Get the banks out of the hands of private ownership


No feaking DUH. . .

Bill Moyers | James Kwak and Simon Johnson: Banks Are an Oligarchy

I LOVE Bill Moyers.  He is one of the very few straight-shooting inquirers into our society and its workings.  He is a news reporter with his own show.  He is not a suck-up like Larry King.  And he isn’t just the same old boring sit-down-across-the-table.  He includes plenty of video.  And he addresses tough issues as often as anyone in the U.S. mainstream.  Bush’s lackey got him taken off the air, back in around 2005, but Moyers seemingly didn’t miss a beat.  I love the guy.  He can talk economics and religion, history, politics, health care and international issues.

But this show seems a bit of fluff, in spite of the subject and the guests.

Pardon me, but isn’t the prototypical oligarch DEFINED as a banker?  Show me an oligarchy that isn’t wrapped around the bankers?  Asking if a banker is an oligarch is like asking if Joe Stalin was a murdering communist sociopath.

And we need those people between us and our money exactly WHY?

This blog entry is mainly about things at their most fundamental level – the level at which we all are so used to something being a certain way that we never question it.

In the middle of the economic collapse in the fall of 2008, I was a regular attendee at Simon Johnson’s blog.  One of the biggest issues being considered at the time was nationalizing the banks for a while, until everything got back on track.  After reading enough, I concluded that if nationalizing them was a cure, then why should we then give the banks back to the same parasites that ran them into the ground?  And if government could run a stable banking system for a while, why not just let the government run the banks on an ongoing basis?

Since then, nothing has changed that realization.  We need to get private owners out of the business of handling our money.  They are just parasites.

Just as governments handle DMVs, deeds and Medicare, there is no reason that they can’t handle such basic transactions as deposits and withdrawals and loans.

The oligarchs who own our banks are just skimming money – and for essentially doing NOTHING.  WE put our money in.  WE take out money out.  What does the CEO do?  Attend meetings?  Play golf and then divert money to his cronies?  Make deals for land developers who then will put people out of their houses so some resort can make more money for the local Chamber of Commerce members?  Deals, deals, deals – parasites, parasites, parasites.

Loans?  Some claim that if the government runs the banks, then loans will be politicized.  As if that isn’t already the case?  R-E-D-L-I-N-I-N-G  So, exactly how is private ownership preventing redlining?  Deals, deals, deals – smoke-filled back rooms – and always, ALWAYS the threat of collusion and under-the-table deals.  They are on the brink of criminality at every turn.  Witness the never-ending line of bank and savings and loan scandals.

I have a WHOLE lot more faith in a clerk at the DMV than I do the private ownership of ANY bank.

Investment banking isn’t the same thing as community banks?  Well, right – investment banks DO have more in common with bookies than they do with community banks.   And they should be labeled as such, and never the twain shall meet.

Investment “banks” are merely bet placers.  And OTB betting is done at clerk’s windows, too, or online.  Who needs the fat cats at the top of the food chain, just to place a bet?  Oh, they OWN the race track, so they should get a cut of the action?  How big a cut does the SEC take?  How big a cut does the NYSE take?

There is nothing going on at commercial banks or investment banks that can’t be done – in this day and age of computers doing all the transfers of moneys – by government just as well – and without the huge skim and all the Acapulco condos and Gstaadt ski vacations.

Can anyone watch this show and still trust a banker?

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3 responses to “Get the banks out of the hands of private ownership

  1. …what’s your take on the Knights Templar and their history with foundation of ‘banking’?

    Wikipedia: “Non-combatant members of the Order managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, innovating financial techniques that were an early form of banking,[5][6] and building many fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_Templar

    • Hey, Madds –

      I know that the Templars did not “invent” banking. In checking Wikipedia, they seem to think banks are a modern invention, dating back to only Renaissance Italy, circa late13th century, which places it right at the end of the Templars’ existence. In terms of western history, perhaps what the Templars brought into existence did grow into banks as we know them.

      But to insinuate that China and India, and Sumeria did not have banking is ludicrous, IMHO, though I have no specific knowledge of banks in any of those. To not have any banking is to say that everyone kept their accumulated wealth in their own houses or mansions. If that makes sense to you, it doesn’t to me. Of course, I could be blowing it out of my arse here.

      The Templars brought back to Europe the pointed arch which was the architectural nuclear chain reaction that started the building of the cathedrals all over Europe. But the Templars didn’t invent the pointed arch; they only saw it and recognized its utility.

