Since deregulation in the 1980s and 1990s, diversity in the financial services industry as it has gradually become monopolised. From Mother Jones: The nation’s 10 largest financial institutions hold 54 percent of our total financial assets; in 1990, they held 20 percent. In the meantime, the number of banks has dropped from more than 12,500 to about […]

There was a period of remorse and apology for banks- I think that period needs to be over. Bob Diamond, Group Chief Executive of Barclays plc. On Wednesday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commision (CFTC), US Department of Justice and UK Financial Services (FSA) authority released their statements on Barclays, which is facing a fine of some $450 million. They revealed systematic, routine fraud in the organisation, […]

These deals represent a colossal public subsidy to select private companies, all hidden from the taxpayer “…apparent savings [from PFI] now could be countered by the formidable commitment on revenue expenditure in years to come.” Alistair Darling, 1997 (As transport secretary 2003-2006, Alistair Darling supported major new PFI projects) The government’s use of PFI [the private finance initiative] […]

Following the writing of the US constitution in 1789, Benjamin Franklin famously wrote: Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. But increasingly, as the recent revelations about Jimmy Carr and Gary Barlow remind us, taxes are […]

The IMF’s Christine Lagarde has been the latest to praise the Latvian austerity drive, holding it as an example for other countries to follow: “It’s important for other crisis-ridden countries to learn from Latvia. The programme there was a success”. She even went so far as to claim: “All the three Baltic countries have pursued similar […]

You might have noticed that the UK economy is unhealthy. For one thing, we’re back in recession. Then, there’s the unemployment level, above 2.6 million. Meanwhile our private consumption and investment are still below their 2007 peak. But not every economy is suffering the same way. As I mentioned in my previous post, Adam Posen […]

Since around 2009 a consensus has been forming as a response to the economic and “deficit crisis” amongst the leaderships of most of Europe and the USA, as well as most of the media.  The Tea Party in the USA, David Cameron’s “compassionate Conservatives” and the establishment parties and media across Europe are all saying […]