understand what a bubble is. No excuses for the economists.
    Carney may be a good head of the national bank. His tenure and controls applied by him in Canada meant that we didn’t suffer to the same extent as our southern neighbours during the recent depression. Our big banks weren’t allowed to do what the USA ones did and none required a government bail out.

  • Greenflag

    Yes Joe -Carney did a good job in Canada but then perhaps Canadian politicians were a more switched on than their British /Irish /American cousins ? The same can be said for the Dutch , Swedes and Danes and the Germans and some others . The Swedes had a major currency crisis in the 1990’s which ‘jolted ‘ them into erecting safeguards against potential financial sector led mayhem.

    The present crisis owes it’s origin to the broad ‘deregulation ‘ doctrine which started back in the mid 1970’s but first became popular with Reagan. Part of it was an attempt to get economic growth following the stagflation of the later 1970’s . The Chicago School of Economics and arch guru Milton Friedman together with his acolyte Alan Greenspan pushed the envelope further in the 1990s and following Clinton’s signing of the Glass Steagal Repeal in 1998 the dogs of financial mayhem were let loose .

    Running concurrently with the above were of course the new financial ‘inventions ‘ Collective Debt Obligations , Credit Default Swaps etc and increasing use of algorithms in devising what were called almost risk free no lose investments . The above eventually led to the stock exchange collapse and the property meltdown and mortgage foreclosure crises .

    And while I agree that many people were ‘greedy ‘ and over borrowed the sad fact is that the greediest of all were the irresponsible lenders who then passed on their lemons to others around the world from municipal authorities in Norway to merchant banks in Germany .

    Current Fed Reserve Chairman candidate Yellen is reputed to have warned of the dangers but her voice was muted . Others like ex fed Chairman Paul Volcker did note the dangers .

    http://ineteconomics.org/blog/new-york-times-ex-fed-chairman-paul-volcker-gives-financial-overhaul b grade

  • Greenflag,

    Thanks for that comprehensive reply.

  • DC

    Can anyone identify when we first became slaves to the banksters or, at least, milch cows to be drained relentlessly? Was it under Reagan or under Bush junior?

    This article (http://newleftreview.org/II/71/wolfgang-streeck-the-crises-of-democratic-capitalism) charts the progression of the banksters uber alles, it sets out four stages of post war capitalism:

    1) post-war Keynesianism i.e. governments attempting to manage the economy using the keynesian toolkit. then inflation bringing all of that to an end.

    2) Monetarism – good ole traditional public borrowing – the government indebts itself such as the government spending on public goods for us – the public.

    Inflation was conquered after 1979 (Figure 1) when Paul Volcker, newly appointed by President Carter as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, raised interest rates to an unprecedented height, causing unemployment to jump to levels not seen since the Great Depression. The Volcker ‘putsch’ was sealed when President Reagan, said to have initially been afraid of the political fallout of Volcker’s aggressive disinflation policies, was re-elected in 1984. Thatcher, who had followed the American lead, had won a second term in 1983, also in spite of high unemployment and rapid de-industrialization caused, among other things, by a restrictive monetary policy.

    The neoliberal era began with Anglo-American governments casting aside the received wisdom of post-war democratic capitalism, which held that unemployment would undermine political support, not just for the government of the day but also for democratic capitalism itself. The experiments conducted by Reagan and Thatcher on their electorates were observed with great attention by policy-makers worldwide. Those who may have hoped that the end of inflation would mean an end to economic disorder were soon to be disappointed, however. As inflation receded, public debt began to increase, and not entirely unexpectedly. [7] Rising public debt in the 1980s had many causes. Stagnant growth had made taxpayers more averse than ever to taxation;

    3) Monetarism – private borrowing – you indebt yourself personally, not government through credit cards getting the public to spend on goods themselves – all sorts of goods etc, do it yourself, privately, the government is indebted publicly you guys spend instead! Mortgages, property bubbles!

    DEREGULATION AND PRIVATE DEBT

    The 1992 presidential election in the United States was dominated by the question of the two deficits: that of the Federal Government and that of the country as a whole, in foreign trade.

