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No, Occupy London nutters were not "right"

31st Oct 12 12:00 am

Foolish speech by Bank of England board member will only backfire

What on earth was Andrew Haldane thinking? This guy is supposed to be the Bank of England’s executive director for financial stability. And here he is, addressing the assorted Marxists and anarchists of the Occupy London movement, giving them a stomach-turning endorsement.

“Occupy has been successful in its efforts to popularise the problems of the global financial system for one very simple reason; they are right,” said our Stockholm Syndrome sufferer.

“It is the analytical, every bit as much as the moral, ground that Occupy has taken. For the hard-headed facts suggest that, at the heart of the global financial crisis, were — and are — problems of deep and rising inequality.”

Lord. Where to start with this mess?

How about the absurd notion that the Occupy Movement wants to fix banking. If Haldane stayed to chat with his audience it would soon have struck him that their mission is to destroy banking en route to destroying capitalism completely.

Perhaps he missed their banners?

In truth the Occupy Movement was crippled by a lack of agreement on what they did want. But it’s safe to list:

1)      Death and/or ruination of the rich

2)      An end to fractional reserve banking

3)      An end to profit-making by large corporations

4)      The imposition of Soviet-era centralised production quotas

5)      Green objectives to overrule all economic considerations

6)      Wholesale redistribution of income and wealth across society

7)      Destruction of financial services as an industry

Some Occupy bodies, such as the weird Zeitgeist Movement, wants a single world government, which would allocate jobs and resources according to a single “rational” plan.

Others are money supply conspiracists who believe all money is created by debt, and designed to enslave us all. Some want to live in teepees in a carbon free, sustainable manner.

A pseudo-Marxist craving for the collapse of our current society permeates all of the Occupy activist groups.

Poor Haldane is deluded if he thinks these cranks want to sort out banking by tweaking capital adequacy ratios or re-align the remuneration incentives of bankers.

They want smash him, and the Bank of England, to bits.

Annoyingly, the US version of the Occupy movement is far more nuanced. There the debate centred around reforms to the banks and disgraceful nature of the TARP bailouts. It was pro-capitalist, and had little in common with the London branch.

Haldane needs to realise this. Tellingly, his speech advocates dealing with asset bubbles, cracking down on corruption, promoting competition in banking and addressing “a system with in-built incentives for self-harm”. There was nothing Norman Tebbit would have disagreed with.

Maybe…just maybe…Haldane knows this, and was toying with his audience. If so, I salute his deviousness. He certainly pleaded for their support for his capitalist reforms.

But the sad truth is the Occupy movement will gain heart from his praise. These nutjobs will be back, and in greater numbers.

The greatest threat to our prosperity isn’t a banking crisis – look at Iceland, which was hit hardest, but survived socially intact. It is the re-igniting of Cold War era socialist alternatives, of the sort which plunged Eastern Europe into a fifty year Dark Age.

One would expect the Bank of England’s board members, if anyone, to understand that.

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