It’s time to take over the banks

fbumenExcerpts from a condensed version of a pamphlet just produced by the Fire Brigades Union, which moved a successful motion for the nationalisation of the banks at the last Trades Union Congress. The pamphlet was written by Labour Briefing correspondents Michael Roberts and Mick Brooks.

…Until the crash, Britain’s banks had been on a spree. They dealt with astronomical sums of money, selling each other fantastic pieces of paper. This madness included not only speculative investment banks like Goldman Sachs or Lehman Brothers, but also Britain’s high street banks like Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). They all had investment arms desperate to get in on the speculative boom. Yet as Lord Turner, chair of the Financial Services Authority said in 2009 after the crash, much of this was ‘socially useless activity’……

…The state now has a clear controlling interest in RBS (owning 82% of shares). It should be run for the public interest since working people paid for the shares. The public shareholding in Lloyds (currently 43%) should also be enough for the Government to dictate terms…

…The financial sector would become the major lever for planning the economy. Planning would not be achieved by bureaucratically allotting human and material resources to definite purposes. It would be done by making finance available to applicants with good ideas and useful investment plans. Currently, finance chases around the globe seeking out the maximum profit – driving down wages, exploiting children, destroying the environment – all in the endless search for profit. A publicly owned banking system would mark a sharp break with all this. It would mean the majority beginning to take control of the economy and running it democratically in the interests of the majority. That is probably the single most important reason why the banks should come under public ownership and democratic control…

To see the full extract see our subcriptions page or better still meet and discuss the options with the authors at the public meeting on Tuesday March 5th : LRC Meeting

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