Banks and Bankers
27 Jan 2010
My proposal is that banks and banking shall be operated only as public charities. Why? For two main reasons: Reason number one is that banks, like the process of education and learning, don’t actually produce a product. Banks don’t manufacture anything.
What banks actually do is take care of people’s money and, much more important, they indulge in the intellectual practice of deciding to whom they will lend the money they are taking care of. This is an intellectual process, not unlike the education process which is also intellectual, i.e., deciding what to teach and how to teach it to other individuals. The educational process, like banking, doesn’t actually manufacture a product. What banking and education both do is help others make and manufacture products.
My second reason for proposing that all our banks in Our Future Planet be non-profit charities is that this will mean that banks will no longer have shareholders expecting, and capable of receiving, profits. Removing the profit factor and profits will also mean that banks are not places which foster greed.
Unfortunately for our present planet, banks and banking do foster greed, as demonstrated by the immense wealth and immense salaries of many bankers. The recent collapse of the financial markets is a good example of the danger and undesirability of ‘for profit’ banks. The possession (while caretaking) of others’ money gives bankers the opportunity to use some of that money to make profits for themselves, sometimes as shareholders in the banks themselves and sometimes via immense salaries.
Of course there are non-profit banks today, such as Triodos, and they are functioning and quite successful, as are charitable educational institutions. But neither should have shareholders, which Charities are not permitted to have.
My proposal is based on the recognition that banks and bankers do not produce a tangible product. Of course this change in the nature of banks will mean that many individuals at present in our present planet may well decide to cease being bankers and seek other activities where they can become wealthy by producing new and/or better products for others to buy and utilise and enjoy. Then they shall be able to pursue the shareholder procedure and also award themselves (or get their Boards of Directors to award them) immense salaries. That’s my proposal for citizens of Our Future Planet to consider and accept or modify or reject.
Of course there is nothing to stop our present planet and its citizens and leaders from considering my proposal.