On-air: Should the banks be nationalised ?

bankWe’ve got a team in Paris today – they’ll broadcast from a place overlooking the Place de la Republique  –  the big, open square is where French protesters gather for demos.

 A million-plus people were marching on the streets of the capital last week and one of the chief reasons for their anger ; the banks.  

They’ve spoken to one restaurant owner who needed 6,000euro ($6,000) loan to tide his successful business over. The bank refused. He broke down in tears. His business is now in jeopardy.

His story isn’t unique. In countries where the tax payer has bailed out the banks (in some countries more than once) there’s real resentment if those same banks then don’t help them out when they need a loan.

More than one economist – and a few Government spokespeople – has said that governments should go the whole hog and take the banks into state ownership. After all, the people effectively own them anyway so  why not formalise it ?

Some like the idea as a punitive measure : look, you fat cats, the argument goes ,you got it wrong, we bailed you out and now the gravy train has been derailed.

Here’s one article looking at the pros and cons. Now it’s your turn…

69 Responses to “On-air: Should the banks be nationalised ?”

  1. 1 Chernor
    February 4, 2009 at 12:59

    I think the whole world should protest. This may just be a tip of how we in poorer countries have been surviving. When I finished college, it took me nearly a year to pull off a miracle to even become a volunteer.
    I think there should be a blanket bailout plan for the whole world. Please dont leave us behind. You guyz are lucky; you are only talking about down turn, job cuts,wage cuts, rising prices etc. For us these things never exists. And guess what; if you dare protest…. God save the world!!!

  2. February 4, 2009 at 13:57

    Banks that do dumb things should be allowed to fail.

    No free money.
    No government takeover.
    Let the free market sort it out.

    Oh, and the bankers who caused this mess deserve 50-year jail terms.

    But of course, since the bankers run the governments in most places this will never happen.

    Indeed, it increasingly looks like the bankers created this mess deliberately — it was a controlled demolition akin to 9/11 and certainly like in 1929 — so that they could gain more control over the world economy.

    Beware the bankers.

  3. 3 gary
    February 4, 2009 at 14:01

    Untrustworthy political power and self-serving financial power rolled into one? Now there’s a scary thought.

  4. 4 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    February 4, 2009 at 14:15

    Should the banks be nationalised?

    Why not?

    Extreme polarisation in terms of ‘Private’ sector versus ‘Public’ sector is a phenomenon unique to America. America, by the way, is the place from which the concept of Sub Prime originated and where it was twisted, manipulated, securitised and sold onwards.

    The myth that Nationalised banks are more corrupt and more inefficient than Private banks has been blown to smithereens by the financial crisis which is still unfolding right in front of our eyes!

    The most flabbergasting scene is to watch and hear Donald Trump on TV claiming that even he and/or his company(ies) and people like him can’t get a loan!

    The KEY question here is:
    Where did all the tax payer money pumped into the banks go?

  5. 5 Michel Norman
    February 4, 2009 at 14:20

    I am the financial controller of a company with daily contact with the banks. Every time that the official interest rate has gone down the banks here have put the margin (the difference between what they charge and the base rate) up by the same or more than the official rate cut on the basis of increased risk in the economy. At the same time they are not giving out credit and cutting back on existing facilities – a recipe for disaster. There is no point in central banks taking action to boost the economies if the commercial banks take this as an opportunity to squeeze credit and boost profits.

  6. 6 John S. Morris
    February 4, 2009 at 14:41

    I think banks should be nationalised so as to give the governments direct control over the monetary state of a nation. Private banks have only continued to financed wealthy businesses and ignoring the grassroot businesses especially in third-world countries like ours in Africa and Asia.

    However, governments take-over should be well monitored by responsible citizens.

    Monrovia, Liberia

  7. 7 Steve in Boston
    February 4, 2009 at 14:45

    Government meddling with traditional banking is what got us into this mess in the first place. All politicians ever want to do is raid other peoples’ coffers to hand out cash in exchange for votes. Leave the government out of banking.

