Much has been said about the rotten culture in investment banking – now from both the prime minister and the governor of the Bank of England. But the regulators, the British government and bank managements – all genuflecting to the wisdom of the age that free markets make no mistakes – allowed a business model to be created in which men and women with very little skill and no moral compass could make themselves millionaires in a very short time. They contributed zero wider economic value but created immense systemic risk for the rest of the economy.
A rotten culture does not emerge from thin air. It emerges from structures that encourage rotten behaviour – and Britain, following the false gods that free markets and financial services were its economic future, created such structures big time, cheered along by a cross-party alliance that extended from Boris Johnson to Gordon Brown. Now is a decisive moment for both the City and the economy. The City’s reputation is at rock bottom. Meanwhile the economy acutely needs a financial system that backs wealth-generating innovation. We need a determined root and branch reform of British finance to restore international trust, develop the national economy and to bring an end to the mis-selling scandals. In RBS’s case, the bank was even unable to discharge for a week its basic function – allowing its customers to transact financial business.
A start has been made with the promised implementation of the Vickers commission’s recommendations to ringfence investment banking from commercial banking. The ringfence, weakened by George Osborne under intense pressure from the banks, should be strengthened to produce a de facto separation. In particular, “prop” trading desks should operate as fully separate units with their own boards, balance sheets and capital. The measures should be rolled out as soon as they become law rather than delayed until 2019.
That is only a start. The banks and the British Bankers’ Association can no longer be allowed to set Libor: this task must now be done by the Financial Conduct Authority that is to succeed the FSA. London must also fall into line with international practice and require all derivative trades in the over-the-counter market to post appropriate collateral. London can no longer be the wild west of international finance where American and European law can be flouted. I would go further and require all financial instruments to be traded in organised exchanges.
Expedition 31 Commander Oleg Kononenko, NASA Flight Engineer Don Pettit and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers landed safely in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft on the steppe of Kazakhstan near the town of Dzhezkazgan on July 1, 2012. The trio completed 193 days in space and 191 days on the International Space Station since launching in late December 2011. They are shown being assisted into reclining chairs by Russian personnel and beginning their adaptation to gravity after they were extracted from their capsule in Kazakhstan.
A webhost has come under pressure from Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN for providing a WordPress-based anti-censorship tool which unblocks, among other sites, The Pirate Bay. The Hollywood-funded group says that in the face of the host’s refusal to comply with the takedown, it is now considering filing a criminal complaint. A lawyer specializing in IT law has today described the threat as “baseless.”
We need to change “ex-parte” law to get lawyers who know who the other party is and still use the procedure dis-barred and thrown out of the profession.
something that you’re not going to hear anywhere else, that you must pay attention to. It’s well known that Roberts, unfortunately for him, has suffered from epileptic seizures. Therefore he has been on medication. Therefore neurologists will tell you that medication used for seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, can introduce mental slowing, forgetfulness and other cognitive problems. And if you look at Roberts’ writings you can see the cognitive dissociation in what he is saying.
– right-wing host Michael Savage
When the International Trade Committee in the European Parliament went to vote for or against ACTA, there was a huge poster on the door breaking about half the rules in the (very long) book, urging the committee to vote in favor of ACTA. That poster has now been discovered to be a copyright monopoly violation committed by the pro-ACTA camp.
The poster on the International Trade Committee’s door showed an image of a cargo ship cruising, saying “ACTA will protect and promote Europe’s… IP-intensive industries”, on the day of the vote. A lot of us activists were justifiably upset about this. Now, it turns out that the pro-ACTA lobbyists did indeed create a poster arguing for ACTA that is in itself a copyright monopoly violation, showing clearer than ever that the copyright monopoly is, well, bollocks. If the most fervent proponents and lawyers of the copyright monopoly can’t follow it in the most dire of circumstances, there is no further pretending that a teenager or Joe Plumber should be expected to. Accordingly, the harsher enforcement that ACTA would bring is, if possible, even more insane.