Seumas Milne • http://www.guardian.co.uk • July 3, 2012
The Barclays scandal has underlined the City’s unmuzzled power. But it also offers a chance to take democratic control.
…The rate-rigging scandal now offers a second opportunity to build the pressure for fundamental change. That’s hard to imagine being carried out by a coalition dominated by the City-funded Tories, but Labour has also yet to break fully with its pre-crisis economic model.
Tougher regulation or even a full separation of retail from investment banking will not be enough to shift the City into productive investment, or even prevent the kind of corrupt collusion that has now been exposed between Barclays and other banks. As a report by Manchester University’s Cresc research team argues this week, the size and complexity of the modern banking system makes it “near ungovernable”.
Only if the largest banks are broken up, the part-nationalised outfits turned into genuine public investment banks, and new socially owned and regional banks encouraged can finance be made to work for society, rather than the other way round. Private sector banking has spectacularly failed – and we need a democratic public solution.
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