    The Clinton policy of fiscal consolidation and economic revitalization through financial deregulation had many beneficiaries. The rich were spared higher taxes, while those among them wise enough to move their interests into the financial sector made huge profits on the ever-more complicated ‘financial services’ which they now had an almost unlimited license to sell. But the poor also prospered, at least some of them and for a while

    Financial liberalization thus compensated for an era of fiscal consolidation and public austerity. Individual debt replaced public debt, and individual demand, constructed for high fees by a rapidly growing money-making industry, took the place of state-governed collective demand in supporting employment and profits in construction and other sectors (Figure 4). These dynamics accelerated after 2001, when the Federal Reserve switched to very low interest rates to prevent an economic slump and the return of high unemployment this implied. In addition to unprecedented profits in the financial sector, privatized Keynesianism sustained a booming economy that became the envy not least of European labour movements.

    The author leaves us hanging as to whether democracy as a force can rein in capitalism and the diktat of the market.

    Regardless of who wins, all is not well with capitalism, the current model at the macro level doesn’t seem to be functioning that well in fact kicking that well known can well down the road can’t last forever.

    Haven’t we gone from public borrowing, to private borrowing i.e. credit cards and loans and property bubbles thanks to banks loaning money to private individuals that as institutions they couldn’t even stand over just to keep the plates spinning and people happy – boom the end of all of that. Credit crunch, collapsing financial markets and here we are again back with the government and it putting it all – well most of the toxic debt – back into public hands for the government sorry us to repay via taxes!

    Hurrah.

    Basically debt fuelled economy – using tomorrow’s money for today’s consumption – has all but tanked – and keynesianism is a thing of the past, so what next?

    4) SOVEREIGN INDEBTEDNESS

    With the crash of privatized Keynesianism in 2008, the crisis of postwar democratic capitalism entered its fourth and latest stage, after the successive eras of inflation, public deficits and private indebtedness (Figure 5). [13] With the global financial system poised to disintegrate, nation-states sought to restore economic confidence by socializing the bad loans licensed in compensation for fiscal consolidation. Together with the fiscal expansion necessary to prevent a breakdown of the ‘real economy’, this resulted in a dramatic new increase in public deficits and public debt—a development that, it may be noted, was not at all due to frivolous overspending by opportunistic politicians or misconceived public institutions, as implied by theories of ‘public choice’ and the large institutional-economics literature produced in the 1990s under the auspices of, among others, the World Bank and the imf.

    Markets versus voters – who will win?

    Yet democracy is as much at risk as the economy in the current crisis, if not more. Not only has the ‘system integration’ of contemporary societies—that is, the efficient functioning of their capitalist economies—become precarious, but so has their ‘social integration’. [18] With the arrival of a new age of austerity, the capacity of national states to mediate between the rights of citizens and the requirements of capital accumulation has been severely affected. Governments everywhere face stronger resistance to tax increases, particularly in highly indebted countries where fresh public money will have to be spent for many years to pay for goods that have long been consumed. Moreover, with ever-tighter global interdependence, it is no longer possible to pretend that the tensions between economy and society, between capitalism and democracy, can be handled inside national political communities.

  • Mick Fealty

    Tac, or if you go to first cause, it was the printing press wot done it.

    Any ideas for Miliband and Labour?

  • Barnshee

    “Any ideas for Miliband and Labour?”

    Get seats booked in the House of Lords

  • erewhon

    Your phrase “banksters über alles” may be an accurate description going by Karen Hudes testimony.

  • Greenflag

    @ Mister Joe ,

    Thanks but I’ll yield the ‘comprehensiveness ‘ gold medal in this instance to DC and his link above . It’s all there via Wolfgang Streeck .

    Bringing Streeck’s article down to the nuts and bolts of what the population at large can grasp the fact is that the current model of financial capitalism is in deep trouble and the powers that be can’t agree on a fix .

    The Americans are trying to ‘print ‘ their way to recovery via quantative easing . Essentially this is a milder form of Comrade Mugabe’s enthusiastic over printing of the Zimbabwe dollar out of existence or the German 1920’s Reichsmark fiasco. The Europeans are pursuing the opposite policy of austerity with the consequent mass unemployment , public sector cuts and severe drop in living standards for many Europeans .

