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54

Record Bank Profits: A Matter of Politics

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Piketty, T. (2017). Record Bank Profits: A Matter of Politics. In Piketty, T. Chronicles: On Our Political and Economic Crisis. Penguin Books, pp. 54-58

55

That doesn’t mean the central banks did the wrong thing: the new liquidity undoubtedly helped us avoid a cascade of bankruptcies and prevented the recession from becoming a depression. That is, provided governments now manage to impose strict financial regulations that prevent such disasters from recurring, demand accountability (and taxes) from the banks, and, to boot, unload the debt that the governments borrowed from them.

If that doesn’t happen, citizens might logically conclude that this whole episode is an economic absurdity: bank profits and bonuses rebound, job openings and wages remain weak, and now we have to tighten our belts to pay back the public debt, which was itself created to clean up after the financial follies of the bankers who, by the way, have gone back to speculating, this time against governments, with interest rates of nearly 6 percent imposed on Irish and Greek taxpayers. Greek taxpayers who, for their part, unwittingly paid out €300 million in fees to Goldman Sachs to prettify their own public accounts.

—p.55 by Thomas Piketty 1 year, 4 months ago

That doesn’t mean the central banks did the wrong thing: the new liquidity undoubtedly helped us avoid a cascade of bankruptcies and prevented the recession from becoming a depression. That is, provided governments now manage to impose strict financial regulations that prevent such disasters from recurring, demand accountability (and taxes) from the banks, and, to boot, unload the debt that the governments borrowed from them.

If that doesn’t happen, citizens might logically conclude that this whole episode is an economic absurdity: bank profits and bonuses rebound, job openings and wages remain weak, and now we have to tighten our belts to pay back the public debt, which was itself created to clean up after the financial follies of the bankers who, by the way, have gone back to speculating, this time against governments, with interest rates of nearly 6 percent imposed on Irish and Greek taxpayers. Greek taxpayers who, for their part, unwittingly paid out €300 million in fees to Goldman Sachs to prettify their own public accounts.

—p.55 by Thomas Piketty 1 year, 4 months ago