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Posted by: Doug Henwood | February 2, 2010

Move your money?

Freshly posted to the LBO website: behind Huffington’s loopy “Move your money” campaign: …and it’s still money.

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Responses

  1. Good points. When I first heard of Move Your Money I was excited because I thought it might be a first step towards organizing some sort of collective financial action. There are perhaps millions out there who are incensed at the big banks, have at least a handful of liquid dollars, and will consider moving their money somewhere as a political act. What do you think is the largest impact a million people could possibly achieve with financial actions, supposing they were well organized? Could mass financial actions supplement other kinds of actions against big banks?

  2. Like I say in the piece, there’s not much that individual portfolio allocation decisions can do. The control of finance is a political issue.

  3. Excellent points. I think what Huffington is appealing to is people’s populist sense that the “big banks” use a chunk of their enormous profits to influence politics and politicians via lobbying. IMFer Simon Johnson has a new book on this.

    Primarily they seem to want government off their back so they can create more and more “baroque” instruments and more profits. This apparently can lead to crisis and a collapse of the system unless the government bails them out. And of course the lobbyists convince the politicians to bail them out on favorable terms.

    A lot of smaller banks would be less able to “collude.”

    I believe though that the better route is to police the big banks on their influence buying and risky behaviour.

  4. What about debt repudiation? Now there is an idea that takes real organization in order to protect those who decide to default. I think that would wake up the banks and shake up the system.

  5. >>I believe though that the better route is to police the big banks on their influence buying and risky behaviour.

    That’s not going to work since the “Fed” is supposed to police the banks and didn’t. Doug nailed the problem in his article. The fundemental problem is capitalism. And the attack on wages and working people in general over the past 35 years is what allowed the banks to accumulate so much money. Policies put into place that favored the rich encouraged speculation.

    Unfortunately Arianna Huffington who made her money on the commodification of her husband (divorce) really doesn’t want to see the fundemetnals of capitalism discarded.

  6. “That’s not going to work since the “Fed” is supposed to police the banks and didn’t. Doug nailed the problem in his article. The fundemental problem is capitalism. ”

    Well it worked during the “golden” post-war era, then hit a snag in 1973.

    It’s “working” in China and India. Brazil might be next.

    I don’t see capitalism going away any time soon, so in the meantime we should try to mitigate crises. If you just stand by and let them happen you end up with Nazi Germany.

  7. Peter K.says:
    “Well it worked during the “golden” post-war era…
    It’s “working” in China and India. Brazil might be next.”

    Not sure if “it” here refers to capitalism or its regulation, but either interpretation is blind as to for “whom” it works.

    Ask the prisoners of starvation around the world, , the wretched of the earth, including in India and China, the remaining families and friends of those slaughtered and subjugated in those ‘golden years.’ They will tell you for whom your system has worked.

    By”mitigating crises,” you must mean supporting the likes of Obama and Blair. Try abandoning illusions, instead.

  8. >>>I don’t see capitalism going away any time soon, so in the meantime we should try to mitigate crises

    You made no comment or acknowledgment of the possibility debt repudiation civil disobedience. You’d rather “re-regulate” the banks that indeed failed rather than help the general public who are getting no debt relief whatsoever. People who have walked away from their mortgages and credit cards still face the threat of civil lawsuits, collection agencies and IRS reprisals.

    Can you explain your reluctance to help the people and to confront the system?

  9. You can be for both organized debt repudiation and regulation of banks.

  10. “You can be for both organized debt repudiation and regulation of banks.”

    You can’t if you want to be as sectarian as possible and purge the party of traitors and impure ideas.

  11. Hello Doug,

    As usual, you make a lot of sense, but isn’t it also true that, accompanying the decline in wages and need to maintain living standards with debt, Finance has grown inordinately as a percentage of GDP?

    I’m not trying to posit cause and effect here, but maybe populism does a service by pointing out the distortions caused by a financial sector engorged by wealth that often is extracted from the “productive,” goods-producing side of the economy, and then turned into increasingly abstracted representations of wealth.

    Increased financialization is an inherent part of the Commodification of Everything that capitalism represents, no? After all, you now need the IBs at Goldman to create, appraise, underwrite, sell (and short) the securitzed analogues to the pixilated commodities we’ve all become.

  12. If this was capitalism, bankrupt banks wold no longer exist. Marx is dead. Capitalism is dead. Welcome to financial feudalism.


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