    Bot these broad policy options arose for the reasons made clear in DC’s link above .One has to presume that the American choice was based on the fact that there is a limit to how much ‘austerity ‘ Americans will put up with before going for their guns . Already the countries prisons are overflowing and tensions are high given increased polarisation .

    The Europeans generally have a better safety net for those who have lost out in the current crisis but even that is under sustained attack from those would rather place all of the blame for the current crisis on the ‘undeserving poor , welfare cheats and government waste ‘ than on the financial sector’s misbehaviours (criminal negligence ) over the past couple of decades.

    To quote from DC’s post above

    ‘Regardless of who wins, all is not well with capitalism, the current model at the macro level doesn’t seem to be functioning that well in fact kicking that well known can well down the road can’t last forever.’

    The Germans and Chinese continue to run huge trade surpluses -The Americans and British and others trade deficits .

    Historically those kind of imbalances have always ended in war . Unimaginable of course in this day and age or ? Japan and China are arming up and even India launches a new aircraft carrier . .

    another quote from above

    “Moreover, with ever-tighter global interdependence, it is no longer possible to pretend that the tensions between economy and society, between capitalism and democracy, can be handled inside national political communities.”

    Is’nt that an obvious truth yet to filter down to street political level . But it expresses a truth which lies at the heart of any quick recovery and that is the failure of the G8 or now more importantly the failure of the G20 to address and find solutions for the financial and currency value contradictions embedded in the current stasis .

    I’m afraid it’s more of ‘sauve qui peut’ and devil take the hindmost 🙁 Mr Carney’s accession to the Bank of England succession notwithstanding .

  • Greenflag

    continued ,

    What is needed is a system which enables countries such as Greece to declare ‘bankruptcy ‘ and start again . Forcing them into a generation long sackcloth and ashes brings with it the risk of a turn to totalitarian government of the right or left . We know what happened when the German middle class was destroyed prior to World War 2 .

    So debt forgiveness and major write offs and losses for irresponsible investors as well as banks and consumers has to be part of any ‘recovery ‘solution . Europes austerity or the USA’s printing presses can at most just drag out the mess for another generation .

    Germany itself had it’s debt largely written off post WW2 and with the help of the Marshall plan very quickly rebuilt it’s economy . Eaten bread is soon forgotten not just in Belfast but apparently also in Berlin and Munich and Paris and London etc .

  • DC

    i think the problem is that over the last three decades or so credit has been relied upon to mask the if you like under-productiveness of the national economy, this gap in wages and wealth has been plugged using credit – and this can no longer be relied upon either by government or by the private individual; relied upon as a means to sustain a level of living that the existing productive economy fails to provide for them and will not provide in future due to all the debt needing repaid privately and publicly.

    we are on course for, if lucky, massive relative decline if not bankruptcy, perhaps even of states themselves.

    i guess the argument being made in the new left review is that OK debt didn’t work as a means of attempting to provide a good standard of living as it turned out to be counter-productive in the end. and even more was this sort of political economy a better model than the keynesianism it replaced? as at least that gave people meaningful employment in productive industries rahter than lining the pockets of bankers.

    What has financial deregulation really achieved?

    What is the new model to come that will keep the public happy in terms of quality of life and standard of living as well keeping the markets happy in the process?

    this is thing yet to be realised.

  • tacapall

    “Tac, or if you go to first cause, it was the printing press wot done it.

    Any ideas for Miliband and Labour”

    Ah yes Mick I suppose it was the printing press that mass produced those first paper IOU’s for those parasites in the city, (remind us who actually owns the Bank of England) those parasites charge the government therefore the British people a fee for printing and loaning the British government those IOU’s, excactly the same as the Federal Reserve, private investors receive a fee for every £ and every $ printed, the British people nor the British government even own the currency called sterling.

