Banking Demons.



 People of more than zero influence are waking up to the fact that they have to admit that there is something  wrong with the banking system as it is. A delicate task: something has to be revealed, but not so much that the pyramid upon which the wealthy rest, would crumble.

 Paul Krugman, long extremely partial to private banks, wrote an editorial in the New York Times on the subject of how outrageous banking, as presently practiced, is. Krugman could have written this years ago. But he did not. Instead he waited until the plutocratic party went one outrage too far.

 In Dimon’s Déjà Vu Debacle, Krugman focuses on the fact that the state insures the banksters. Of course the state does much more: it reassures the banksters, thus encouraging them in their crimes. But not just that. The state gives trillions to banks so that they can play with each other. Krugman will not tell you that. For years he has been pushing stridently for Quantitative Easing, giving trillions to banks, no strings attached.

 Same idea as Reaganism, or Sarkozism: give to the rich, so that the rich will give to you.

 The bank JP Morgan Chase lost 3 billion, or maybe 5, or 100 billion. No problem, says Romney: it’s not their money, it’s theirs! If it’s not to some banks, that money, it’s to some other guys. Guys like me, guys, say romney, and he beams with pride.

 In truth, though, that money is neither to the banks, nor to those other guys. That money is yours. Private banks are in charge of creating public money, in guise of private credit.

 Some will say: this is how capitalism works. No, that’s how a particular form of fractional reserve based financial parasitism works. Proof: the Nineteenth and Twentieth century revolutionaries (Marx, etc.) did not talk about it. Instead they mostly talked about the abuse of workers by great capital. (Now there are not even workers to abuse…) At most Marx complained a bit about the monopoly of banks. The scam existed already at the time, but it was discrete.

 Romney lauded the plutocratic doctrine in relation with JP Morgan’s loss. Milder partisan of the established order, such as many in the democratic party, feel that Romney is going too far. More importantly, he wants to take their place. So, to their regret, they have to mention a bit of what’s wrong with banks.

 Romney said that JP Morgan’s loss was excellent, because it benefited somebody else, namely an evil plutocrat laughing all the way to his private jet. Romney conveniently forgot to mention that, ultimately, it’s the taxpayer who foot the banks’ bill (as Krugman finally points out, when, as I already said, he could have done it years ago). Romney is pedagogical.

 Extolling the theft of taxpayer money by hedge funds may look like a blunder on Romney’s part, but of course it’s not. Romney and his operators are clever, they know what they are doing. What they are doing is to prepare the minds to finding this sort of reflections part of the natural order of things. Instead of a blunder on Romney’s part, it’s an attempt to have all Americans become friendly to the notion of rising, shining, and boasting in the glory of that evil plutocracy is best to bring a better world.

 In other words, Romney is not just running for himself, but also, deliberately, on the behalf of plutocracy. It looks clumsy, but it’s crafty, and manipulative at the emotional, “subconscious” level.

 I immediately sent (a version) of the following comment, which put the problem in a wider context, to the New York Times (a context readers of this site will be familiar with). It should have appeared among the very first comments, thus influencing thousand of readers, and endangering the established order. Instead something happened, and it was published in # 195 position (!) Typical treatment given to my comments, when they are too clever by half.

 “It is of foremost importance for the plutocratic order that the following is not understood by the masses. What Romney and the class he campaigns for do not want the simple minds of the People to comprehend, is that BANKS ARE ACTUALLY PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS.

 OK, if a number of individuals put money together, and then lent it, that, and only that, would be a true private bank. Instead what is happening is that banks, especially very large banks, lend much more capital than they truly possess. They can do that, thanks to the full complicity of the government, which, then, in turn, become their accomplice and creature.

 Such is the nature of the Fractional Reserve Banking System. Banks, using leverage, something only possible with the backing of the state, create all the credit, and therefore, most of the money. Money creation, a basic public function, has been farmed out to private individuals.

 Just as tax collecting was farmed out to “general farmers” under (some of) France’s Ancient Regime, and (some of) the Roman empire. However, in France and Rome, money creation stayed an exclusive activity of the state.

