Lectures

How serious is the threat that current banking and financial systems pose to a stable, safe and secure future?  Are there aspects that can be easily fixed, or is drastic reform needed?  Is the state of the financial and banking sector such that it is a major global driver, and something that needs careful factoring into strategic considerations?  This article by Dr Robert Howell covers his recent Wellington presentation and describes the likely risk of another 2008 financial crash, considers the effectiveness and efficiency of the current system, and evaluates whether the current system enables a solution to the threat of ecological collapse. Read more

It is very likely that another 2008 financial crash will occur very soon, according to Dr Robert Howell. In a presentation to the Fabian Society Dr Howell outlined the evidence, including overseas experts such as Ben Bernanke, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, that the causes of the 2008 crash have not been significantly addressed. The ‘too-big-to-fail’ issue has not been dealt with. The expectation that financial institutions can privatise gains and socialise losses encourages excessive private sector risk-taking and can be ruinous for public finances. 

The financial and banking system continues to be unstable due to the accumulation of debt. Dr Howell described the evidence by such authorities as Martin Wolf of the Financial Times, that the role of private banking in money creation, and the fractional banking system, needs changing.  Wolf is associate editor and chief economics commentator at the Financial Times.  He is widely considered to be one of the world’s most influential writers on economics and regarded as “staggeringly well connected” within elite financial elite circles.  

Dr Howell stated that Wolf’s critique of the current economic model that underlines the international trading system demands serious attention. The cost to the funding of public services in particular is excessive. Dr Howell took as an example the cost of interest to the Auckland City Rail scheme to show that changing the privatisation of the money system could reduce interest costs by one sixth.

Dr Howell also looked at the world’s ecological footprint that is running at 150% above the capacity of the Earth to support human life. The current system is predicated on a growth economy and this cannot continue without major ecological and financial collapse.

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