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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Do your homework

I have nothing against a good demo.  People need to let off steam from time to time, and I am quite prepared to see people do just that, with placards and the works, even if I don't agree with them.  A good demo shows that we still have free speech. Bad behaviour should not be tolerated, but if you have something to say, I am quite happy to listen.

Which is where the Occupy London Stock Exchange has got it so wrong, but ever-patient I am here to explain. So hear me out. You might learn something

  • The London Stock Exchange has very little to do with the current financial crisis.  OK, I am sure you could come up with some claim about corporate greed, but that doesn't really ring true.  The current economic problems have been caused by a combination of (i) lending to poor credits and the securitisation of such assets, (ii) western governments holding down interest rates to fuel borrowing and consumption over many years, (ii) large and growing deficits.  Those at least, in no particular order are the biggest three.  There may be others, but none of them seem to related to the brokers at the London Stock Exchange.
  • The London Stock Exchange is located at 10 Paternoster Square, but there is no exchange there.  The old Stock Exchange building was round the back of the Bank of England, but the trading moved out of there many years ago and switched to screen based trading way back.  So by all means, if you think it helps your cause, go ahead and upset the chief executive of the LSE, various compliance bods and the IT department, but you can bet your bottom dollar (if you actually have one), that trading would carry on seamlessly under some backup system if necessary.  They probably have systems on hot standby in Lewisham, Uxbridge or Enfeld waiting for just such an eventuality and they might welcome a test.
  • The Church of England, and in particular St Paul's Cathedral has had remarkably little to do with the financial crisis.  I am sure you can try to drag them into the issue as "members of the establishment" or similar twaddle, but the rest of us don't see them as anything other than some of the lowest paid workers in the City of London.
  • Don't put up pointless placards like "It's wrong to privatize the profits and socialise the losses", because that isn't what happened.  Private sector investors lost their shirts in 2008 when the banks went tits up.  Where governments stepped in they got shares for their cash.  They didn't just throw the cash away.  In theory the governments held the upper hand in negotiating bailouts because as well as being the equity provider of last resort, they were also the regulators determining how much equity the banks needed.  Private sector investors were unable to fix a fair price because they never knew from day to day whether their holdings would be forcibly diluted.
  • And don't put up placards like some Americans saying "We want our money back from the banks".  First it wasn't your money, it was the tax payers'.  Second, it was paid back. In 2009, at a $4billion profit to the government and an annualised return of 15%. Asking for more is just plain greedy.

1 comment:

Hopper said...

You're never going to get anywhere introducing well-researched and inconvenient facts into the "debate", I hope you realise...