  8. 8 Anthony from Cleveland Ohio
    February 4, 2009 at 14:53

    NO, Way! Doesn’t anybody learn from the mistakes of the U.S. That is one of the worst things anycountry could do. It puts power into the hands of bankers. Look what happened here. Our country is not run by our President or congress, It’s run by the bankers.

  9. 9 David Ancel (Oregon)
    February 4, 2009 at 14:58

    The Irish Times writer opines:

    “Governments are not the best people to run banks. A couple of years of crisis in the financial sector does not negate the long-held idea that the private sector manages resources more efficiently. Former RBS chief executive Sir George Matheson said the government should instead guarantee the bank’s deposits and “let it trade out of difficulties”.”

    In other words, ‘greed is good’–the private sector is best able to maximize profit. The writer feels no need for further explanation, the idea is implicit, ingrained and assumed. As Moses on the mount, we are handed this wisdom by capitalists as matter of fact as the Divinity itself. When everyone acts in their own interest, everything will–as in a natural ecosystem– shake out in a proper socially darwinistic process. Self correcting, self medicating.

    Is this the best we hope to aspire to in society? The law of the Jungle? Wherein the vast majority of humans barely subsist and a tiny few become obscenely rich?

    Besides, putting morality aside we have good reason to assume it (ie The Wisdom) isn’t even valid on pragmatic grounds. Strict Free market capitalism hasn’t functioned to manage the banks, or any other neccesary tool of society (eg American healthcare)to a healthy end. And not just in this crisis. The economy is NOT a naturally self correcting organism, it is a construct. And as a construct it periodically needs modification, upkeep, and guidance.

    So yes, government IS the best entity to run banks.

  10. 10 David
    February 4, 2009 at 15:02

    Is Capitalism as we know it dead? Always I hear of individuals getting an annual pay of millions of dollas per year! I hear because they work had! These individuals never know which side of the petrol tank in the vehicles they drive! They always think petrol/gas is always free because they never spend any cent of their own!

    The banks always screw every one, even the poor and the unemployed, the pensioners. They would even screw the dead if they had the choice.

    Only God will save this world.

  11. 11 jfleming
    February 4, 2009 at 15:26

    yes nationalise the banks and ban short selling, put a limit on exec pay. No bonuses and compulsory attendance at a local national heath hospital

  12. 12 Dan
    February 4, 2009 at 15:35

    Capitalism is not dead it was allowed to run away with itself and now the world is paying the price. We need to institute the controls that served us well.
    While it is true that we are all suffering now it must be acknowledged that Capitalism, while not perfect, and has lifted more people out of poverty than any other economic system. Together we can all get thru this but Nationalizing the banks, ie: placing them in the hands of the politicians, is a sure fire method to get to the end of the world. Politicians in charge of banks will steal us blind faster than they are doing so now.

  13. 13 kpelly hezekiah
    February 4, 2009 at 15:59

    steve in Boston, please how did the government meddle in the banks’ affairs so much so as to bring about a recession? remember the credit crunch is only a symptom of economic downturn(recession).

  14. 14 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    February 4, 2009 at 16:00

    Re: David Ancel (Oregon)
    February 4, 2009 at 14:58

    The number of words you have used is NOT too many BUT your analysis is cogent, brief and it does hit the nail on the head!!!

    Well said!

  15. 15 Roy, Washington DC
    February 4, 2009 at 16:03

    No, because if they can’t handle their own money in a responsible manner, I don’t want them anywhere near taxpayer money.

  16. February 4, 2009 at 16:06

    I think banks should be nationalised. It will give the government power to control the monetary situation of the country to an extent and the government will be able to work for the good of the people and help people in need. Private banks will always be looking for their profit, and not for the good of the people. Banks in trouble are being saved taxpayers money, but later on they go back to their old habits.

  17. February 4, 2009 at 16:11

    I agree with the quite fabulously named Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I : NATIONALIZE them. And enforce the “Public Records Act’, then if people really want to know, they can follow the money.