    Have you ever read Aubrey Menen “London”, Time-Life, 1976,

    “The Prime Minister, a busy politician, is not expected to understand the mysteries of high finance, while the Chancellor of the Exchequer is only expected to understand them when he introduces the budget. Both are advised by the permanenet officials of the Treasury, and these listen to the City. If they suspect that some policy of the government will back-fire, it is of no use their calling up British ambassadors to ask if it is so; they can find out more quickly from the City. As one ambassador said: “Diplomats are nowadays no more than office boys, and slow ones at that. The City will know. They will tell the Treasury and the Treasury will tell the Prime Minister.”

    The British government is the bond slave of those parasites in the city. The City calls the tune. The “British government” are mere puppets controlled by those parasites. They have no power they have no authority. In spite of the outward show they are mere pawns in the game being played by the financial elite.

    IN regards to the “City”

    ” This national and mainly international dictatorship of money which plays off one country against another and which, through ownership of a large portion of the press converts the advertisement of its own private opinion into a semblance of general public opinion, cannot for much longer be permitted to render Democratic Government a mere nickname. Today we see through a glass darkly: for there is so much which it would not be in the public interest to divulge.”… “Empire of the City” E. C. Knuth.

    The Central Bank of England is located in The City.
    All major British banks have their main offices in The City.
    385 foreign banks are located in The City.
    70 banks from the United States are located in The City.

    London Stock Exchange is located in The City.
    Lloyd’s of London is located in The City.
    The Baltic Exchange (shipping contracts) is located in The City.
    Fleet Street (newspapers & publishing) is located in The City.
    The London Metal Exchange is located in The City.
    The London Commodity Exchange (trading rubber, wool, sugar, coffee) is located in The City.

    All these global corporations are exempt from the laws that govern what is called the UK, a tax haven in the middle of London where the financial elite enjoy the privilege to decide whenever they are not making enough money, or whenever they have no access to countries resources, to use the British people as cannon fodder to invade those countries, to sacrifice their lives in order to make rich people richer, then compound that by making the British public responsible for the financial cost of it.

    Maybe you should read up on how William Stadholder was elevated to the aristocratic title of William of Orange who financed his elevation or how he and Mary were some of the first investors in the formation of the privately owned bank of England.

    What can Miliband and the Labour party do, well what do you think Mick – How about invading and taking back control of that independent state called inner City London and enforcing on its inhabitants the same laws and rules that govern the rest of the country called the UK.

  • DC

    even if the ‘sovereign debt’ (old public debt and new private debt now public) is dealt with it still doesn’t address britain’s deficit economy – tax take not covering what is currently being spent on public goods and services etc.

  • Greenflag

    @ DC ,

    “I think the problem is that over the last three decades or so credit has been relied upon to mask the if you like under-productiveness of the national economy'”

    The UK’s productivity has never been higher Ditto for the USA & Ireland and the Chinese /Germans etc.. If GDP remains the same or higher and you increase unemployment by 2 or 3 million then simple math will tell you that productivity per person has increased .

    What has increasingly been the case for both the UK & USA and to a lesser extent Germany and other western countries is that the increased productivity in their economies has not been ‘shared ‘ throughout their working populations but has instead ended up increasing income inequality for their middle and working classes . Those at the top a tiny elite have ‘grabbed ‘ 95% or more of the extra wealth gained from ‘productivity’ increases .

    Along with credit /debt overreach this has been a another factor affecting the drop in overall demand..

    So in plain English the harder most people work and the more productive they become then the poorer (relatively) they will be thus turning one of the basic tenets of the ‘American dream ‘ on it’s head . When unemployment rises productivity rises , the stock market goes up for investors and the rich become richer . Due to taxation systems favouring those at the top of the income /capital dividends ladder then the tax take /revenue side declines and the tax base reduces further turning national economies into if not exactly Detroit look alikes then heading in that direction .

    ” democracy is as much at risk as the economy in the current crisis, if not more.”

    Sooner or later if the powers that be are seen to have no credible solutions for the current systemic financial problems then others will be listened to . They will not be democrats even if initially that is the stage they use to build another totalitarian ideological framework of the left or right .

  • Greenflag

    DC

    ‘even if the ‘sovereign debt’ (old public debt and new private debt now public) is dealt with it still doesn’t address britain’s deficit economy’

    Britain’s deficit economy has been going now for the better part of half a century or more . Here’s an intro to how the UK pound may yet crash and or how the UK may avoid the ‘currency ‘war which is part of the current systemic mess .

    http://intel.harriman-house.com/economics/why-does-the-uk-never-run-a-trade-surplus/

    And then theres the Alice in Wongaland economy ?

