Deep roots to banks saga
3:14pm Wednesday 11th July 2012 in Your Say
The most recent banking crisis has deep roots I warned about many years ago. One outcome of the sub-prime mortgage scandal in the US in 2007/2008 has been the austerity measures now spreading across Europe as banks, companies and individuals have been unable repay their debts, nor even the interest rates on their loans.
I think a growing number of people are coming to realise there has been far too much reliance on the belief that property is a sound investment, that property prices will continue to rise and that economic growth is essential. However, there should be an instinctive understanding that a country’s prosperity is ultimately dependent on what goods or other resources it has to export or what it can produce internally for consumption.
Britain has relied far too much on services such as banking and tourism to the exclusion of its manufacturing sector in recent times. At the same time, gambling by the City of London has created many problems for poor people and the natural environment around the world whilst our arms industry has supported many repressive regimes.
I made a lone protest outside the banks in Regent Street last year more as a protest against the excessive bonuses of chief executives of the main high street banks whilst people throughout the country were suffering the effects of austerity measures, to a great extent caused by the decisions of those same executives. I believe that economic decline is essential but must be managed in a way that is fair to all.
In many ways these recent problems are a smokescreen clouding an understanding of the dysfunctional nature of economics. The form of economics which has come to dominate the manner in which wealth is created and distributed across the world is called ‘neo classical economics’. This has been strongly influenced by Milton Friedman and other American economists whose ideas were enthusiastically promoted by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.
Far from being neutral, it has been driven by short-term economic growth decisions, debt based money creation and by reckless gambling on stock markets. It mitigates against long-term sustainability and gradually undermines the life-support systems upon which we and future generations will depend.
What can we do? I suggest switching your account if it is in one of the main high street banks. Any mutual building society would be better. I use the Co-operative Bank and the Ecology Building Society because of their ethical policies. Why not check them for yourself.
Michael Thomas Churchward Avenue Swindon
Swindon Guide Dogs for the Blind would like to thank everyone who signed VAT Exemption Petition after an article and my letter appeared in the Swindon Advertiser along with an appeal on BBC Radio Wiltshire.
We had an excellent response and around 1,000 people signed the petition asking George Osborne to exempt Guide Dogs and other assistance dogs from paying the tax to HM Treasury.
The exemption from VAT will save Guide Dogs £300,000 a year and will give the charity an option on how to spend the money to help visually impaired and blind people the chance to live a normal a life as possible.
Guide Dogs receive no government funding and rely solely upon donations and gifts in wills from the public. The £300,000 we pay every year in VAT comes from your donations we receive and we would like to have the chance put it to better use. Thank you for your help and support.
Alan Fletcher Chairman Swindon Guide Dogs for the Blind
Frank Avenell touches an important truth regarding the lack of democracy in the UK at present. For example we have an EU which in its present form has never been put to UK citizens for a vote, the President of which lacks any democratic legitimacy, containing unelected commissioners, and a feeble powerless talking shop of a parliament that is not worth the money we spend on it.
Nationally we have a coalition arrangement that was never offered as a choice to the electorate, concocted by two posh boys behind closed doors, one of whom didn't win an election, one who never would, who replaced one who never even gave us the opportunity.
More locally we have an authority who wouldn't know the meaning of democracy if it bit them on the proverbial.
The American Satirist Michael Moore wrote about a similar situation in America after the second election win of George W Bush in which he pleaded for the UN to come and rescue his country from an unelected President. I know now how he felt.
Guy Green Old Town, Swindon