International bankers continue to act as though they own the planet and we are only pawns on their chessboard. No lessons are learned. No sentences are handed down. No executions are conducted the cellar. Fraud, larceny, and criminal incompetence continue unchecked. In recent weeks JP Morgan has been caught playing the same old billion dollar shell game. In the UK, customers of Nat West and RBS have been unable to access their own money after an unprecedented computer failure following the outsourcing of a creaking computer system to poorly trained and even more poorly paid technicians. And now Channel 4 News tells me that…
“A vast story has broken, concerning banking dishonesty on what the regulator, the FSA, calls a “serious, widespread and extended” scale. It has called the action misconduct, and fined Barclays, as have American regulators, which all adds up to £290m. In short, Barclays got the people who report their interest rates to the British Bankers Association (these are collated from all the major banks to fix the official Libor rate) to try and manipulate their rate. It’s one of the biggest scandals to hit the City of London and it speaks of extremely loose and even louche practices. The reporting from Barclays, according to the FSA, amounted to a straight lie. The bankers, on senior executives’ instructions (we’re not told any names) were simply told to understate the true level of interest to enable the bank to sustain trading profits. It’s all so bad, that the ever resistant Barclay’s boss, Bob Diamond, has finally given in on his huge bonus and accepted that he cannot claim it. The biggest question tonight, given that it is so widespread and so deep - why is this activity not regarded as fraud, and why is no-one being prosecuted?”
But the problem goes far deeper than even astronomical global racketeering and levels of greed that now covert sums of money that can only be abstractions. The Nobel economist Paul Krugman reports in the NY Times how bankers and their political lackeys are so busy looting the coffers and so dedicated to their notional games of impossible acquisition, they have abdicated any responsibility for an economic crisis that could lay waste to the developed world.
“None of this should be happening. As in 1931, Western nations have the resources they need to avoid catastrophe, and indeed to restore prosperity — and we have the added advantage of knowing much more than our great-grandparents did about how depressions happen and how to end them. But knowledge and resources do no good if those who possess them refuse to use them. And that’s what seems to be happening. The fundamentals of the world economy aren’t, in themselves, all that scary; it’s the almost universal abdication of responsibility that fills me, and many other economists, with a growing sense of dread.”
The secret word is Suppurating