Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy Wall Street protests

This movement started last month in New York, and has now spread to 1500 cities throughout the world. People are finally voicing out what all of us have slowly come to realize: there is something inherently wrong with the economic system in the world today. Bankers and financiers are the target of this growing wrath. As the protesters say, the financial systems benefit a handful of banks at the expense of the taxpayers.

I wish the protesters well. During the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) of 1988,  the US government used its taxpayers' money to bail out the banks, with very little of the US$800bil directly benefiting the man in the street. As the crisis in Europe unfolds today, it is again clear that governments all over Europe are more concerned about keeping the banks safe than letting the banks pay for their years of recklessness and greed.

In Australia, the four major banks are now saying they are going to retrench workers, in spite of the fact that they are forecasted to have profit increases of between 10% to 21% in 2011. Here is what the news report* says: "Australia's major banks are under pressure to cut jobs in response to flagging demand for credit despite being on track to deliver a record combined annual profit of more than $23 billion. Three of the big four lenders - ANZ, Westpac and National Australia Bank - will release their results in the coming weeks, and analysts warn they may unveil cost-cutting plans." It is all greed, greed, and more greed. If the banks are not retrenching staff, they are always looking for ways to increase charges to their customers. Where is the line drawn, I wonder?

*see Herald Sun Oct 16th, 2011:

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