Barclays’ CEO Bob Diamond’s resignation and Chairman Marcus Agius’s back to the future un-resignation, refocus public questions about what needs fixing in The City and Wall Street; what have all those naughty boys and girls been up to? What cardinal sins have they committed?
FIDDLING THE BOOKS: Throughout history, bankers, brokers and local and national governments have created money; have printed and minted money; have created the wampum, paper, silver & gold Money-Economy; as a service to and lubricant for the Real-Economy (work & goods). The word “Dollar” comes from “Thaler” which were 16th Century “pieces of eight” minted for hundreds of years in silver mines in Bohemia (Czechoslovakia), Central Europe, (go to Transylvania and head north-west); eventually adopted as America’s coinage instead of Sterling (which demanded UK taxes). The abiding value of all currencies relies on public Confidence that in turn relies on the banks and governments issuing not too many (inflation) and not too few (depression) notes and coins (IOUs). The currency in circulation MUST accurately match the real goods and work done or being done, for the real value to society. This detailed minute to minute matching is what we pay The City their fantastic “rewards” for. They charge fees for their intermediary role with our IOUs (interest & charges). If and when The City fiddles the books – incontinently gambles with our currencies – gouges out barrow loads for themselves – siphons off our currencies to tax-havens in ship-loads – stupidly relies on belief in magical powers such as “The Free Markets” instead of planning and concentrated intellect – then Faith and Confidence in the IOUs break down. ALL the Money-Economy bookkeepers must be ultra reliable. Their word must be their bond. They must not fiddle the books. But they now habitually do fiddle.
GLUTTONY: All major organisations play a part in maintaining the Money-Economy. All senior executives must be as trustworthy as bankers ought to be. It was put to me last week by an otherwise intelligent executive that because Banks vitally fund governments – we challenge them at our peril. The funds that banks direct are not “their” money – it is our money. Currently banks only hold about 6% in capital – that is “their” share. The other 94% is ours. This is also true for all quoted companies. However, since the end of the era of honesty and responsibility in boardrooms, such as Lord Weinstock at GEC (a great company broken up and “monetised” for easier grand larceny), the Masters of the Universe, mediocrities elevated to boardrooms, have to their greedy delight found the safe left open. So they steal as much as they can, for as long as they can, as tax-free as they can. They concretise their “right” to steal by cross-appointing each other to key positions in their organisations. Once embedded, they drive down wages in the Real-Economy – and escalate their own “rewards”. They are insatiably greedy, sociopathic gluttons and are stealing jobs and our children’s futures, when we have trusted them to invest in the future of our communities. They need to be forcefully slimmed down.
GAMBLING: Gambling is a sickness. Gamblers are mentally ill people. They are relatively harmless when playing with themselves, among themselves – losing and winning each other’s homes, cash and clothes. They are relatively harmless having a punt on a horse-race, a spin on a roulette wheel, a bid in a poker game, or a dabble on the Lottery – playing between themselves. Gamblers tend to be good at arithmetic whereas most of us, over 90%, quail at numbers. The gamblers can therefore dazzle and impress the majority with their mental arithmetic. When they are licensed by our governments, inserted into our banks and unleashed to gamble with our money on vital commodities – currencies - energy, food, metals, air, shares – they dignify it as “Investment Banking”. Since Thatcher, they have been in seventh-heaven; not only gambling day and night on every crazy Index in the world – but taking no risk with their own money. Every penny they are paid and “win” adds to the public costs of those commodities. They claim short term “gains”, which no-one can check accurately, demand their “bonuses” – offshore of course – and when, like all gamblers, they inevitably lose everything, as in 2008/09 – we, the people are so dumb we pay their debts – and reinstate them at the heart of our Money-Economy, instead of locking them up in asylums. The extent of the madness is typified by the replacement, this year, of optic fibre connections in Wall Street, with wireless connections because – are you ready for this? –: the micro-second faster speed gives an advantage to computer “trading”. Sanity demands that all real trades should have to be (a) completed and physically delivered and (b) held for six-months. It is no wonder the world is getting mad at these crazed spivs and lunatics at the heart of our money systems.
CAPITALISM AND ENTREPRENEURS – I am a capitalist. For 40 years I have helped businesses and started and run my own. I admire the great self-made entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Richard Branson and all the small entrepreneurs. They inspire humanity, they create structure, they direct effort and investment, they create jobs, they create sustainable wealth. It is the lunatics, parasites and tape-worms we have to expel – Now, this year! My grandchildren need sustainable jobs.