I want to save this ….
Quotes taken from commentary by Joris Luyendik, Gdn, 20.6.13 …
“Seeing the British establishment struggle with the financial sector is like watching an alcoholic who still resists the idea that something drastic needs to happen for him to turn his life around. Until 2008 there was denial over what finance had become. When a series of bank failures made this impossible, there was widespread anger, leading to the public humiliation of symbolic figures. But the scandals kept coming, and so we entered stage three – what therapists call “bargaining”. A broad section of the political class now recognises the need for change but remains unable to see the necessity of a fundamental overhaul. Instead it offers fixes and patches, from tiny increases in leverage ratios to bonus clawbacks and “electrified ring fences”.
Today’s report by the parliamentary commission on banking standards (to which I gave evidence) is a perfect example of this tendency to fight the symptoms while keeping the dysfunctional system itself intact.
“The report’s focus on individual responsibility is also dangerously incomplete because it implies that the sector is merely out of control. This plays into the narrative that things can be fixed by tweaking rules and realigning incentives; in other words, by bargaining.
In reality the financial sector is not out of control. It’s beyond control.
Employees at the big banks themselves do not believe their top people know what’s going on; the big banks have simply become too complex and too big to manage. But the British establishment still seems incapable of accepting the notion that a bank that is too big to fail or manage is a also bank that is too big to exist.
“Before studying bankers I spent many years researching Islam and Muslims. I set out with images in my mind of angry bearded men burning American flags, but as the years went by I became more and more optimistic: beyond the frightening rhetoric and sensationalist television footage, ordinary Muslim people go about their day like all other human beings. The problem of radical Islam is smaller and more containable than Islamophobes believe.
With bankers I have experienced an opposite trajectory. I started with the reassuring images in my mind of well-dressed bankers and their lobbyists; surely at some basic level these people knew what they were doing? But after two years I feel myself becoming deeply pessimistic and genuinely terrified.”