Apologies for the two day hiatus… a busy Friday and going to see England play rugby yesterday meant no time for blogging!
I’m pleased to read this morning that British chancellor Alastair Darling has decided to set up an independent review into the running of Britain’s banks. This follows the revelation that after receiving £20 billion by the government to stay afloat, the Royal Bank of Scotland has been planning to pay its staff £1 billion in bonuses. That’s right, the bankers aren’t even attempting to cloak their efforts to redistribute wealth from the lowest paid, back up to the top, they’re now brazenly accepting tax payer money and rewarding it to themselves in bonuses. Such chutzpah would be admirable if it weren’t so sickening. Barack Obama seems to be making a cautious effort to limit bank executives pay (or bonuses, I’m not entirely sure which) to $500,000 if the bank in question accepted TARP money.
People seem to be appalled by the fact that bankers are paying themselves bonuses after doing such a bad job with the nation’s money. The problem with that is, is that such an argument is premised on the idea that global finance and national/international banks exist to safeguard and pay interest (where applicable) on people’s savings. As we’ve seen since last autumn, that’s not the case at all, and the sooner people get to grips with that in their mind, the better. Those who currently control capital are fighting tooth and nail to maintain that control, whereas the rest of us aren’t fighting our corner. We elect passive governments who also attempt to maintain the status quo, and as Gramsci theorised early in the 20th century, we see an ongoing ‘passive revolution’ in which one class dominates the other without any major direct struggle.
As in Greece and more recently France, average Britons need to get out into the streets and pressure their ‘representatives’ into enforcing a complete overhaul of the banking system (preferably complete nationalisation), a wide ranging fiscal policy and help for ordinary workers and vulnerable groups who are going to be hit worst by the coming depression.
Oh, and I read a doozy of an article in the Wall Street Journal (Europe) the other day by some fruitcake positing what is now needed is more of Hayek’s economic theory, not Keynesianism… surely that’s what brought us to the point of wage stagnation and economic collapse in the first place?! Anyone who agrees with such an intellectually moribund thesis would do well to read ‘A Brief History of Neoliberalism‘ by professor David Harvey. As I’ve mentioned before, I guess when you’re watching you’re entire intellectual/ideological background go down the shitter, you’re going to grasp at straws.