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/poll/2013/aug/15/britain-alice-in-wongaland-economy

    A 25% depreciation in sterling, of the sort seen in the first 18 months of the financial crisis, would be sufficient to boost exports, limit imports and turn the trade figures around. But not now . The current account deficit in 2012 was higher than it was in 2007..

    The UK banks are in worse shape than anybody is letting know -again 🙁

  • Greenflag

    tacapall ,

    You omitted the 100 or so offshore tax avoidance havens /shelters and Crown colonies ? I think the PM made a speech a few weeks back about doing ‘something ‘ to reduce the revenue drain to these mini Switzerlands .

    Don’t know if Her Majesty’s Navy has the wherewithal to eh invade a 100 offshore tax havens scattered across the globe 😉 ? Not that any British politician Tory or Labour or Lib Dem would ever countenance such an invasion . Iraq & Afghanistan yes by all means but not the City or it’s worldwide financial colonies .

    Given that UK currency stabilty is ultimately tied to it’s current account standing and that that standing is determined by ‘invisible earnings ‘ from outside the UK then an attack on the City /invasion would result in Britons waking up to a financial wasteland -such is the current reality 🙁

    But a lot of truth in your post -unpleasant of course but then these things usually are !

  • Barnshee

    “Don’t know if Her Majesty’s Navy has the wherewithal to eh invade a 100 offshore tax havens scattered across the globe”

    There is no need for a navy- a small force of competent auditors plus (a very big ask) the government will to make the necessary changes in law and enforcement needed.

    All material financial transactions leave a trail— easy to follow and tax – IF the will is there

  • Greenflag

    @ DC ,

    ‘What has financial deregulation really achieved?’

    1) It turned enough of the banking sector into offshore and onshore gambling casinos that no government on the planet could control .

    2) The banks that were pre 2007 not deemed to be too big to fail -failed and now that they are even bigger no politician be they in the USA or UK ever mentions the fact . They just collect their re-election funding from the usual suspects.

    3 ) Over the past 30 years or so the banking sector via irresponsible lending to underdeveloped countries has as an unintended consequence led to millions of deaths in Sub Saharan Africa . The same ‘irresponsible ‘ lending in the developed countries has led to mass unemployment for tens of millions , created a property meltdown and provoked political instability all around the globe as well as civil, resource and now currency wars .

    4) It has made the financial sector elite many times richer at the expense of the majority of people everywhere .

    5) It has ‘deballed ‘ governments everywhere of any notions they may have had that they could ‘truly ‘ govern in the interests of all the people rather than just protect the interests of a wealthy minority .

    6) It has via all the above decreased public support for so called democratic institutions everywhere and thus has prepared the ground for the onset of totalitarian regimes of one ideology -political and/or religious everywhere .

    7) It has enabled financial capital on an international basis to undermine the economic and political stability of smaller nations who without sovereign ‘capital controls ‘ are completely at the mercy of currency speculators and hedge fund /derivative players everywhere .

    And thats just a beginning 🙁

    ‘What is the new model to come that will keep the public happy in terms of quality of life and standard of living as well keeping the markets happy in the process?’

    There is’nt any. The financial sector worldwide doesn’t want any . They want to go back to pre 2008 to regain any bonuses they have lost in the time since 🙁 If this means that millions must starve around the world then so be it .If this means that unemployment among the young people in Greece remains at 67% then so be it .If this means that the USA and the EU remain in recession for another decade or more and that millions more homes are foreclosed on then so be it .

    ‘this is yet to be realised.’

    Hopefully it will be before the guillotines re-emerge . Egypt is looking like another Iran /1953 as western leaders can;t make up their minds whether the Generals’ coup d’etat was really a coup and not a popular revolt a la the Iranian Shah or whether the Muslim Brotherhood is the kind of ‘democracy ‘ that the West and Israel more importantly can live with !

