Monday, 23 November 2009

Should entrepreneurs be cross with banks or bankers for the mess we have now?

Should entrepreneurs be cross with banks or bankers for the mess we have now?
At a debate last week at the Cambridge Union – part of the Silicon Valley Comes to Cambridge event- a few simple facts became obvious – well once we dealt with the noise in the information.
We need a banking system that works – full stop. We need it for making transactions happen. We need it for enabling the circular flow of money; enabling the provision of mortgages and lending for short and medium term.
The challenge of the Western capitalistic system seems to be that in order to provide these services – governments have instituted legislation, rules and bodies to regulate, largely it seems to me because the industry attracts people who are mesmerised by the making of money – for its own sake rather than because it is an end point of providing a service or product that adds value to society.
Usury was seen as evil until not so long ago – I wonder why!
So – while a healthy banking system is meant to help a money based economy go round, the way it is administered has lead to all manner of abuse and I do not need to rehearse these arguments here. The summary of the debate included the following issues: That by losing the plot – banks have taken much needed liquidity out of the market place so instead of having access to funds for investments, lending and generally provide for a positive role in the economy we have become distracted instead by issues of abuse and bonus payments. And it seems there is a relentless pressure from the bankers to insist they are worth it!
My only quarrel with the debaters would be that they talked about “Global meltdown” “entire economic systems” and so forth deluding themselves that only London and New York mattered...Well guys just in case you do not know where India and China are (as one of the debaters did not seem to know where Iceland was!!) you can find them on any good search engines.
In those countries entrepreneurs are somewhat relieved that although their banks are strict, cumbersome and lack in flexibility – at least they have banks they can go to. I think entrepreneurs in the present collapsed system have every reason to be cross with their bankers.

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