Bloated banks are “an existential threat” bigger than terrorism

John Lanchester, writing for London Review of Books, offers a dire warning about the status of Britain’s big banks that likewise speaks loudly to all of us living over here across the pond, since we’re in a similar situation:

As the new governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, takes up his job, it’s a good moment to reflect on the nature and scale of the work ahead of him. In the rear-view mirror, he can see how our banks reached their current condition — a story full of failure, scandal, greed and incompetence. That, as far as the overall picture of modern Britain is concerned, is the fun part. The difficult thing is looking forward and trying to work out what to do next. That’s because in their current condition our banks are an existential threat to British democracy, a more serious one than terrorism, either external or internal. As Andrew Haldane, director of stability at the Bank of England, put it in a historical overview a few years ago, ‘there is one key difference between the situation today and that in the Middle Ages. Then, the biggest risk to the banks was from the sovereign. Today, perhaps the biggest risk to the sovereign comes from the banks. Causality has reversed.’ Yes, it has: and the sovereign at risk is us. The reason for that is that in the UK bank assets are 492 per cent of GDP. In plain English, our banks are five times bigger than our entire economy. (When the Icelandic and Cypriot banking systems collapsed the respective figures were 880 and 700 per cent.) We know from the events of 2008 and subsequently that the financial sector, indeed the whole world economy, is in an inherently unstable condition. Put the size together with the instability, and we are facing a danger that is no less real for not being on the front page this exact second. This has to be fixed, and it has to be fixed soon, and nothing about fixing it is easy.

More: “Let’s Consider Kate

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD and GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES.

Posted on July 10, 2013, in Economy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. The saddest thing about the u.s. is that they now make the greatest cars in the world , tesla motors , and the green shift holds the promise if explosive growth but the American public and many American investors don’t believe in it. The fabulous tech that created the boom in Japan is in the u.s. now, they can capitalize on that .

  2. The BIGGIST problem as I see it , are the megalomaniacs in charge of companies like apple and the scientologists and shit who want to be immortal immortalists who want their computer brains in migo brain cylinders or some shit.. When investors buy into apple they don’t get payouts in dividends they’re throwing their money into holes going to nowhere .

    Might sound silly but I collect magic the gathering cards.. I’ve bought some cards on the reserved list, I’ve seen my transmute artifact from the antiquities set , the early. 1993 1994 original power sets … My transmute artifact I paid $12 each or so, for four of those, now each one is $40 or so , they’re set to go to $350 each comparable to mishra’s workshop or candelabra of tawnos in that same set , I can turn my $200 or so now into over $3000 by the end of the year I figure

  3. 1993 1994 power is alpha beta unlimited and revised , or abur for short .
    And Arabian nights , legends, antiquities , the dark .

    In the future ill be able to rent out this property for competitive play. I think.

    I also have rare dolls and other collectible fun things .

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