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Ben Chu

Ben Chu has been a leader writer at The Independent since 2004. Before that he worked at the paper on the comment desk, letters department and the personal finance pages. He studied history at Jesus College, Oxford between 1997 and 2000.

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The banking cuckoo in the nest

Posted by Ben Chu
  • Thursday, 9 July 2009 at 11:14 am

The banking lobby, in response to the Government's latest White Paper, has mobilised the usual battalions. Screw the regulatory clamp down too hard, they say, and you'll kill the City of London goose which lays the golden eggs.
            Why do we take this seriously? All the evidence suggests we would be more prosperous with a properly regulated financial sector. Spain forced their banks to hold more capital in the boom years. Canada had tight regulation of its financial sector. Both countries have weathered the credit implosion significantly better than the US and Britain where we pretty much left the banks to their own devices.
            Their banks might have produced less tax revenue for their treasuries in the credit mania, but they didn't need bailing out, at vast public expense, when the bubble burst.
             As even Adair Turner, the head of the FSA, has conceded, many of the boom profits of our reckless banks were illusory. Those golden eggs weren't real. Isn't an untamed City of London less like a beneficent goose than a cuckoo in the nest, greedily sucking up resources and forcing the rest of us to submit to its will?


oceanleopard wrote:
Sunday, 12 July 2009 at 04:37 pm (UTC)
Wow. That's a perspective I hadn't considered. Thank you for bringing these facts to my attention - and I hope to see some kind of followup on this in the future.

I also wonder if it is these wonderfully strong opinions which brought you to your position at The Independent. I've been fired for my opinions despite the fact they bring readers in droves (i.e. Do you think it is dependent on the company, or is there some other factor I'm missing?

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