20 April 2008

Our national bank lies in ruins

The Bank of England is actually misnamed. This name suggests a bank that works for the benefit of the citizens of England. This is not its role; rather it works to support the interests of global capital. The creation of money, a fundamental requirement of a complex economy, is not under political control.

Leaving aside the fact that only England's interests are named - an anachronism that should surely be changed as part of a plan for the Bank's future - what would we propose as a new structure for an institution that has so clearly failed to protect the interests of the majority of our people?

In evidence that this is the case I offer the fact that the Bank has lowered interest rates without requiring the banks it lends money to to pass those lower rates on to customers. Instead retail and corporate bankers alike are charging higher rates on money they lend, and using the difference to inflate profits.

This is obviously greedy and immoral - but it will also prevent the positive impact of cheaper money from easing the operation of the real economy. Shareholders will continue to extract maximum value, but businesses which cannot afford credit will fold, and jobs will be lost.

We have private banks, being supported by a privatised national bank, working in the private interest. When times were good banks made the profits; now times are bad the public is expected to bear the loss. Vast sums are being added to the national debt - our children will be working to pay back money created to be put into the pockets of present-day shareholders.

When the Bank of England accepts worthless assets in return for government bonds this is the consequence. We might support such a policy to prevent the collapse of our banks, but only if we take ownership and control of the banks as part of the deal. The high-street megaliths could be broken up into a series of regional, mutual banks with members of the community sitting on the boards and all surpluses reinvested in community projects.

The current crisis is the consequence of allowing banks to operate outside political control. The global financial system is crumbling, our national bank is in ruins: it is time we proposed a nationalisation of the whole money-creation system.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry, and you’re an economist? Capital markets are by their very nature global. The notion that you can nationalize the “whole money creation system” suggests to me you don’t have a clear understanding of how the financial markets work.