Can we avoid another financial crisis?

Can we avoid another financial crisis? Ten years after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), we’ll hear the opinions of countless pundits about the likelihood of a new crisis. However, few commenters will be able to answer the question as profoundly as professor Steve Keen. Keen elaborated his views in the 2017 book with the appropriate title Can we avoid another financial crisis? Continue reading “Can we avoid another financial crisis?”

Social credit

The Chinese authorities are implementing a Social Credit System. People’s behavior results in rewards (e.g. renting a car without having to pay a deposit) or restrictions (e.g. getting barred from buying plane tickets). So it’s kind of a big carrot and stick mechanism.

As is often the case, it’s not clear what is hype and what is true about the Social Credit System.

This article does a good job explaining the misrepresentations in the media.

Now, there are a few things missing from articles about the Social Credit System that deserve further investigation. Continue reading “Social credit”

“We were simply not aware”

To be fair to Mr. Decressonnière, most bankers don’t understand money creation.

Stop bike-shedding, ECB

Last week, Positive Money Europe celebrated its launch with an event in Brussels: Time to rethink the European Central Bank.

Several speakers noted that it is important for central banks to communicate with society, not only with the financial sector.

One of the people in the audience remarked that it is not enough that the ECB explains what it is doing. It also needs to respond to the needs of society.

The representative of the ECB replied that his institution has become more transparent in response to feedback from the public. For example, the meeting notes of its board are published.

However, this is a classic case of bike-shedding. Publishing notes is a trivial gesture. The real problems in the euro area are massive unemployment in the southern countries and the poor performance of the European economies compared to the US. A genuinely responsive central bank should do much more to support the well-being of Europe’s citizens.

The ECB should care about boosting economic growth, not the color of its bike shed.

So I agree, it is time to rethink the ECB. Let’s break some political taboos and rev up the engines.

Bankers’ guilty conscience

The Vatican recently published a document on the economic-financial system. The Church notes “the irreplaceable social function of credit” and that “most of [the financial industry’s] operators are singularly animated by good and right intentions”. However, the text mainly condemns all kinds of “immoral behavior”, ranging from credit default swaps to offshore banks. Continue reading “Bankers’ guilty conscience”

What has Big Tech ever done for me?

There’s a scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian in which rebels conspire against the Roman occupation. They ask themselves “What have the Romans ever done for us“.

Upon reflection, they realize that the Romans brought them sanitation, medicine, education, irrigation, public health, roads, a freshwater system, baths, public order, and peace.

I get the same feeling when I read articles about Big Tech. Continue reading “What has Big Tech ever done for me?”

The best compliment on ‘Bankers are people, too’

The Dutch translation of ‘Bankers are people, too’ was released last week. A guest remarked that he liked the unconventional order of the topics. The fact that I wasn’t formally trained as an economist undoubtedly helped. Because I didn’t start from a mental template of how a book on banking should look like, I had to figure out the best way to present my ideas in a coherent way.

Question for readers who did study economics at university: did your textbooks discuss central banks and macroeconomics before explaining commercial banking? What would you change to the curriculum? Let me know in the comments!

The original introduction of ‘Bankers are people, too’

Writing a book involves a lot of deleting, shifting, and rewriting. The recent IT problems at Argenta bank reminded me of the original introduction of Bankers are people, too.

The introduction in the published version of my book is based on the old intro, plus pieces that were originally at the end of Part III. The editor convinced me to integrate them into the beginning.

So without further ado, here is the old intro: Continue reading “The original introduction of ‘Bankers are people, too’”

Two year anniversary

My first long blog post was published two years ago on this day. A couple of weeks earlier, I had decided to quit my job in order to write Bankers are people, too.

I want to use this anniversary to thank you for reading my work. Who could foresee then that I would make new friends because of this blog?

There is more to celebrate. The Dutch translation of Bankers are people, too will be released on April 12. Check out the invitation (pdf, in Dutch). Send me a message if you would like to attend the book launch party in Brussels!

I also have a favor to ask if you have already bought Bankers are people, too. Please consider writing a review. This will help other intelligent readers like you to find the book.