The Rooseveltian moment
The Darling rescue plan is a half-baked start, probably better than nothing, although not a lot. Its proposal of an option of part-nationalisation of any and all commercial banks is an attempt by the Government to step in the right direction, although it is absurd that vast amounts more of taxpayers' money should be potentially going into the banks without giving us any control over them. Without such control, there is absolutely no guarantee that they will start lending to businesses or to each other.
And so this begs the further crucial question: Why should such a nationalisation be only temporary? Why should we allow commercial banks to profit rampantly in the good times, and sooner or later start speculating again, pushing the envelope, ramping up the risks and precipitating fresh bubbles or crises?
We need fundamental reform of the banking system, to stop crises like this from ever re-occuring. The current proposals alone will never be long-term safe, because after a while a privatised banking system will start agitating and pushing to strip away and circumvent the protections and regulations.
So isn't what we really need to seize the moment to permanently eliminate the spectre of private banking profiteering and excessive risk-taking? The only sustainable banking system is a banking system that strips out the private commercial profit motive. We should, it now seems to me, have a banking system consisting of a huge public sector that is democratically directed toward a sustainable economy, with low interest-rates, plus a network of co-ops, mutuals and credit unions, to ensure diversity in the banking system.
Truly, it is time for a new Rooseveltian moment, and more. Or else the prognosis will be grim. I am angry about the casino-mentality which has got us into this hole; and the massive scale and truly fundamental nature of the shift needed to get us out of it is clear... This is the new era of strong government regulation and of public ownership and control. The New Labour and Tory light-touch deregulatory neoliberal approaches are, by contrast, LITERALLY bankrupt...