Do we live in a truly decadent age?
Can anyone get away with anything?
These are questions I feel compelled to ask after watching just a few minutes of Howard Davies and Ross McEwan, of the taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), giving evidence before last Tuesday’s Parliamentary Treasury Select Committee.
To not, as a society, vehemently question the goings on at these proceedings implies a collective post traumatic stress disorder following the 2008 crash that has robbed us of the dignity and empathy that we need to recover.
But recover we must. Current tolerance levels for corruption and injustice remain incredibly high and we all too often simply carry on.
Rushdie used to quote Kundera by saying that man’s struggle against the system was like the persistence of memory when trying to forget.
What happens when we can’t forget?
Madness is rare in individuals – but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche
What happens when powerful individuals are given platforms to defend corporate criminality while the rightful anger and people’s sense of injustice is segmented and siloed off to the point of non-existence, like the risk on a series of high risk collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) repackaged as Triple A reliable investments during good times only to re-emerge as toxic during the bad.
The risk and the anger never go away. They just get stored up for a later date. “They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind”. Some will wonder why no-one heeded the warnings. How the journalists are to blame just as much as the government and the bankers.
Maybe the warning signs are hidden in the business pages. As Harvey Cox says in The Market as God, the concepts in the business pages are theological. Redemption and Retribution. People getting away with stuff and others getting punished. Why does God permit it? Nowadays we have PR people, Regulators, Central Banks, Blacklisted Whistleblowers and a growing number of unhappy customers.
If you kick off about this stuff, people ridicule you for making a big deal out of nothing, for being an anti-business Social Justice Warrior that knows nothing about the way of the world.
If the facts of life really are conservative then why make a fuss about anything?
Anyway, here’s that master class in how to carry out state-sanctioned cannibalistic, rampant Crony Capitalism in broad daylight — and get away with it.
Lots of innocent Small Business Owners have been asset stripped of their families, marriages, businesses and homes by the RBS Global Restructuring Group (GRG), and all many of them will get is this:
It is hard to see which features of Crony Capitalism don’t apply here:
Crony capitalism is an economy in which businesses thrive not as a result of risk taken for them, but rather as a return on money amassed through a nexus between a business class and the political class. This is done using state power to crush genuine competition in handing out permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state interventionover resources where the state exercises monopolist control over public goods, for example, mining concessions for primary commodities or contracts for public works. Money is then made not merely by making a profit in the market, but by profiteering by “rent seeking” using this monopoly or oligopoly. Entrepreneurship and innovative practices, which seek to reward risk are stifled, since the value-add is little by crony businesses as hardly anything of significant value is created by them, with transactions taking the form of “trading”. Crony capitalism spills over into the government, the politics and the media, when this nexus distorts the economy and affects society to an extent it corrupts public-serving economic, political and social ideals.
The term “crony capitalism” made a significant impact in the public as an explanation of the Asian financial crisis. It is also used to describe governmental decisions favoring “cronies” of governmental officials. In this context, the term is often used comparatively with corporate welfare, a technical term often used to assess government bailouts and favoritistic monetary policy, as opposed to the economic theory, described by “crony capitalism”. The extent of difference between these terms is whether a government action can be said to benefit the individuals rather than the industry.
Off with their heads. No questions asked.
But for some reason, the British sense of fair play perhaps, they remain.
But how long can this carry on?
So none of what is said in a select committee hearing can be relied upon in civil or criminal proceedings against anyone but attempting to mislead is Contempt of Parliament.
I’m still waiting for the full transcript of Davies and McEwan’s hearing to go up. I feel the people at Parliament are dragging their feet.
McKinsey, Treasury, Seconded Special Adviser to Nigel Lawson when he was Thatcher’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Bank of England, Head of the Audit Commission which is now defunct but was instrumental in overseeing Thatcher’s Privatisation and Denationalisation agenda including Fraud Investigation, the London School of Economics from where he had to resign because of his closeness to Colonel Gaddafi, and now he’s the Chair of the Fraud Machine that is the 71% taxpayer owned Royal Bank of Scotland.
Here he is on PFI.
For more on how banks treat their customers, their staff, and the whistleblowers that speak out, follow Real Media, financial adviser Stephen Middleton, Bank Confidential,Kam Sandhu, Joel Benjamin, Ian Fraser, and Whistleblowers Mark Wright & Nicholas Wilson:
— stephen middleton (@stevemiddi1) February 3, 2018