The pressure is growing for a real bank break-up

It has taken a very long time, but at last the establishment seems to be using the b-word about the UK banking oligarchy.

Yes, in order to provide the UK economy with the support it needs, we need to break up the big banks.

That is what Terry Smith, chief executive of Tullett Prebon, told the Worshipful Company of World Traders last week, also urging bonus reforms.


Greece should reject the Troika and default on its own terms

Negotiations in Greece hang by a thread. With Greece needing to meet the next tranche of debt repayments by March 20, or else face default, its creditors are jittery. The deal passed by the Greek Parliament on Sunday should pave the way for both €130bn of bailout funding, and a restructuring of Greece’s debt. But additional assurances have been demanded by the EU/ECB/IMF Troika from Greek political parties that, whatever the outcome of April’s elections, they will observe their side of the deal – austerity measures of exceptional severity. More

What really happens when your local bank closes

We have become used to trading accusations about the way the big banks – which account for practically all banks in this country – have been progressively turning their back on the real world in favour of the speculative one.

A new report by World Development Movement and Friends of the Earth Europe sets out how they are increasingly involved in speculating in food derivatives – pushing up the price of basic foods – and financing land grabs in Africa.


Alternatives emerging from the Greek crisis

Greece is gripped by an official self-fulfilling rhetoric that ‘there is no alternative’ to a hard-line, socially divisive, austerity-driven return to business-as-usual. It’s a policy in which, to misquote a famous ditty ‘it’s the rich who get the pleasure and the poor who take the pain.’ In this case, however, the poor includes the vast majority of Greek society.


Still horribly confused about entrepreneurs

It is hard not to agree with the chairman of the Treasury select committee, Andrew Tyrie, who late last year claimed that the government’s approach to growth is ‘incoherent’.

I am not sure whether he meant quite the same as we do when he says that. Certainly it was hard to agree with him that the Big Society and the green agenda are irrelevant to economic recovery – quite the reverse.


Osborne vs Moody’s

George Osborne versus the credit ratings agencies. It’s a shame they can’t both lose, but in the meantime the rest of us – the real losers in all of this – might take some small pleasure in watching our esteemed Chancellor squirm like a trapped weasel. Much of what Moody’s says is a blunt statement of the unpleasant facts. The UK has “materially weaker growth prospects over the next few years”. More

Would there have to be chaos?

"A disorderly default would set the country on a disastrous adventure. It would create conditions of uncontrolled economic chaos and social explosion. The country would be drawn into a vortex of recession, instability, unemployment and protracted misery…”


How to save Greece from the technocrats

A year or so ago, an internet joke dropped into my inbox about a man who goes to a motel and asks the manager to put a $100 bill in their safe.

While he’s out, the manager uses it to pay off some bills, and it circulates rapidly around town paying off more bills, before it is used to pay a bill at the motel and it goes back into the safe.

“That is how a stimulus package works,” says the joke.


Quantitative Easing is stimulating commodity trading, not the real economy

Originally posted at Left Foot Forward.

As the economy slides towards recession, the Bank of England yesterday announced it was creating a further £50bn worth of ‘quantitative easing’ (QE).


6 months after the riots and communities are taking the lead

This week marked the six-month anniversary of the English riots. While the media spotlight may have moved on, the affected communities are still struggling to come to terms with what happened.


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