  18. 18 kpelly hezekiah
    February 4, 2009 at 16:15

    banks should not be nationalized. However, something definitely must be done to them. they need more stringent legal control in other to restrain them from ever taking to the reckless course they took over the past decade and also to guide/guard them from the ‘wicked’ of this world. the british PM, mr. Brown said it all last week when he stated that the world bank needs to be re-structured to meet present needs and aspirations of nations. If the mother of all banks must be re-structured( and I agree with mr. Brown completely) do we need to educate anybody about re-defining the role of her children(other banks starting from the central banks of all countries)?

  19. February 4, 2009 at 16:18

    Postscript Re: David Ancel (Oregon)
    Yeah, I say what HE said . If only we could change our own state’s government! We can’t BUY a plan to lower property & income taxes, combined with a sales tax on everything except food and medicine; why?

  20. 20 Stewart
    February 4, 2009 at 16:19

    The heyday of finance capitalism is over. People still need to borrow money to start businesses and buy homes and they need safe places to save and invest, so there will always be banks. But there is no reason why banks have to be private enterprises. They are a public utility and they ought to be publicly owned.

  21. 21 Maccus Germanis
    February 4, 2009 at 16:20

    Free market system hasn’t been given a chance to work. The problem was created by reckless lending. Whether banks line their own pockets, or finally return to solid risk assesment before lending, even more gov’t pretense against market forces will only yield more unintended consequences.

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac distorted the perception of risk. Bailouts of banks and automakers was a mistake. Nationalization will be the complete failure of lemmings to wonder where they’re being lead.

  22. February 4, 2009 at 16:22

    The role of the bank needs to be redefined. Banks used to be places where business could conduct transactions and common people could safely store their meager amassed wealth. Through policies such as “the ownership society” private banks were forcefully encouraged to offered credit and loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay it back.

    Banks need to return to a place in the market where they are just brokering business transactions. Credit on the other hand needs to be regulated by the government in the exact same way that currency is regulated. In the end credit is nothing more then counterfeit currency with all of the same adverse affects that come with it.

    Banks are not business that participate in the free market, they are a tool of the free market. They require rules and regulations just like any other economic tool.

  23. 23 kpelly hezekiah
    February 4, 2009 at 16:31

    if for simply misbehaving(although I agree their greed added more fuel to the fire of economic down-turn which some call recession} they are to be nationalized, then all the major companies in industry such as food,automobiles, electronics, textiles etc who also followed them blindly to their own perils now should all be nationalized to inject the much needed sanity we all need to go about our daily duties.But we all know this is not the best approach. It will be like giving a painkiller only to an injured person as the only way of addressing the injury.

  24. 24 kpelly hezekiah
    February 4, 2009 at 16:43

    what I am saying is this. If the state takes over the operations of the banks as they are structured now, we are in for the worst. the inefficiencies in the public sector as they exist in the world today cannot be allowed in the banks and I’m afraid that is what will happen if governments just walk in and take over banks. the thing to do is the fine-comb the activities of the banks with the view of putting in place and actually at the end of the ‘fine-combing’ putting in place tough regulations that will control them and stop them from pursuing reckless gambling/adventures with peoples hard earned savings. the ability to recover loans should be the basis of lending and not the perceived profitability of the business before them.

  25. February 4, 2009 at 16:44

    I think current events show that the presiding economic ideology, called “neoliberalism” (formerly called neoclassical economics), is quite dead.

    We are as Max Keiser of BBC’s The Oracle says entering the “post-neoliberal” phase of history.

    Since the elites and capitalists and their subservient economists can’t think of anything new, no wonder that we are now hearing that capitalism itself may be dead:

    For instance:

  26. February 4, 2009 at 16:48

    Keep governments away from banks, education, policy decisions… . Keep governments away from anything and everything really! Their track record is appalling. I am not sure what governments do, except squander tax payers money on their own brand of insanity and bureaucracy and sleaze around taking brides and having dodgy affairs!

    But banks should be run like a company with shareholders, the shareholder being one and all who bank with the bank. The way banks have been treating the ‘small’ – read average – customer is despicable. Rude and arrogant at best, downright ugly and inhumane at worst.

    Banks should be reminded that they are a convenience, a service to those who bank with them. Not some gilded vastly overpaid demigod. A service. Like a waiter, or a supermarket check out assistant. The latter two probably being better at their sums it might seem.

