and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it...Whoever commits a
fraud is guilty not only of the particular injury to him who he deceives, but
of the diminution of that confidence which constitutes not only the ease
but the existence of society."
This enlightening essay excerpted below is remarkable because the
author strikes right to the heart of the matter, rather than endlessly
talking around technical details of how to 'fix' things, adjusting this and
that, which is what people close to, if not caught up in, the financial
problem are often wont to do.
And such a tinkering discussion of it is a trap.
The patient does not require a pill or a poultice, a better diet or dental
health regime, but surgery, and the sooner the better. The Volker Rule is a
dulled knife, but directionally correct. And the banks fear it, and hate it,
as they do all meaningful reform. Theirs is the art of privileged deception,
and it is the common cause they find with their political systems.
And of course and unfortunately it is the same with their central banks and
the corporations that have grown up around them, who are upholding the exorbitant privilege, and danger, of the dollar reserve currency, which is to their benefit, by the
massive mispricing of risk every day in the bond and currency, metal and
derivatives markets. And the interval between major interventions is decreasing, such is the decay of their position.
The ongoing and conscious mispricing of risk is going to cause a second
financial crisis that will be much worse than the first, which was also due
to the conscientious mispricing of risk with the intent to take advantageous
profit, which is a euphemism for fraud.
Fraud is corrosive, and impinges on what Samuel Johnson called that
confidence which constitutes the ease and existence of society. And taken to
the extreme levels which we have seen from the Wall Street Banks, the
manipulating of markets to achieve personal profits, even under the excuse of
governmental ends, becomes an assault on society as a whole.
The author is David Malone, a second generation documentary film maker.
And a special thanks to friend and City maven 'Harry' for sending this my
way. And for passing along the amusing commonplace in the City of JPM and GS
as Professor Moriarity and Colonel Sebastian Moran.
I have previously imagined the US Ratings Agencies with a Pythonesque
twist, as The Crimson Permanent Assurance.
And perhaps in a similar whimsical vein, JPM and GS are more like Captain
Flint and Long John Silver, with Canary Wharf as Dry Tortuga.
And Bernanke is the Parrot. Pieces of Eight! Arrrrrr.
Propaganda Wars : Our
Version – Risk Weighted Lies. 1
By Golem XIV
February 28, 2012
The core claim of the Big banks and those who support them is that the
financial system, as it is presently constituted, is not only fair and fit
for purpose, but essential for our continued welfare. People should therefore
stop complaining and knuckle down to suffer whatever deprivation is
necessary. All must serve the greater good. Or as it should really be known
– the Good of the Greater.
The banks are not frightened by a bank failure or two. As long as governments
are prepared to force their people to bleed for the banks’ welfare it
can actually be an opportunity. A bank failure is just a chance for the
better connected ones to predate. Neither are they worried by a case of fraud
here or an indictment there. They will settle for a sum which is of no significance
to them, in return for a “no admission of guilt” clause. If
necessary they are even prepared to throw one of their own to the baying
crowd. No one in banking shed a tear for Fred the Shred. And why should they?
Call him greedy if you want. See if he cares. He’d already sucked his
millions from the wreak he left behind.
What scares the banks is any criticism that goes beyond claims of greed or
fraud or even incompetence, and instead questions the system itself. The
sanctity and perfection of the system and its right to ‘regulate’
itself, is what they are totally committed to protect. The system is what
gives them their status and wealth. Question that and you threaten them where
they are vulnerable.
It seems to me therefore that it is high time we questioned not just the
probity, or even the solvency of the big global banks but their very
intellectual foundation. It is time for us to wrench back the initiative from
the banks. The financial elite have spent all this last year rewriting
history so that blame for the banking crisis has been turned away from them
and laid instead at the door of ‘people’ and then entire nations
who ‘took’ on debts they coudn’t
It is time to counter-attack and make the case, that it was and is the way
that banks and banking go about their normal business that caused this crisis
and are still causing it. We have to show that it was not a break down in an
otherwise fine system which caused this crisis but that it was a result and
consequence of a system which is an utter failure at doing what it prides
itself most on being able to do – managing risk. Not just a onetime
failure but a systemic failure which presents an on-going danger to the rest
So let’s be clear. There is no systemic risk at all in welfare spending,
no matter how large it becomes, for the simple reason that there is no
surprise in welfare spending. It does not jump out at you unexpectedly.
Welfare and social spending are a slow moving
behemoths that can be seen coming for decades ahead. The only danger is they
will trample you to death if you are stupid enough to stand there for decades
listening, slack jawed, to the competing teams of
witless cretins whose flatulent play-acting is all that remains of our
There is, I suggest, a very clear, present and on-going systemic risk and
danger from global banking. It was, after all, banking not welfare which gave
us the phrase ‘systemic risk’. Bankers deal in risk. The welfare
state deals in…welfare. Like it or loath it, there is no ‘risk’
in welfare or in social spending. They are linear and entirely predictable
problems. Banking on the other hand not only deals in risk, it
manufactures it. Risk is what bankers bank on.
Don’t take my word for it. Andrew Haldane is the Executive Director for
Financial Stability at the Bank of England. In his speech at the London
‘Future of Banking’ conference held in July 2010 he said rather
clearly (Page 14),
…banks are in the risk business…’
His entire paper was analysing
the ways in which banks create risk and then systematically mislead us and
even each other about what they have created. He goes on to say (Page
…it should be no surprise that the run-up to
crisis was hallmarked by imaginative ways of manufacturing this commodity,
with a view to boosting returns to labour and
capital. Risk illusion is no accident; it is there by design. It is in
bank managers’ interest to make mirages seem like miracles.
The mirage he refers to is the contribution banks
claim to make to our over all economic well-being
Read the rest here.