 So let me rephrase it: instead of calling banks private, one should realize that any bank using leverage is a public institution. It’s a fact, not an opinion. It’s a crucial fact. That is why, on his first day in office, president Roosevelt could, and did, close all banks in the USA.

 Insisting that banks are private is like insisting that public money making is private, a monopoly the state give to unsupervised, unelected individuals.

 That public character of leveraged banks makes all bankers, including Mr. Dimon, head of JP Morgan, and loudly admired by Obama, into public servants. As they lend to their friends (in finance, or their collaborators in their class (hedge fund managers who use leverage, as they all do), that makes those bankers and the banking they do, fundamentally corrupt.

 When banking executives pay themselves immense amount of money, they do so with public money. The head of the unit of JP Morgan which was playing with derivatives, Ina Drew, a blue eyed blonde, earned more than 31 million dollar in 2010-2011 alone. (She has now been fired to the regret of Dimon, who did not want to fire his “sister“… Said the New York Times.)

 This nature of banking, the exploitation of the public sphere, by a few self selected private individuals, has grave implications on Quantitative Easing and the like. The USA’s central bank gave (or lent at such low rates, it was like giving) trillions of dollars to the very banks and managements which caused the 2008 financial crisis (example: Goldman Sachs). It was quite a bit like paying off the mobsters who just burned your house. Payments are ongoing, and explain why the likes of Dimon fill Obama’s mind with awe.

 In Europe, the central bank lends at 1% to banks which then lend that exact same money to the states at 6% or 7% (Spain, Italy) or well above 50% (Greece). In other words, the public finances the plutocrats rather than the real economy.

 Merkel then barks, and push to cut off funding for public transportation in Greece, so common people cannot go to work anymore, but can, instead, be accused of laziness (feeder trains from suburbia into Athens have been often stopped, and the tracks overgrown with weeds. Meanwhile Merkel sells Porsches to her friendly plutocrats in Greece). Why does she do all that? Because she is protecting the leveraged banks by shifting blame to the common Greeks.

 (Not that the Greeks were blameless: tax avoidance was a tradition in Greece, something that forced the country to live on credit more than could be sustained.)

 The fundamental nature of the present crisis is the rise of plutocracy, naturally accompanied, as it always is, by the crushing of democracy (see all students having to pay colossal tuitions, so that only the children of the hyper rich can study, just like in the middle Ages; and if you protest, the Quebec government will come to arrest you, so please, approve!)

 The present “fixes” only make the situation worse. (As was demonstrated, say in Greece!) Those “fixes”  consist into shuffling ever more money to banks which then lend that money to their friends, or then to states at usurious rates, while augmenting stratospherically the public debt to said banks. This only augments the power of banks, hence of the financial plutocracy, and thus the crisis.

 Is it deliberate? Probably. I have mentioned it on Krugman’s blog for years, but Krugman, who is very intelligent does as if he did not notice. Why? because if he did, he knows he would sitting in the hot, ejection seat. So he bids his time while munching on caviar, and sipping champagne.

 The only way out is a general default, as advocated in:

 Radical, sure. We have to grab the problem by its roots. Otherwise, we face collapse of civil society, while drowning and boiling.

 Accompanied by a stiff regulation of banking, along the lines of president Roosevelt in 1933. Instead the Roosevelt laws were dismantled under president Clinton, a greedy critter, well rewarded since.

  A few little men of modest extraction, get absolute power, and they want to keep some thereafter. That echo of power is provided by the Lords of Finance. As long as they took the right decisions. Singing hypocritically with U2 lead singer, the so called Bono (not his real name, just a bon mot to make him sound good, bon, bono, bueno, etc.) will help.

  Bono, like Bill Gates, sings about the misery in Africa, while raking the billions in one of Goldman Sachs’ latest conspiracy (he was on the Facebook IPO, and made nearly two billion). Warren Buffet has served the public buffet of forbidden evil foods, and they splurge. Those all too visible plutocrats also make the same lethal mistake as the tiger in Kipling’s Jungle Book… Hopefully their public splurging may attract attention from the destituted commons.  They don’t know that the Lord of the Underground, Pluto, makes itself invisible, for very good reasons. They are blinded by the very goodness they perceive in themselves, after inverting all values.


