Thursday, April 4, 2013

Banks; bigger than countries.

Click on the chart to see countries and banks (in yellow), in order of financial size.
If banks were countries ...

Among the world's largest, based on GDP and revenue, many financial companies are bigger than most of the world's countries. Beginning with the 57th largest country in the world, it's Fannie Mae with revenues greater than the 60 countries at the bottom of the list, combined. Bank of America is next followed by other familiar names.

Too big to fail or jail? Of course they are. They wield more influence than most of the world's governments and they are NOT there to serve any citizenry or national interest. They have no granted constitutional role in the countries where they play. They provide no goods or services.

Their business model is competitive, bottom line driven; take wealth and use it to make more wealth. They are willing to take money from anyone in any country regardless of the damage done. There are no policies of benefiting others. They recognize no higher good or greater purpose than their own financial success. And so far, no one is holding them reasonably accountable for their adverse impact on the world.

Mega-banks provide no significant social benefit; there is no correlation between size and performance. Mega-banks do, however, create significant systemic risk and, being profit driven, exert their influence in favor of increased autonomy and against regulatory oversight that might reign them in. When the inevitable crash came in '07, government had no choice but to bail them out for fear of a complete financial system collapse.

In the larger context of a world economy:

“Globalization is the result of powerful governments, especially that of the United States, pushing trade deals and other accords down the throats of the world’s people to make it easier for corporations and the wealthy to dominate the economies of nations around the world without having obligations to the peoples of those nations.” — Noam Chomsky

"The financial debacle has many causes and implications, but it would be wrong to underestimate systemic corruption."  ~Daniel Kaufmann, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, formerly World Bank director of governance.

Feel free to inquireto have an opinionto fire the bank you've been using and join the credit union, write your congressman, ... and the white house, or join the movement to occupy wall street.   This sort of volatility is a precursor to change; we should consider investing ourselves in the process.  Perhaps we'll be the impetus that provokes change for better.