  27. 27 Cajetan Iwunze (UK)
    February 4, 2009 at 17:13

    I think it is a great mistake for our government to nationalise the banks. If the banks are nationalised it will become a recipe for inefficient management, where bank will be encouraged to behave recklessly. Because they know that the government will not allow them to go down. They will start employing mediocre to run the banks, after all the government will guarantee any loss we made. Competition will be dead in the water and there would be no reward for prudency, efficiency and hard work.

  28. 28 Dinka Aliap Chawul, Kampala
    February 4, 2009 at 17:24

    As long the government keep money on circulations i dont mind wether the bank is nationalise or privatise……

  29. 29 Peter
    February 4, 2009 at 17:46

    Banks in the old days are heavily regulated and serve the business world well. Then they gotgreedy and started gambling to get higher returns and see what has happen. Whose fault? The governments fault for not enforcing or deregulating. So can a government do any better except to bail them out.

  30. 30 Steve in Boston
    February 4, 2009 at 17:56

    @kpelly hezekiah

    The federal government put pressure on the banks to give home mortgages to people who could not afford them through legislation, removing legal restrictions, and promising to insure the loans. Social policy. The banks found a way to do this by offering low introductory-rate mortgages, and bundling shaky loans with good ones and selling them to investors. The easy mortgage money drove up housing prices in an ever-increasing spiral. Home buyers paid ever-increasing prices because they could easily borrow the money. Hence the housing bubble.

    When interest rates rose and these people could no longer afford their new monthly mortgage payments, the whole house of cards came tumbling down.

  31. February 4, 2009 at 18:08

    Is this what Karl Marx meant when he was grooving on some pyramid of statistics in his head and said that capitalism would fall of its own weight?

    how far did it fall?

    what did it land on?

    will it get back up?

    Age old issues, power and money. He who has the gold makes the rules and we have been ruled so long we really have no perfect answers ready here in the good ol USA.

  32. 32 vijay
    February 4, 2009 at 18:15

    Should the banks be nationalised ?

    If a government takes a stake in a bank then they should be active in its’ administration(he who pays the piper calls the tune,money takes BS walks) including setting executive pay levels , share options ,perks and privileges.

    They should fix a uniform mortage rate for housing,with no penalities for early repayment.

    Fix a maximum credit card rate related to the central bank rate of interest.

    Instruct the banks to lend a certain sum every month to small and medium sized businesses which is related to the banks historic lending patterns to that sector (SME)

    If money is leaving a country they should raise interest rates to encourage inward investment.

  33. 33 Tom D Ford
    February 4, 2009 at 18:15

    “Should the banks be nationalized”?

    The banks have already nationalized the problems they caused and on the other hand, they have privatized the profits they made while causing the problems.

    They socialized the losses and privatized the profits.

    I think new Regulations are in order in order to restore the economy to a moderated and moderate balance.

  34. February 4, 2009 at 18:15

    Banks should most-definitely be nationlised!
    I live in Montreal, Canada and we I believe that we (Canadians)are not feeling the world economic crunch as much as the rest of the world for the simple fact that banks are not privately owned.

    Best regards,
    Stephen from Montreal

  35. 35 Peter
    February 4, 2009 at 18:21

    re Steve in Boston

    Nice try but you can’t blame “people who couln’t afford” mortgages for the financial crisis. Isn’t that Rush Limbaugh’s talking point?

  36. 36 vijay
    February 4, 2009 at 18:24

    The EUs raison d’etre is to maintain the French in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed ,therefore the present world financial crisis might be the right time to reform the CAP(common agricultural policy) and other unrealistic EU subsidies and schemes.

  37. 37 Maccus Germanis
    February 4, 2009 at 18:32

    Don’t mortgagees, or stockholders have any resposibility for oversight of the banks with which each of the aforementioned did enter into consensual agreement? Reckless banks underwritten by thoroughly incurious stockholders, giving money to spendthrift loan applicants should have been allowed to fail. Each participant should be given the dividend of misery in which each did unthinkingly invest.