Patrice Ayme

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28 Responses to “Banking Demons.”

  1. Alexi Helligar Says:

    Alexi Helligar Excellent essay! See also:


  2. Old Geezer Says:

    Marx wrote about the “surplus value problem.” That is, what do we do with the profits from economic activity? We could give it all to labor, who made it, or to capital, who financed it, or some combination of both.

    Giving it all to labor is essentially inflationary, because no new plant an equipment will come on line with no investment.

    Giving it all to capital is essentially expansionary because lots of new plants will be built, and labor will not be able to run up prices because they have no money.

    Time was when there was a fair balance of these two. And labor had more stick before Ray-Gun blasted them with the PATCO strike deal.

    Also, since the 70s, there really have not been that many BIG investment opps in the USA – most of it had been built up for WWII and during the post war period. Yet there was all this money that was looking to earn 5% a year and no real investments for it to go into.

    Enter the FAKE investment:

    WALL $TREET financialization.

    And now it has caught up with us.

    Whatever shall we do?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear OGP: the USA is of course the center of the known universe and beyond. However, it is interesting to notice that the terribly plutocratic French law of 1973 was passed under that dangerous leftist, Richard Nixon, a demented ecologist who created the EPA, and the like. I mean it was passed under president Pompidou, who used to head the Rothschild bank, just before the racist De Gaulle (forgive my honnesty) bombarded him Prime Minister.

      It is the 1973 French law that contaminated the EMU (the euro). Thanks to the Christian school of socialism of Delors and al.

      This means we are facing there a more global phenomenon… BTW, not to support him, Mussolini, used to accuse France and Britain to be “plutocracies” (no kidding). He even did so, as he declared war to France, Such was the title of his discourse: “The European Plutocracies“. And the Nazis were officially anti-plutocratic (they identified Judaism and Zionism with Plutocracy). In truth both Mussolini and Hitler were plutocratic pawns. Lesson: don’t listen to what leaders say, but carefully analyze what they do… With Obama, no prosecution against banksters. Inasmuch as it hurts me to admit it, 10,000 such prosecutions under Ray-Gun and Shrub I… (S&L scandal…)


  3. Casey Weston Says:

    Banks used to serve a purpose towards our society,lending,bonds,providing a means towards an end….somehow they managed to work only towards their own end.They dismantled Glass Steagall & at the same time handsomely paid-off the regulators with plush jobs in new brokerage offices.Derivatives have spread,or completely eliminated their investment risks so that the market is entirely flooded with $130 trillion worth of legally-recognized-imaginary money….Only a complete collapse will untangle this web of criminality…


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      dear Casey: Indeed. This is arguably the greatest criminal organization since the USSR or the Third Reich, and, unsurprisingly relates to and leveraged from, both… As I have argued in older essays…


  4. B. Traven Says:

    B. Traven says:

    Banks have lent out more than they had on deposit since… since ever! It’s how they make money and it works when it is regulated properly, with a firewall between the commercial and the investment functions, i.e. Glass-Steagal.

    And even with the repeal of G-S, we didn’t have a bank run (a panic) like the one in the ’30s which caused FDR to declare a bank holiday. There have been about 500 or so bank failures since ’08 and they have all been orderly thanks to FDIC.

    Well, there was that messiness after Lehman, but does that really count? That was just “creative destruction” wasn’t it?


  5. Art947 Says:

    Art947 says:

    I am surprised that no one has mentioned that other crisis in the making — the extraordinary student loan debt.

    Here is another case where the banks are making billions (trillions) and we are financing the profits. If the Fed can “lend” the big banks money at almost 0% interest, then why can’t our government get the same rate to finance student loans?

    Even if the loans pay a “reasonable” interst rate of say 1 or 2% to cover the processing costs, our Treasury would still earn a profit, students could afford their loans, students would be able to take the jobs that meet America’s needs and fit their aptitude, and America’s educational system would not be in crisis mode.

