“After the financial crisis”, in 2008, noted John Authers in the Financial Times of 16 July, “it was beyond argument that existing regulations had failed, and would need to be rethought.
“Only a few months ago, it looked as though the Great Re-regulation might turn into a Great Revenge, as politicians planned to squeeze the banks”.
In the last few months, inertia, the huge political and social power of high finance, the absence of an energetic lobby-group within the wider capitalist class for a definite scheme of “re-regulation”, and the leanings of most political leaders, have won out.
The Lib-Con government in Britain is not untypical. Governments are seeking an aggressively neo-liberal path out of the crisis: more privatisation, more “marketisation”, more union-bashing, lighter taxes on the rich and business, “light-touch” regulation of banks, and having nationalised banks run as if they were private.
Even the US government, which unlike European government opposes rapid deficit reduction, has taken a neo-liberal choice through the mildness of its recent huge new law on financial regulation.
“Now, for the banks”, commented Authers, “it begins to look like a Great Escape.
“A number of issues have been decided this week, and all largely in the interests… of banks and their shareholders”.
The FT’s Lex column agreed:
“Banks had reason to cheer. Congress finally passed a bill far less onerous than feared a year ago… By-and-large modern banking will look the same in five years’ time as it did pre-crisis…”
That means new crises like that of 2008 are possible, and indeed even probable, in the decades to come.