  38. 38 Chris Lewis
    February 4, 2009 at 18:38

    Nationalization/part nationalization of the banking sector would be a good idea, in order to stabalize the economy. In this evening’s program you told of a cafe owner who applied for a Euro 6000 loan to tide him over, the bank refused and he went under, surely this is harming the economy more?

  39. 39 Robert Toronto
    February 4, 2009 at 18:41

    We in Canada are facing the same government loaning to the banks however unlike the rest of the world our banks are extremely strong and still paying dividents to shareholders yet they have been able somehow to squeeze 75 billion cdn out of our government. The question remains in Canada, is the banks in colusioin with the government using this global crisis as a way of increasing their strategic position in society?

  40. 40 AZ
    February 4, 2009 at 18:42

    No. They should not be Nationalised.

    Most of us indirectly own these banks through pension funds and financial institutions.

    So if you want to say good bye to part of your pension fund then nationalise Banks.


  41. 41 AZ
    February 4, 2009 at 18:46


    The key is : Property Prices.

    We know how banks printed money. Causing Property price bubble.

    The banks know that these property prices are over valued.

    Banks cannot lend because the collateral – property is over valued.

    Only when property prices come down to earth. More than halve. Only then the credit will start to flow.


  42. 42 AZ
    February 4, 2009 at 18:52


    Have a look at this graph :


    House prices have got to come down substantially. More than halve.

    Only then will the earnings to house price ratio be at more reasonable level.


  43. February 4, 2009 at 18:55


    Yeah, if you had $100,000 in JP in May of ’07, today your pension is worth $45,000. If you “owned” Citigroup in may of ’07 to the tune of $100,000 it would now be worth $3000. It sure would be bad to see those pensions go away.

  44. 44 Maccus Germanis
    February 4, 2009 at 19:03


    And what would have motivated you to buy ownership of JP or Citigroup? Could it be the returns they posted? -Returns generated on overly complex derivatives- Would you have read carefully your quarterly prospectus?

  45. 45 mark mckeown
    February 4, 2009 at 19:54

    The banks should not be nationalized 100%, but western capitalism has over-reached, and should be reigned in to some extent. Government help such as FDR tried in the 1930s is the territory we should re-cross until the banks stabilize. Capitalism is not a guarantee of success, but is shaped by the times in which we live.

    Government help similar to nationalization appears now to be a necessity. But I believe that once recovery comes to pass, then the smart capitalism would be to gradually remove government from the financial institutions. The “how” would be shaped by the way the banks recover and become strong again.

  46. 46 kelvin kamayoyo from Lusaka- Zambia
    February 4, 2009 at 20:32

    Dear BBC,
    The governments really must temporary takeover the running of the Banks because the Banks have exhibited poor strategic thinking, thieving and selfishness. The Banks have failed to run themselves hence we need government as the infinite owners of economic sectors because the private sector is fooloishly driven by profits but unfortunately this time around it significantly developed appetite for feeding their stomachs only. Banks have betrayed liberalisation and have abused competition principles hence this mutating global economic meltdown.

    The Banks CEO must be punished severe because they are the obvious causes of this global economic meltdown through there intelligently organised cartels and hide information from the consumers or Bank depositors. I would like to propose that instead of only looking for how governments could bailout these careless and foolish financial sector’s entities but prosecute these CEO’s and make them also contribute to the bailouts by them selling part of their personal assets. The CEO have the monies to bailout themselves but because they are selfish and harbour greedness, they would rather hide their monies and pretend to have been hit by the credit crunch even when it is not true.

    Bravo! Obama please show them how an economy can be runned.


    Kelvin Kamayoyo
    Economist-Zambia Competition Commission

  47. 47 Jack Hughes
    February 5, 2009 at 02:50

    If you want to nationalise the banks then just look up the history of “British Leyland” in the UK.

  48. 48 RKA
    February 5, 2009 at 04:40

    Nationalizing banks will not solve the problem…since it will not appeal to the ‘greed’ psychosis of bankers. The people running the banking sector are primarily there to make money for themselves and sometimes by default ..for others…that is their incentive. They apply themselves diligently to their own cause. ..take away their incentive and the economy is good as dead. The solution lies somewhere in between.. keeping a close watch on the banks and audits…..

