Misunderstanding the Banking Industry
Please cite the paper as:
Richard Whelan, (2012), Misunderstanding the Banking Industry, World Economics Association (WEA) Conferences, No. 3 2012, Rethinking Financial Markets, 1st November to 31st December, 2012
This essay makes the case for a fundamental reconsideration of the role of the banking industry in the West in a situation where economic growth and development is much more dependent on that industry than many of us envisaged. It looks at the growing intermingling of important public social, political, economic, and financial activities between the banking industry and Western governments and the consequences of those unplanned developments.
The approach is diagnostic, not prescriptive. I hope that readers will understand that I eschew the standard reflex reactions of the political Right and the Left as they – like the system they criticize – fail to deal with the problems they purport to confront, and crucially do not understand the nature of the banking industry today.
In analysing the banking industry as it actually operates in the West, my agenda is to begin a discussion on the real nature of that industry-if we do not understand it properly, our proposals on its restructuring, reform, and regulation will be at best misplaced.
I begin by drawing attention to the fact that the banking industry no longer belongs in the public or private sectors, but is a uniquely powerful hybrid of both, and its multi-faceted activities reach directly into core activities of government. As in all human endeavours, villains occur from time to time, but my purpose is get beyond the sterility of the “blame game” to initiate a meaningful discussion on the first steps to a New Banking Order which is robust, responsible and accountable. My belief is that this first step is a dispassionate factual examination of where that industry is today. I hope this essay will be understood as an attempt to move in that direction.