Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Julio Godoy — Bankers or ‘Banksters’?

European media, political leaders, and the citizenry are bashing bankers again, overtly calling them at best accomplices of numerous illegal activities, at worst downright criminals.
The best example of this new wave of anger against bankers is the use of the portmanteau word “bankster” (a combination of banker and gangster), which has become commonplace in media, even in non English-speaking countries.
The term, first coined in the 1930s during the Great Depression and which resurfaced in British media in 2009, appeared on the front page of the French daily Libération on Jul. 18.
Political leaders critical of banks have so far refrained from using the word but everyone else has been having a field day with it.
In a short white paper on banks’ policies released Jul. 21, the head of Germany’s leading opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD), Sigmar Gabriel, accused bankers of “blackmailing governments and states with the (threat) of domino bankruptcy”, of “complicity with criminal activities”, such as tax evasion and money laundering, and of “screwing their own clients”.
Even those commentators who dismissed Gabriel’s banker bashing as political populism agreed that the managers of international private financial corporations have recently done large disservices to their business and their clients.
The list of genuine grievances is long:
For independent economists, such delay in establishing new regulation of an obviously rotten industry is proof of the lack of political will among governments to get to the root of the crisis.
“Five years into the worst financial crisis in history, all attempts to regulate banks and funds remain dead letter,” French economist Paul Jorion told IPS. “Despite abundant evidence that (banks and investment funds) cheat all over, again and again, no new rule has been introduced.”
Instead, he added, “the European Union and governments continue to deregulate, pushing their own citizenry into abject misery.”
Read it at IPS | Inter Press Service
Bankers or ‘Banksters’?
By Julio Godoy

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