David Cameron told the G20 on 11 November that protectionism caused the Great Depression of the 1930s. Apparently, it wasn’t the then coalition government’s wage cuts and public spending cuts! In fact, the government’s programme of slashing wages and public services increases unemployment and worsens banks’ bad debts, increasing the risk of another crisis.
Successive governments have destroyed industrial production and pumped up private sector loans and debts, causing the crisis, and all to increase capital’s profits. 2009 was Wall Street’s most profitable year ever - $61.4 billion. 2010 is so far only its fourth most profitable - $19 billion.
The government here says banks should “think very carefully” about their next bonus round: HSBC has obviously thought very carefully and has just announced an immediate 100 per cent salary increase for hundreds of its senior bankers. This is theft not investment. Worldwide, workers have paid out $7 trillion to bail out incompetent and greedy banks. We subsidise our enemy.
Work needs doing, things need making. For example, whenever you are on a train or on London Underground, and signal failures blight your journey, remind people that the signals are likely to be 70 years old and we could and should make new ones here in Britain.