It is time to reframe the question. Banks and financial institutions should do what economy and society want them to do…
\”Economy and society\” \’s desires being intermediated and interpreted by Will Hutton of course.
This is entirely the opposite of a free market. There what an organisation does is determined, or at least what the organisation tries to do is determined, by what the owners of it wish to offer and what the potential customers desire to purchase from it.
The reason this \”free market\” (and yes, I\’m obviously aware that there is no such thing, just markets which are freer or less free) works so much better than one where \”society\” is doing the directing is simple. The only way we have of determining what society wants is the political process.
So, look what the political process has brought us in terms of civil liberties: the suspension of Habeas Corpus, the denial of trial by jury, the abolition of the double criminality rule over extradition, in Europe the abolition of even an evidentiary hearing over extradition.
In housing the political process brought us John Prescott\’s wonderful idea that the way to provide more housing was to knock 400,000 houses down.
I could go on of course. Now finance isn\’t perfect, this is obvious. But a system in which Gordon Brown and Ed Balls run it instead, or Gideon, or Will Hutton and Anne Pettifor, isn\’t going to be any better. In fact, as an inescapable part of it being entwined with politics, it will be worse.
Seriously, do you want banking and finance to be brought to you by the people who brought you the cones hotline, the Dangerous Dogs Act, the Digital Copyright Bill and the Jams, Jellies, Marmalades and Sweet Chestnut Puree regulations (those ones which so famously define carrots as fruit)?
Quite, I rest my case.