The Banking Crisis: Portents of Historical Doom
The Vickers report on the future of the UK’s banks has been published to the predictable wailing from the banks, and gnashing of teeth from politicians.
Whether the rapacious tendencies of testosterone-fuelled traders (men and women included, I suspect) can be tempered by ring-fencing our carefully-hoarded savings remains to be seen. In my head it’s a white-picket fence, 6″ high, with a 3 tonne bull charging towards it, but maybe I need a) more sleep b) less caffeine.
Listening to one of my favourite podcasts, The Bugle, the usual bullshit-fuelled antics were interrupted by a series of quotes from Andy Zaltzman, one of the hosts. They seemed timely and prescient, ironic, then that they’re several hundred, or in one case, thousands of years old:
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”
Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president of US (1743 – 1826)
“Banks have done more injury to the religion, morality, tranquility, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they can have done or ever will do good.”
John Adams (1735-1826)
“The budget should be balanced,
the Treasury should be refilled,
public debt should be reduced,
the arrogance of officialdom
should be tempered and controlled,
and the assistance to foreign lands
should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt.
People must again learn to work,
instead of living on public assistance.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
I guess we’ll live and learn. Or judging by those quotes, not so much.
Photo (cc) S. MiRK.