I’m not sure why I was trying to clear cat fur from under a bed, but as I did so I came across a packet of postcards I sent to my parents as a very young man. Almost all of them referred to money – or, rather, my lack of it. Oh, the humiliations of youth! In this respect, I fear nothing much changed thereafter – the craft of making money, let alone making money out of money, has proved not to be one of my talents. Maybe it’s just as well that some people have such a talent, but experience suggests to me that they are in a very small minority – and I can’t for the life of me see why it qualifies them to rule the world. Given that it does, I’m not entirely surprised to find the cause of the great banking meltdown morphing into its cure, or professional politicians coming to surpass bankers in their unpopularity.
Ask yourself how people fined $300 billion for malpractice can also make $1 trillion in profits, and there you have the current state of banking laid bare. In their utter foolishness, bankers may even have come to relish the blood sport of banker-bashing because it serves merely to underline its own futility, like bleating on about climate change. But, to my mind, the conflict between money and democracy has only just begun in earnest and for real.
Lithuania doesn’t often get coverage in our pages, but this month Daiva Repec˘kaite˙ reports on the growing interest in militarism in a country that is closely monitoring the conflict in Ukraine. And regular cartoonist Polyp offers a witty but sobering one-page Big Bad World which will ring true for all, parents or not.
David Ransom for the New Internationalist co-operative.
Big private banks have been resurrected by the crisis they caused, says David Ransom.
*Boondoggle: ‘a project that is considered a useless waste of both time and money, yet is often continued due to extraneous policy or political motivations.’ Wikipedia
Brief though the episode was, between late 1968 and early 1970 I was a trainee banker. A class of callow youths (all white males) gathered in the City of London to be mentored by a retired manager out of Tierra del Fuego. We probed the elusive mysteries of double-entry...