  49. 49 ~Dennis Junior~
    February 5, 2009 at 04:41

    Banking industry should be return to the state authority, clean of there problems and return to the Private world! This time with some tougher oversight on them..

    ~Dennis Junior~

  50. 50 Liankhanmuan
    February 5, 2009 at 08:59

    Nationalisation of banks is a remnant of the USSR. It should not be like ‘even if we fail at this, the Govt. is there’. It leads to professional begging — a begging of the high order.

  51. February 5, 2009 at 12:33


    Since AZ referenced “pensions” he was referring to the average American worker who has been encouraged to get involved in a 401k or the likewise. Most of us, in the 90% range, assign certain percentages to the 4 different categories that we are instructed represent various levels of “risk” and “yield”. This money is put into some kind of “fund” where we are not sure who we own part of. It is this 90% group that lost money and don’t even know it yet. It is this group who would have done better to have banks that were in the hands of the government and out of reach of their “pensions”. They were not motivated. People who claimed to know more then they did came to their places of business and explained the beauty of the 401k.

    The reality is I would prefer to have creditors completely out of the mix. Give me the extra 4 to 6% matching capital. Banks make money by extending credit to people who can not afford to buy products. This artificially jacks up the price of everything. That environment requires people who once could live on their own wages to all the sudden need credit. Banks have become the drug dealers to capitalism. Their product is phony, and their earnings and profits are economically as fraudulent as counterfeit money. The “returns” they posted were the spoils of the economy they pillaged.

  52. 52 AZ
    February 5, 2009 at 14:45

    Re: Quote

    Dwight From Cleveland February 4, 2009 at 18:55

    ” AZ,

    Yeah, if you had $100,000 in JP in May of ’07, today your pension is worth $45,000. If you “owned” Citigroup in may of ’07 to the tune of $100,000 it would now be worth $3000. It sure would be bad to see those pensions go away. ”


    Hi Dwight,

    If anyone invested in May 07 , as stated by you, at its highest point, it will be painful.

    Still should one refuse ‘ the crumbs ‘. Is it better to have nothing – Zero – than the few crumbs.

    Both JP and Citigroup share are being traded on the Stock Exchanges.

    People are still buying these bank shares for whatever reason.

    So what happens to these new purchasers. Should they lose 100 % of their investment.

    And since these shares are still in the main index , it is most likely that the Pension funds and tracker funds etc are still buying these shares on behalf of investors !



  53. 53 Maccus Germanis
    February 5, 2009 at 14:57


    Banks have become the drug dealers to capitalism.

    It is true enough that bad financial products were unscrupulously sold, but we aren’t currently talking about nationalizing illicit drug sales. -Are we? Both junkies, and unthinking 90% of consumers, that never bothered to understand the risks involved in that which they were purchasing, have their own share of blame. And those living clean of both heroin and bad credit shouldn’t be forced to pay for rehibilitation.

  54. 54 Peter
    February 5, 2009 at 15:22

    Yes .Why not ? It appears that a number of banks have been bailed out on National Wealth ie: taxpayers money. Therefore it will be justifiable to nationalize the banks and let the tax payers take the benefit. A few people have enjoyed the wealth of the banks for so many years, but when they go broke, they need the tax payers money to continue their luxurious life.

  55. February 5, 2009 at 17:04

    Banks should be nationalised. Take the case of Banks in India. There are nationalised as well as private banks. The ones that are nationalised are quite stable.

    One needs to understand that Banks run by govt have long term interests of citizens in their mind but Banks run by executives seem to have their own selfish interest. Whether it be making it the largest bank, or highest topline, etc.

    Since bank plays such an important function, I think there should be a balance and Govts should also own large banks with private banks also coexisting.

