Friday, 5 June 2015

Riding the tiger

If we are to believe Conor Lynch, the political debate on the other side of the Atlantic sounds as if it's in a more hope-y change-y place than it is here in Britain, at least when it comes to neutering the ravening beast that is Big Finance:
...if we are to believe the data suggesting the millennial generation is the most liberal yet. In fact, a few years ago, a Pew poll suggested that millennials (18-29) view socialism more favorably than capitalism, which is quite astonishing for the United States.
Elizabeth Warren and the rising liberal movement have created a real fear within the Republican party and Wall Street. Certain right wing pundits paint Warren as nothing less than a radical socialist, aiming to overthrow the capitalist system. This is fear. Fear that the new liberal movement is not just a fad, and that the future is moving leftward...
...The fact is, Wall Street is afraid of modern liberalism, and is working hard to kill it from within with the same arguments that were made in the eighties and nineties. The only difference is, today, we know just how bad neoliberalism has been for the majority of people, and how good it has been for folks on Wall Street.
Link here (trigger warning: article contains gratuitously annoying pop-up ad)

If we are to believe that the American future is moving, if not leftward, then at least away from the full-spectrum dominance of Big Finance, then why aren't we?

I think the answer has been around for a while. Remember the 'Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?' question. A no-brainer version would be 'Would you rather fight a German Shepherd half your weight, or a tiger that weighs three times as much as you?' I think there wouldn't be much Internet debate about which was the least worst option here:

Total bank assets as a percentage of host countries' GDP (from a Zerohedge post written in 2010)
  • UK - RBS, Barclays, HSBC: 337%
Compare that to the top 5 banks in the US (a list which excludes hedge funds such as Goldman Sachs).
  • US - JP Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Fannie: just 56% of GDP.

There was a young lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger;
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.