Democratize Big Banksussen
We don’t need to break up the big banks. We need to put them under democratic control
In These Times – Jamie Merchant
Public interest in progressive financial reform is growing. After the epic crash of 2008 and the “Great Recession,” and with a boost from a sharply populist campaign season, a number of left-of-center proposals have circulated around the question of what to do about the banking system, which has molded contemporary society in its image and defines the horizon of what is politically possible.
The international banks, whose outstanding derivative contracts are estimated to have a value of over $500 trillion, are the massive and powerful conduits of world capital, with financial assets that dwarf the annual GDP of the richest countries. A new antitrust movement aims at breaking the power of the largest banks by dismantling them. But while the intentions behind “breaking up the banks” are good, such a program is deeply flawed, doubling down on market competition and nationalism when we should be thinking about new forms of public control and transnational coordination. (More)