    Please tell me what is incorrect with this picture, other than that Sallie Mae wouldn’t be getting rich.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Completely correct, Art947. That’s why the students are on strike in Quebec, and why British students destroyed last year the Tory Party’s office in London.
      It’s a matter of choice. Our leaders have chosen plutocracy because they hope to strike it rich, like Bill Clinton, or Sarkozy’s brother, or Tony Blair, or John Major, etc… Or then they are genuine idiots with brutish values. Probably a bit of both…


  6. Alexi Helligar Says:

    I am troubled. It’s a important duty to vote and I plan to definitely vote for Obama in November. This makes sense because if there is a possibility that there will be executive action in the direction I favour, Obama rather than Romney is the most likely agent. Still, his presidency thus far feels like collaboration with the most sinister elements, hence, I am deeply troubled.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Alexi: Same story here. Just worse. I lost sleep over that for months, not to say years, because I actually know BO, and view him as a friend, and in a way, the relationship is decades old. I also spent a year and an enormous amount of work, thinking and money on his 2007-2998 campaign. Some have seen a clear relation between my old site,, and his famous reader.

      However, maybe the relevant comparison for the November election is between a lethal form of cowpox and standard smallpox…


  7. Alexi Helligar Says:

    But which is the lesser evil?


  8. Paul Handover Says:

    There is no doubt in my mind that the present times, from the perspective of the criminal abuse of power, will be shown, soon I hope, to be utterly destructive to society. I use the word criminal from a moral point of view while we hold our breath for the legal framework to be put in place to make the actions of the banksters truly criminal.

    But what I find beyond comprehension is that this abuse of money, power and privilege is taking us all down. I mean ALL and I refer to the terrible damage that is being done to the planet’s biosphere, so much a part of this abuse of power, this greed.

    The plutocrats have children and grandchildren and they are not going to escape the consequences that James Hansen so eloquently writes about in his book Storms of my Grandchildren. Why is there so much abuse of our long-term futures for the sake of such short-term gains? (And, of course, long-term is the wrong description – we could be extraordinarily close to climate tipping points!)

    Only this morning, I read on the BBC News website that ….,


    Energy bill avoids carbon pledge

    New electricity legislation will avoid a firm commitment to banish coal and gas by the 2030s.

    Ministers previously said they wanted to make energy clean within two decades.

    Environmentalists wanted that statement to dictate today’s Draft Energy Bill but the government says it wants to retain flexibility on the target date.

    It says it needs to ensure that power can be produced as cheaply as possible.


    It’s utter madness – electricity produced by coal and gas has to be so expensive that people in their millions will change their habits and demand the massive implementation of solar, wind, nuclear and geo-thermal generation of electricity.

    Over on the Think Progress website the following was released a few days ago:

    April 2012: Earth’s 5th Warmest On Record And La Niña Officially Ends, So The Heat Is On.

    And yet we fight to prevent the building of the Keystone XL pipeline – converting tar sands to oil is widely known to be one of the most dirty and polluting activities around.

    Many governments have teams of brilliant scientists so there can’t be the excuse of the politicians not knowing the truth of what we are doing to the species homo sapiens and countless thousands of others.

    It’s madness in the extreme. Utter, utter madness!

    Phew! Glad that’s off my chest!


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Paul: Please keep on getting it off your chest. As 95 year old Hessel, a famous resistance fighter, pointed out in “Indignez-vous!”, one has first to get the spirits, that means, the emotions, high. Then action, including brainwork, can follow… And only then, will I add…

      Clearly, at this point, civilization is at stake. And all sorts of other things in between.

      An example is eurobonds. Merkel, apparently trying to foster her nickname of MERKLER, is refusing eurobonds. She wants the profits of Europe, and the profits only. No sacrifice. No shared destiny. I hope the French socialists will bust her balls. Or is it, after all, her cowardice?

      Are those who cling to the solutions of the past, simple cowards? A question to meditate…


  9. Martin Lack Says:

    As ever, Patrice, thanks for the education.