  56. 56 sarah neol
    February 5, 2009 at 17:12

    the banks should be nationaliz if people would read their bible they would know that this is all proferse which is coming to pass and it was said thah the profit william braham said that in his massages.all the banks will fail and the pope will have to help out the crisis with his money

  57. February 5, 2009 at 18:53

    The banks should not be nationalisd instead they should be left to amalgamate with stronger banks. To inject good money into failing banks is to pour good money into a black hole.
    All the money to be given to the banks is a great mistake instead they should follow the example of Germany in the 1930s which was in a deep recession similar to the one we find ourselves in. Germany spent vast amount of money putting people to work by building roads, houses etc, so that all industries were helped directly and indirectly and the result was tremendously beneficial to their economy. However they missguided themselves when they started World War 2.

  58. 58 Syed Hasan Turab
    February 5, 2009 at 21:35

    We need to upgrade our Corporate , security & Exchange rules. Any way USA is doing below the International Standard Banking & prevailing Federal, State, Corporate, Security & Exchange rules are holding Banking potencial, services & standard in USA.
    After Nationalisation they will go worst as they already been doing worst then third world Banking, even communist world is trying to open the doors for Privatisation instead of Nationalisation.

  59. 59 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    February 5, 2009 at 22:32

    Re: David Ancel (Oregon)
    February 4, 2009 at 14:58

    “Is this the best we hope to aspire to in society? The law of the Jungle? Wherein the vast majority of humans barely subsist and a tiny few become obscenely rich?”

    Today, i.e. 05 Feb 2009, Thu I took a bus to run an errand. I was alone and first I smiled and then I laughed. A few people gave me strange looks like I’d gone loco!

    The reason why I smiled and laughed was because I thought about what you said i.e.: “Is this the best we hope to aspire to in society? The law of the Jungle?”

    What I was thinking at that time was:

    Yeah! After thousands of years of human evolution and development we say Eureka!

    The new LAW we have discovered IS the OLD Law. The Law of the Jungle!

  60. February 6, 2009 at 09:35

    in times of crisis such as this one,any place or even thing can be converted as a collection point of the governments bailout or whatever.


  61. 61 Eric
    February 6, 2009 at 09:52

    The Global Greed of the Bankers and the unregulated market has failed us all
    The politicians looked away as usual.
    These Bankers and their political friends should be held personally responsible for their actions or inaction.
    Accountability and Transparency are what we need.
    Is the whole world to sacrificed on the Altar of Capitalism.?

  62. February 6, 2009 at 11:20


    There is a blaring difference between heroine and financial capital. You could live your entire life with out taking a single dose of heroine. (Ironically, the biggest trouble with drug users is often it runs them short on ways to pay for it.) This is not true of financial capital. Illegalizing money is known as “communism”.

    There was a long slow building process that lead to the rise of big banking. The events always seemed so harmless. In the past, in the US, every time a product became a necessity for the US economy, the government has either taken it over, or so heavily regulated it you might think they did. (Think phone company, gas, electric, mail, and broadcast industries.) The credit industry has become as important as any one of these.

    Some of the most accredited economic minds in the country didn’t see this coming. Now you expect a 55 yr old high school drop out who has spent his entire working career putting lug nuts on the tires at the Ford plant to look over the business plan of a giant financial institution that is buried in his 401k portfolio and say, “boy that isn’t a very good idea. If they keep up at this rate, the whole plan is going to crumble down on them.”

    PS: BBC mods, thank you for letting this debate continue and letting me post so many entries.

  63. February 6, 2009 at 11:39


    Instead of saying, “invested that day”, let just say that is where the wealth of your investment was at that point. It is quite believable that $50,000 represents the sum of your own money “contributed” over the past 10 years to get to that $100,000 in May of ’07. At $45,000 you have essential less then nothing. You are 5 grand in the hole compared to having just put it under your mattress. You got to remember in economics there is always “opportunity costs”.

    However, some slick guy, more educated then you, wearing a suit told you and all of your co-workers the merits of the stock market and rich you could be when you were retired. A few years prior this guy would have been selling Amway.

    My father in ’00 scolded me for buying a motorcycle I got a really good deal on. I paid $4000 for it. He said, “You should have put that money in the stock market. You could have doubled it by the end of the year.” I recently had somebody offer me $4000 for the bike. Pointing this out to my dad did not make him happy.

    The people who are still buying these shares are people like my dad. He lost so much money. Ho now spends his days buying and selling as the wind changes, gambling and trying to recoup.