      Similarly, I am of the distinct impression that they experienced banking in the Levant and brought it back with them.

      At the time of 9/11 I saw a brief mention of a custom in Arabic countries of a way to send money anywhere. I don’t recall what the term is. It said that there was a network by which one could deposit money with someone – I believe it was a merchant or some sort – locally, and have some kind of draft drawn up which could be presented in another city with another person in the network, who would then give over the said amount to the bearer. I would say it worked a bit like an American Express check. Historically it was a very risky proposition to try to personally carry money between cities, so this arrangement was very useful to traveling merchants.

      Now it is also true that the Moors had invaded Europe all the way up into southern France, and the Moors were not thrown out of Spain until the very year Columbus came to America – 1492. So this system in Arabic countries would have been present at least that far up into Europe. I have read that the Jews were very handy at that time for interchanges of various kinds, not just monetarily. They were free to cross from one region to the other, Arabic areas to Christian and back. Europe was a pretty backward place up to the beginning of the Renaissance. I have always understood it to have been positively influenced by what the Jews brought back from Arabic areas, in terms of books, art, music, and other cultural things. My impression has always been that they got their start in banking that way, as reliable couriers at the very least. For the most part, all of this was happening at the same time. I think it highly likely that the Jews had as much to do with the beginning of banking in Europe as the Templars did.

      But Sumeria had banks. By weird coincidence I was curiously reading a translator’s description of what was in the Code of Hammurabi, just when your comment was posted. In it it says:

      Payment through a banker or by written draft against deposit was frequent.

      That is not the actual translation, only a description. Another direct translation does not seem to specifically mention anything that sounds like banking. But I will accept that the quote here is NOT in error, that the translator had his reasons for writing that.

      The code translations includes these laws:

      100. . . . interest for the money, as much as he has received, he shall give a note therefor, and on the day, when they settle, pay to the merchant.

      101. If there are no mercantile arrangements in the place whither he went, he shall leave the entire amount of money which he received with the broker to give to the merchant.

      102. If a merchant entrust money to an agent (broker) for some investment, and the broker suffer a loss in the place to which he goes, he shall make good the capital to the merchant.

      103. If, while on the journey, an enemy take away from him anything that he had, the broker shall swear by God and be free of obligation.

      Note that “…” at the very beginning of that. It might or might not be talking about bankers. Several earlier laws in the Code talk about money and exchange, but without spelling out banking per se.

      It seems difficult to believe that large city-states and large nations in the past could function without some form of wealth holding and transfering mechanism. Merchants must have had a great need in Sumeria and Egypt, as they must have also in China and in India. All that has come down to us westerners is a picture of fiefdoms with lords and serfs and nothing in between, but that certainly could not have been the way it was. Some level of merchants has always been necessary, and where there are merchants, there is banking. Mostly we have been brainwashed into thinking that all merchants were like the Ferengi in Star Trek: The Next Generation – despicable money-grubbing low-lifes. History does not record them, yet there, in the very beginnings of civilization, Sumeria had them all over the place. I think it is mostly because the arkies only have graves and stone structures and pottery as witness of what was going on.

      Once writing on papyrus began, most transactions were likely done that way rather than on clay tablets as was done in Sumeria. Papyrus rarely survived, so arkies’ reconstructions of past civilizations comes to us all about burial rites and temple rites. In all likelihood 95% of life was more about receipts and bank notes, breakfast at home, lunch in a street side cafe, and dinner at home. Prosperity would have been tucked away somehow, with savings held somewhere – at some small cost.

      Without prosperity, there is no civilization. Look at Europe prior to 1400. Life for most was a sad affair.

      So, my impression is that the Templars brought banking to a very backward Europe – which became the beginning of banking as we know it. What they brought back though was not, I am sure, what we currently would even call banking. It was some form of transportable money exchange. And that was quickly turned into more fixed locations. SOMEONE had to prove to be reliable and trustworthy. Perhaps the Templars’ strength and reputation was all that was needed. Perhaps until then no one was trusted enough.

  2. Quote: “So, my impression is that the Templars brought banking to a very backward Europe – which became the beginning of banking as we know it. What they brought back though was not, I am sure, what we currently would even call banking. It was some form of transportable money exchange. And that was quickly turned into more fixed locations. SOMEONE had to prove to be reliable and trustworthy. Perhaps the Templars’ strength and reputation was all that was needed. Perhaps until then no one was trusted enough.”

    I would have to agree. And I think that is where the lines of power descend from other than the royal courts of the UK and EU.

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