    I have read much about Romney and with every new chapter he seems an ever more distasteful entity. I was particularly struck by one article (I cannot now find) that contrasted him unfavourably with his father, George. I feel certain that Romney Snr., would not be comfortable in the country that the USA has now become:

    I must admit that, even without reading your other piece, I am inclined to agree that the system cannot be reformed – it must be allowed to fail. Furthermore, since no human-made institution is more powerful than the plutocracy itself – and the masses of the people are not organised enough to all withdraw their money from banks simultaneously (although the Spanish had the right idea) – the only thing that will de-rail it is likely to be the very “Ghost of Christmas future” that everyone has been so studiously ignoring – anthropogenic climate disruption. However, let me be clear, I do not seek or relish collapse (as indeed I am sure you don’t either); it is just that – given the parasitic and tyrannical nature of the system – it is unlikely to yield to any amount of clamour for real democracy.

    You say Clinton dismantled the financial regulations and so facilitated the numerous boom and bust cycles in our financial markets but, didn’t that happen under Reagan; and was not Alan Greenspan its true architect? (As was “revealed” in the film Inside Job?)

    Once again, I am grateful to Paul Handover for suggesting I should read this post and, although I am not sure why I have never done it before, I have now clicked to “follow” your blog (apologies for inexplicable and unnecessary delay)… 🙂


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks Martin for following my blog now, I appreciate very much. Clinton was the decisive leader in the dismantlement of the 1933 Banking Act (so called G-S, same abreviation as Goldman Sachs). The proximal agent was Larry Summers, under the order of Rubin (ex CEO Goldman Sachs). It’s a long story, I have detailled it in countless older essays (say around 2009).

      Obama finally fired Summers (who had been imposed on him by the same agents who imposed it, I mean him, on Clinton). Now Obama is slowly squeezing the plutocracy out of its comfort zone, through re-regulation, and that is why Romney has a great probability to be elected.

      Civilizational collapse to start afresh is a dreadful option. Civil disobedience (as many students engage into from the UK to Quebec to Chili), a much better option. But the first act to engage in is finding, and then boroadcasting the truth… Something you have been very good at doing about the climate.


      • Martin Lack Says:

        Patrice, you have probably forgotten more than I will ever know or understand about American politics. Therefore, I feel very flattered by your suggestion that my contribution to the blogosphere on the subject of climate comes anywhere close to your own on politics.

        I think the biggest impediment to widespread civil disobedience is people’s fears over job security (if that is they have one – it is likely to bring an end to my blogging if I am so lucky as to get a job). That is what is so insidious about Adrian Beecroft (a self-made plutocrat?) telling the UK government that they should make it easier for employers to dismiss employees: His subsequent assertion that anyone who objects must be a “socialist” merely confirms how warped his world view is.


        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          dear Martin: Thanks for the link, and the compliments…The link attracted my attention on other articles therein too. I think the debate about firing and hiring has been decisively settled by Denmark. There companies fire at will, and the government steps in, providing the fired with all sorts of supports (financial, training,re-employment). It works very well in all ways, and is obviously a great cause of Danish economic superiority.

          Why does the rest of Europe not copy Denmark? OK, let me rephrase this: Why did only Merkel copy, on an emergency basis, the Danish system? No se’. But that would be a crafty structural pan-European reform to do. Something Merkel would find hard to say nein about…


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Martin: Another point, not really a detail. You suggested plutocracy was an “institution”. Well, in truth, plutocracy would like to be an institution, but, at this point, democracy is still the institution, and plutocracy, little more than a globalized conspiracy.


    • Old Geezer Says:

      Hi Martin:

      I share your belief that the “system cannot be reformed.” So, as someone once asked, “What is to be done?”

      I have moved my account from the bank to a credit union. A small, almost insignificant act of rebellion. This will NOT block the Plutocrats because they still have too much money.

      There are “barter systems” like “Ithaca Hours” that avoid the use of US money. Also insignificantly small.

      There is the “occupy” movement. A good idea, but being successfully blocked across the country by local mayors and police forces. I don’t know what the future holds for them.

      Any ideas would be appreciated.