    The USA Government is now being funded on a month to month basis as the polarisation within that country shows not only no sign of abating but of getting worse . Think Weimar 1929 -1932. The UK’s economy is in much worse shape than the Government admits . All the focus is on the budget whereas the real problem lies in their current account .

    And to conclude that problem in their current account goes right back to – you guessed it ‘deregulation ‘ and all it’s attendant so called ‘benefits’ 🙁

  • Barnshee

    “The same ‘irresponsible ‘ lending in the developed countries has led to mass unemployment for tens of millions , created a property meltdown and provoked political instability all around the globe as well as civil, resource and now currency wars .”

    Irresponsible lenders need irresponsible borrowers this includes governments who borrow to fund the (foolish) promises they make to their electorate. The gullible plucked by the hawks. They were voted in

  • Greenflag

    The USA is currently suing Bank of America for fraud ? Why have Bank of America , Barclays , Citibank , Goldman Sachs , RBS and a host of other banks paid fines of billions of dollars and pounds for whats the word ‘alleged fraudulent activities , insider trading , robocheck signing etc etc etc while not admitting ‘guilt ‘ to any wrongdoing ? Could it be that they were not just irresponsible but actually criminal !

    One reason they paid these huge fines thus reducing their shareholders dividends is because they don’t want to see their CEO’s Blankfein , Moynihan or Dimond etc behind bars . Jailing that lot could prove such a popular move it might lead to a score of financial executives in Wall St and the Citi seeking political asylum in Moscow trying to buy protection from Putin and the Russian mafia !

    So if I elect an ‘irresponsible ‘ politician who becomes a Government Minister and who is found guilty of fraud or misappropriating expenses like 20 % of the House of Commons a couple of years back, and if perchance some of the offences merit a jail sentence should I the ‘irresponsible voter ‘ have to do jail time for electing a fraudster and moreover pay whatever fines are meted out ?

    Governments in the western world are alas now no more the representatives of the people than you are a representative of peoples front for the liberation of Sandy Row .

    I think it was George Bernard Shaw who said the more he spent time with the monied classes and politicians the more he understood the guillotine ‘

  • DC

    Labour Tradition and the Politics of Paradox touches on the point being made in the blog title, but yet Miliband, despite writing the foreword(http://www.lwbooks.co.uk/ebooks/labour_tradition_politics_paradox.html), has done little with his leadership to address some of the points contained within the labour publication.

    Labour needs to address the crisis of its political philosophy and to recover its historic sense of purpose. This includes rethinking Britain’s position in the global economy, which is based on a disproportionate reliance on a financial sector that has proved to be volatile and unsustainable. There was ominously little growth during Labour’s period in office in the regional and productive economies, and where there was growth it was largely due to the expansion of the public sector. Indeed, state-sponsored capitalism was not the least of the paradoxical achievements of New Labour.

    Labour’s capacity to achieve the necessary level of change willdepend upon it rebuilding a strong and enduring relationshipwith the people. The loss of public trust in politicians and in Britain’s system of representative democracy demands substantial and systemic reform. Political and economic power,both local and national, need to be entangled within and made accountable to a more democratic society. The dangerous behaviour of the banks and financial markets, and the depth of the recession they triggered, mean that Labour must now have a reckoning with the destructive, itinerant power of capital.

  • DC

    Just to add another paradoxical achievement of New Labour was nationalisation of banks.

    The publication pin points precisely the problems that lie ahead:

    In the decade ahead, all governments will have to act under conditions characterised by financial volatility, energy insecurity, environmental degradation, both natural and social, and an ageing population. These will all require qualitatively new kinds of social and economic responses in conditions of fiscal austerity.

  • Barnshee

    “So if I elect an ‘irresponsible ‘ politician who becomes a Government Minister and who is found guilty of fraud or misappropriating expenses like 20 % of the House of Commons a couple of years back, and if perchance some of the offences merit a jail sentence should I the ‘irresponsible voter ‘ have to do jail time for electing a fraudster and moreover pay whatever fines are meted out ?”

    You are hardly responsible for the illegal acts of others –unless you are an accessory

    A capacity to be “Gulled” and economic/financial illiteracy are situations to be pitied rather than punished.

