We may have thought in the last four years that the financial industry reached rock-bottom. But in the last couple of months we clearly heard knocking from below and it looks the financial industry will fall even further.
First a well-known for years industry practice of LIBOR interest rate rigging was found its way to the mainstream media as if it was something out of ordinary. This is the logic of the financial industry, especially in the City, and it is inconceivable - at least to the author of this article but everyone has to make his/her own mind - that The Economist did not know it when they were publishing "Save the City" article.
Then there were comments and explanations from Barclays Bank which - for some reason - was singled out in the LIBOR scandal. Price or financial rate rigging of any sort is wrong in any circumstances under free market principles. It is dishonest. The only kind of rigging which is the exception from this rule is by regulation. But regulation is not an ad-hoc decision of a banker, politician or bureaucrat but an effect of a transparent democratic process safeguarded by the clearly defined regulations. It is hard to believe that those who were involved in or knew about LIBOR rigging did not understand such basics.
We also heard news about HSBC involvement in drug money-laundering and mis-selling of complex financial products. It provided more examples that the financial industry has degenerated into a primitive fraud machine based on deceit. Before the end of 2008 each of this news would have been a massive scandal. These days we all seem to accept that this is how the financial industry works.
The mainstream media do not even dare to discuss the underlying cause of the current financial mess, the real engine of the fraud machine, which is bringing the western economy down. It is worthwhile to look into it again and how it works.
Cautious conclusions, based on other fraud investigations, indicate that a bunch of quite (not that) clever financiers changed the banking system practice from "fractional reserve banking" (i.e. lending with loan to deposit ratio below 100%) to, what the author of this blog called, "depleting reserves banking" (i.e. lending with loan to deposit ratio above 100%, which technically and legally is a pyramid scheme).
"Depleting reserves banking" rather than accumulating cash reserves at every deposit – loan cycle, depletes them. To cover this up a lot of instruments and methodology were invented (so-called "financial innovations") giving an illusion that whilst banks' reserves were rid of cash they somehow still had the reserves to cover for cash liabilities. This has nothing to do with whether cash is a paper or electronic record, but who is the guarantor of liability. Cash is guaranteed by a state. This is the key to understand this crisis: whilst capital reserves appeared to have been sufficient at the start of this crisis they collapsed in value as there was no sufficient cash on the market and only a state intervention prevented the financial system from a melt down.
"Depleting reserves banking" practice, peddled by fraudsters, need an army of incompetent "professionals" to run it. Incompetent to such a degree that they did not understand that this was a crude pyramid scheme that was bound to collapse. Hence a huge bunch of history, anthropology, other social sciences and, importantly, lawyers were employed as banks executives to execute heist designed that way. Typically these people's career in banking was very often based on hang-ups. A huge majority of them were very poor in maths in school and banking environment gave them a sense of massive self-importance. They became "masters of the universe" whilst many of their friends who were so much better in science at school were left behind in pretty poorly paid and mundane engineering jobs.
This mechanism was very important to the heist organisers. It created a mindless and incompetent army of financiers, like child soldiers in Africa. It also built a massive lobbying army protecting heist organisers from criminal consequences. This mindless lobbying army was also strengthened by the senior politicians who were given City jobs after the retirement. It is rather impossible to lock up thousands of influential thieves, most of whom did not even understand they were stealing. A lot of them still believe they were"creating value". Psychologically it is like prosecuting child soldiers in Africa. However this time we deal with the adults who should have known not to do jobs they were not suited for. Like a butcher should know that he cannot operate on humans: even taking appendix out which is a trivial surgical operation.
Is it then surprising that the UK economy is suffering from recession again, so-called a double-dip? Most politicians and mainstream media commentators appear to be surprised. This "double-dip" is a simple and easily predictable result of the way the economy is managed. Its is actually quite surprising that the recession is not even deeper. Are politicians playing stupid or are they really THAT stupid?