      • Martin Lack Says:

        Old Geezer, I said that I do not seek or relish collapse and Patrice responded that “[c]ivilisational collapse to start afresh is a dreadful option“. However, he went on to suggest that civil disobedience is a much better option: I am inclined to agree that it may well be – as did Clive Hamilton in the closing pages of his book, Requiem for a Species (which is not for the faint-hearted…

        The Occupy movement (and the riots in the UK last summer) have demonstrated the power of social networking media to organise dissent; therefore I think it should be possible to organise crowd-sourced de-capitalisation of a well-chosen bank (such as Bankia in Spain): Civilisational collapse may be a long way off, but financial collapse would appear to be much closer; and civil disobedience might just be the final nail in its coffin.

        In Requiem for a Species, Hamilton alludes to Sir Nicholas Stern’s description of climate change as “the greatest market failure in history”; and then adds his own judgement that it is also “a failure of modern politics”. However, I think our greatest problem as a species now, given these realities, is a failure of imagination: The Carbon Age is ending and with it too – in all probability – will go Capitalism also. What we need now is the faith to believe that we can do better; the belief that localism and sustainable societies need not necessitate a return to a feudalistic Dark Age. However, the longer we delay changing course, the more likely I think that unwanted destination becomes.


        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Martin: Argentina is pursuing an aggressive policy of renationalization, after defaulting ten years ago on all its debt. The EU (led by conservative Barroso) is infuriated… But maybe it should pay more attention to Isabella’solutions… Brazil is also using more progressive policies, in all sorts of ways. Actually, it’s pretty blatant that more progressive countries are doing better economically. That should be an hint. The (historically) most progressive part of the world, the West, has turned into one of the most retrograde. This has ecological consequences. Merkler, for example is turning fully to coal. acting, even in East Germany, in a more dictatorial way than the old DDR (by destroying entire villages the DDR had spared…).


      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        OGP, Martin, etc: First people have to understand what went wrong. Krugman, for example rarely wax lyricla on “monetary base”. Similarly, the government has focused attention of the naive towards TARP (gov mde money, etc.)…. So that people would not look at monetary base, etc… Per K., who has commented a few times here, and was a professional central banker, suggested that all of this is caused by stupidity, not malevolence. In any case, as long as people do not realize that all the power is funneled through the privately managed banks… Including the power supposed to take us out of… Plutocracy… Not much is to be done.
        In Europe there is some sort of waking-up going on, but mostly in Greece and France. Although the new conservative Spanish gov has given signs of exasperation with Merkler, and that means the system as it is…


  10. Edward Nie Says:

    Edwar Nie
    I was just looking at your wordpress and from the looks of it, I don’t believe you understand how economics works at all. For example, you say:

    “The inflation target of the European Central Bank, 1%, is way too low. The US Fed is just as bad, with its zero interest rate policy, which mostly serves its friends in the plutocracy. As it is, the zero interest rate policy does not provide money to the real economy, and other things need to be done.”

    Near-zero interest rate is the target set by the Fed, however this is not to be confused with inflation. In fact, the argument should run counter, that a zero percent interest rate promotes higher inflation because in order to decrease the target interest rate, you increase money supply, which in turn increase prices (if you’re not producing more goods). An education in Economics 101 is in order


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Edward: Thanks for attracting my attention on that post. There is an apparent typo, at least one in the quote you made. However you did not say which essay you extracted it from. So it’s hard for me to go and correct it.

      The inflation target of the ECB is 2%, not 1%. And even that is indeed too low. Should be 4% (the de facto rate in the UK).

      The juxtaposition of different concepts in succeeding sentences gave you an erroneous idea of what I said. I am sorry about that. You assumed I was still talking about inflation targets. Instead I was talking about the fact that throwing money at banks (“QE”), AS IT IS, does not insure that the money will get to the real economy to make real investments providing real jobs.

      OK, maybe I will split in different paragraphs, and make clear that’s a different subject, related only by the same abject failure in providing money to the real economy.

      Money supply thus provided does not have to cause inflation if, AS IT IS, it does not reach the real economy. And that is what we observe.

      I will not add that an education in Basic Comprehension 101 is in order, because gratuitous insults do not a debate serve.


  11. Old Geezer Says:

    Very well said, Martin. I will look into “Requiem”, although I am not looking for another reason to be depressed.


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