  • Greenflag

    “A capacity to be “Gulled” and economic/financial illiteracy are situations to be pitied rather than punished.”

    If you are referring to the tens of millions who have had their lives destroyed /uprooted or whatever across the globe then ‘pity ‘ has it’s place .

    If you are referring to the economic /financial illiteracy of the elected governments of the day and the international and domestic financial fraudsters of Wall St and the City of London (have they extradited the London ‘Whale ” yet ? )- then pity has no place . Conviction and jail terms are whats required . The payment of ‘fines ‘ while not admitting to ‘wrongdoing ‘ makes a mockery of the law and just serves to demonstrate that these ‘bastards ‘ can get away with anything as long as they have the financial resources 🙁
    As for sending in the competent ‘auditors ‘ Remind me whatever happened to Arthur Andersen ? and Merrill Lynch among others ?

  • Greenflag

    @ DC

    ‘The dangerous behaviour of the banks and financial markets, and the depth of the recession they triggered, mean that Labour must now have a reckoning with the destructive, itinerant power of capital.’

    And if they don’t the matter will be resolved with blood on the streets and war sooner or later . The English are a patient people up to a point -that breaking point may be a lot closer than either Cameron or Milliband reckon.

    “In the decade ahead, all governments will have to act under conditions characterised by financial volatility, energy insecurity, environmental degradation, both natural and social, and an ageing population. These will all require qualitatively new kinds of social and economic responses in conditions of fiscal austerit”

    If those ‘qualitatively ‘ (such a nice word eh ?) new kinds of responses (presumbaly this suggests new policies ) do nothing about the current situation whereby the majority of Britons become relatively poorer while the City hogs grow ever wealthier then I refer you to the inevitability of ‘blood ‘ on the streets etc .

  • Greenflag

    ‘are situations to be pitied rather than punished.’

    The issue facing democracies everywhere in the West is not ‘pity nor punishment ‘ it is to what extent are the governments working together and cooperating to ensure that what happened in 2007/2008 doesn’t happen again and in tandem to establish a new world financial system which will deal with the destructive powers of international banking and the financial sector worldwide . For they are without question the single biggest threat to the West maintaining any semblance of the democracy that has taken 200 years of struggle to achieve the level of freedom and civil rights which we still have but which are now under threat from both outside the west and from within . The enemy within is Goldman Sachs/Bank of America /Barclays /RBS etc in their current formats .

  • tacapall

    Greenflag your omitting the obvious instigators of this present stage managed global crisis, those who own and control all the central banks around the world including the Federal reserve. Without the destruction of those tax havens and independent states within states like the city of London, Washington DC and the Vatican who have all been embroiled in financial skullduggery since their inceptions and who are the architects of the majority of wars and conflicts that have plagued mankind from their formations we will never be free from their domination nor have financial systems that are regulated and bound within the laws that govern the rest of mankind. We should go back to basics, if paper money is just an IOU for gold then those who receive it in transactions should have the right to go to banks and demand the gold that that IOU represents.

  • Greenflag

    Here’s three American Presidents on the subject of Banks

    ‘I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered”.

    Thomas Jefferson

    Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time, and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out.”

    – US President, Andrew Jackson, 1832.

    “Banking was conceived in iniquity, and born in sin. Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again. Take this great power away from them, and all great fortunes like mine will disappear. And, they ought to disappear, for then this would be a better and happier world to live in. But if you want to continue to be the slaves of the bankers, and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money, and control credit.”
    “The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace, and conspire against it in times of adversity. The banking powers are more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. They denounce as public enemies, all who question their methods or throw light upon their crimes.
    I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe. [As a further undesirable consequence of the war…] Corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow. The money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed.”

    Abraham Lincoln

    So nothing new under the sun re ‘banksters ‘

    I don’t have it to hand right now but there was an article in the WSJ this week by former Secretary of the Treasury Nicholas Brady on the subject of forming an all party commission to investigate the Fed and how it’s workings can be more tuned to protecting the financial security of Americans and not just coining a guaranteed 6% for private member banks . It’ll be interesting to see if any of the current politicians GOP or Dem give the idea any backing. Don’t hold your breath 🙁

    For those who are under the impression that the USA Federal Reserve is a public government institution here below is a link which shows the reality .

