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But the problem here is surely that risk analysis that is not absolutely cast-iron gets a pass, not that people are actually doing their jobs when assessing wind farm finance?

No, the problem is that rhetoric - in the form of a thing called "risk analysis" - is being used to implement strategy without public discussion or democratic oversight.

Put simply, banking subverts democracies and leads democracies away from stability (and sanity.)

There is no good real-world reason why we don't already have a culture that uses renewables for energy. Absolutely none.

The fact that we're still desperately fighting a battle that shouldn't even have been started forty years ago, when the obvious rational choice was a move to renewables, proves just how distorted the decision-making process has become.

The black death killed off a double-digit percentage of the European population. Unless the banksters manage to trigger a sufficiently bad depression that it results in a serious shooting war (a possibility that I am a lot less sanguine about dismissing than I was a year ago), they will not rack up that sort of body count, however damaging their activities may otherwise be.

They already have. Not in Europe - but have you seen the state of Africa recently?

Of course we assume it couldn't happen here, because we're privileged and special.

We aren't. We're disposable. Ask Greece or the poor in the US.

This is a critical point. We have to broaden our experience to take an honest look at what's happening. Just because it's not happening to us personally doesn't mean what's happened to others is trivial.

The point of having banks is not to reduce risk. The point is to increase it in a reasonably controlled manner.

What risk do you mean, exactly? What physical bad consequences result if a bank backs a "risky" project that is deemed to be a failure by current accounting standards? (Assuming that a project fails for reasons other than banker whim in the first place.)

Not economic consequences - physical and social consequences.

When you can prove to me that the physical and social consequences of a failed "risky" enterprise are reliably worse and more damaging than the (largely imaginary) economic consequences, then I will believe that banks have a useful role to play.

Until then, banks are a problem - possibly the problem - and not a solution.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 13th, 2011 at 07:47:42 PM EST
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