Finance’s corrupting power exposed

Ann Pettifor: 20th February 2009

This is an image of the billionaire Allen Stanford posing with members of the English and West Indian Cricket boards in London in June, 2008. The plastic box is stashed with $20 million and was used – in the most obscene public display of wealth – to lure the gullible and naive cricket establishment into his web of power.

I argued at length in my 2006 book, The coming first world debt crisis,  that the Finance sector – call it the finance oligopoly – corrupted all aspects of society throughout the period celebrated as ‘globalisation’.  Their tentacles embraced and corrupted good men and women in politics, sport, industry, the arts, public broadcasting – and the banking sector itself.  Was religion immune? Some, but not all religions I suspect.

Today the exposure of the political system and the international game of cricket to this corruption is laid bare. Allen Stanford it turns out is accused by the SEC of defrauding investors – ‘a massive fraud’. But he is guilty of worse: corrupting the sport of cricket and, it is asserted politicians too.

Those in the driving seat of the globalisation juggernaut – economists, politicians, central bankers, finance ministers, financiers, hedge fund managers, international investment bankers, gamblers, speculators – believed that they could continue to corrupt society, enrich the rich, and extract additional assets from the earth and from ordinary people – forever.

They lived in a world in which gambling, speculating, making money from money was like baking an enormous, yeasty cake which would rise exponentially and inexorably. Now the cake has flopped.  Witness the collapse of Donald Trump’s casino gambling empire. And the Dow Jones U.S. Gambling Index has fallen some 83 percent since its lifetime high reached in October 2007.

The rich are brought down, if not humbled.  Far worse is the devastating impact on all of our culture and institutions. The sport of cricket is tainted, politics discredited and held in contempt.  Society’s  disillusionment, the cynicism of the young towards these institutions,  will most likely weaken them. That will be disastrous. We need healthy, democratic political institutions with which to restore the values and practice of decency to our society.

In the words of Roosevelt: “The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.” (Inaugural speech, 1933.)

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1 comment to Finance’s corrupting power exposed

  • Ken MacIntyre

    Wise words.

    FDR also said – ‘There must be strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments. There must be an end

    to speculation with other people’s money.’

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