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/who-owns-the-federal-reserve/10489

    BTW of all the Presidents above only Andrew Jackson did anything bar speechifying . He actually vetoed the Congress vote which would have renewed the charter of the Second Bank of the USA following a 20 year trial period . The Second Bank of the USA back then would have been the equivalent of Goldman Sachs or bank of America today .

    Not a word from Obama or his predecessor however and so far not a word from any other of the senior politicians in the USA re this issue . They don’t want to know they are still hoping that somehow the economy will muddle through -ditto for the Brits and the Eurozone . There is as yet no other alternative 🙁

  • Greenflag

    there is as yet no other alternative

    Bar of course a return to barter /stone age not feasible with 7.5 billion on the planet .

    There is always the blood on the streets option and world war. But I’ll assume that even the banksters might be concerned at the prospect of 100 Egypts /Syrias /Iraqs /Irans / North Koreas/Greeces /Spains erupting all over the globe -. but then I may be wrong in assuming that these bastards possess even a shred of humanity 🙁

  • Greenflag

    @ tacapall,

    ‘Without the destruction of those tax havens and independent states within states like the city of London, Washington DC and the Vatican who have all been embroiled in financial skullduggery since their inceptions and who are the architects of the majority of wars and conflicts that have plagued mankind from their formations we will never be free from their domination nor have financial systems that are regulated and bound within the laws that govern the rest of mankind .”

    The last few words of your quote above would suggest that ‘banking ‘ has never been bound by the law . This is not true. .Banking evolved alongside the historical political evolution from Kingship/City State to modern democracy .
    Banking services and the provision of credit are the building block on which economic growth and progress is built . Humanity would still be living in the middle ages without the evolution of banking services despite the attempts of some modern banksters to send us all back to the middle ages in terms of living standards 🙁

    So no need to throw the baby out with the bath water . The problem is that the ‘banking ” baby became a bi polar teenage delinquent and escaped from the bath over the course of a couple of decades and the rest we know .

    Politics is too important to be left to politicians . This is why Monarchical rule , Dictatorships , One Party States and/or rule by Generals (Argentina /Chile / Brazil / Egypt etc etc ) eventually will fail and in their failures all of the above usually bring chaos and human misery in their wake .

    This is why we now or most democratic states have a written constitution to limit the powers of those who would rule in the ‘interests of the people .As we have seen and will continue to see too often those who rule in the interests of the people define ‘people ‘ as themselves alone or just a cabal /clique or elite minority often above the law or who ‘deserve ‘ special treatment .

    It’s the same with banking . It’s too important to be left to the bankers alone which is what happened in this current crisis . The watchdogs set up to oversee the financial system i.e the Federal Reserve and it’s Central bank equivalents failed see the looming crisis and or those who did see it were ignored , The ‘politicians ‘ also failed in that they allowed the financial sector to rewrite/revise many of the laws -most notoriously the Repeal of the Glass Steagal Act in 1998 that set the stage for the descent to the meltdown of 2008 and the property bubble fiasco .

    Briefly what the world needs is a 21st century Bretton Woods to cope with both the emerging Asian /South American and African economies and the sometimes disruptive flows of international capital made possible by both modern technology and the ultra sophisticated complex financial tools and algorithms that were/are designed to provide risk free returns at a return on capital interest that they could never achieve in a regular business or banking environment and that normally they could only hope for in a casino if they win every time they play.

    It seems that both the G8 and G20 are not just dragging their feet on any new international financial system but some of the bigger players don’t even want to talk about such a reform .

  • terence patrick hewett

    Jaysus: thank God I am an engineer.

  • Greenflag

    @ TPH

    ‘thank God I am an engineer.’

    LOL .

    Theres no escape TPH not for God nor for engineers from the practitioners of the dismal science even the dead ones . I think it was Keynes who said that even the most practical of men though they may not know it are in thrall to the ideas of long dead economists .

    Nowadays it’s been speeded up so we’re in thrall to the ‘b*****ds” while they’re still alive 🙁

    BTW this place of refuge is nowhere to be found 😉