  64. 64 Maccus Germanis
    February 6, 2009 at 16:22


    There does also exist a glaring difference between bad credit and responsible management of ones own liabilities. I suppose though since you now want to point out “glaring differences” between heroin and financial capital, you’ll cease refering to bankers as “drug dealers to capitalism.” Or are you just more comfortable with gov’t in the role of the dealer? For we are talking about addictive behavior, with you being an enabler.

    I do expect 55 yr old dropouts to understand and make independent analysis of where they place their money. If they only understand the physical certianty of burying socks full of cash in their back yard, then that is exactly what they should have done. Otherwise was to unwisely place trust in the “most accredited minds economic minds in the country,” -who just happened not to see this coming. Who was doing the accreditation? It certianly wasn’t me. The 55 yr old dropouts that gave over responsibility to those now proven untrustworthy can not reasonably expect better from gov’t. Each individual must take reposibility for their own decisions.

    Incidently, you failed to list any actual necessities. Amazing that we clever animals can be relied upon to feed ourselves, quench our thirst, and shelter ourselves, but our right to enter into contract with one another must be ripped away from us -for necessities sake.

  65. 65 Tom D Ford
    February 6, 2009 at 18:34

    Let’s recognize that we are in is what in logical arguments is called “reduction to absurdity” or Reductio ad absurdem; this is Conservatism reduced to its logical absurdity, utter economic failure.

    Now having recognized that, we need to turn back towards progressive economics.

  66. 66 Maccus Germanis
    February 6, 2009 at 19:33

    Let’s recognize that it is quite absurd to describe current financial diffilculties as “utter economic failure.” Why then presume to fix that which is beyond reapair? Why turn a blind eye to the “proggresive” programs that did distort house prices? Whether you should like to argue that this would have happened without Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac involvement into credit markets is immaterial. Factually, this has happened in the midst of such “progressive” programs. And current market corrections would likely have occured much sooner, with fewer people directly invested, had real market forces not been pretended against.

  67. 67 Michael Marshall
    February 7, 2009 at 08:42

    Nationalise banks,, mmmm, maybe it would be a good thing especially when reading that certain banks have been giving 6 figure bonuses to its ” employees”.
    The present chrisis has been caused by banks greed and there seems to be no accountability, so by nationalising the banks where will the accountability be. On the whole the same people will still be there and the Goverment has direct access to all accounts, which also could be a good thing as it would make laundering money more difficult for the criminals and easier for the politicians.
    Another question begs some answers, where is all the tax payers money going once it has been dished out to the poor banks, don’t the public have a right to know how the money is utilised and where!
    From my experience, and I have travelled the world over many years and I have found most Goverments and especially Goverments to be the most corrupt .
    One only has to look at Belgium and you sense it has to be corrupt, also the people accept it is corrupt, Capital of course Brussels, a lot of comfort there.
    So nationalising banks not on your life.

  68. 68 Emile Barre
    February 7, 2009 at 12:30

    Ask the Japanese.

  69. 69 John in Germany
    February 9, 2009 at 09:27

    No, nationalisation is not the answer, it would lead to more corruption than there is, would slow down the system a lot more, and Bureaucratic Devil would raise its ugly head once more.

    No! the answer is strict control by non political experts, plus representatives from business, and law. A capping of earnings , no results no Bonuses. A restriction as to the bonus volume which should be distributed to all members of an organisation, not just to the top ten. The personal wealth of owners should be used to a % if bankruptcy is declared, before just sacking employees. Finance buyers should be forbidden from buying Businesses thought to be near Bankruptcy, or bankrupt. Hertie in Germany is a possible good example. Take the cream, and leave the rest to go sour.

    Sadly one thing that is no longer possible and that is to induce Morals and Responsibility for others in nearly all of the people concerned with World Finance, and its various systems. It is not possible to re-educate when the upbringing has failed. Thank Heavens there are still some with morals, and sensitivity toward us all, but it could be more.

    Carry on Mr President. A Ray of Sunshine on a cloudy day.

    Sad old World, but changes are on the way.

    John in Germany.

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