Friday, 25 January 2019

Was the Vickers Commission remotely concerned about the amount of private debt?

The UK’s “Independent Commission on Banking”, the so called “Vickers Commission” was the official UK government response to the 2007/8 bank crisis. I’ve just word searched it for the words “debt” and “social”. Nowhere does there seem to be any concern whatever about the size of private debts or the social costs of what may be an excessive amount of private debt.

That is, the basic message of the commission was that the banking industry (aka the money lending industry, aka the debt creation industry) forms a sizeable part of the UK economy which is a jolly good thing, and anything that can be done to expand it, and thus create even more debt, must also be a jolly good thing as well. Or at least the commission’s policy was certainly that the bank industry, which has expanded a massive TEN FOLD relative to GDP since 1970 cannot possibly be allowed to contract. See in particular the commission’s sections 3.21 and 3.22.

You’d think the commission would at least put in a token sentence to the effect that we need to bear in mind the possible down side of more lending and more debt, wouldn’t you?

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