Saturday, October 01, 2011

ECOBATE 2011: European Conference on Banking & the Economy (1)

A stunningly successful event was held in Winchester, England on Thursday 29th September under the auspices of the pioneering Centre for Banking, Finance and Sustainable Development founded by Prof Richard Werner. A timely gathering in the gathering storm that seems again  to be threatening the global economy, when we thought and hoped it had gone away. 

The real weather was steadily glorious. The mix of delegates was excitingly eclectic. It was an international ideas-fair for the trading of old and new systems and facets of thought in matters economic and financial. The atmosphere built steadily through the day, starting with the academic speakers, who descended on this ancient capital of England from many nations. 43 papers had been delivered within 11 streams by the time the general public poured in in mid-afternoon. The topics covered: Bank Regulation; Banks & the Economy; Monetary Policy; Risk; Markets; Local Banking; Bank credit;Interest Rates and Derivatives; et al. Prof Charles Goodhart, gave the morning keynote speech on Macro-Prudential  Policy i.e. suggestions on preventing recurring crises, culled from half-a-lifetime of work at the top of finance, banking and academia in the UK.

Attendees included: economists, several shades of bankers (from the ECB & national banks to savings banks), financial whizz kids, actuaries, investment seekers & advisors,   FinanceWatchers,  neweconomics think tankers, eco-warriors, and even a FreeLuncher. Many local people from business, local government, churches, and sundry walks of life enjoyed the free sessions which started with a book launch 'Where does money come from' co-authored by Josh Ryan-Collins, Tony Greenham, Richard Werner and Andrew Jackson. The international bank HSBC was an important sponsor of the conference and Charles Haswell (Regulatory Policy and Development for HSBC) delivered a paper.

Mayor of Winchester Councillor Barry Lipscomb   opened the public session and it is a tribute to the quality of the presentations and the Q&A sessions that kept everyone in the near 200 audience closely engaged to closing time after 7pm. They were regaled by Lord Adair Turner (FSA and FPC)  on subjects as varied as the banking origins of credit supply by somewhat shady goldsmiths living in the 1600's, to the mind-bogglingly complex world of modern banking with its resulting legacy of economic woes. Lord T set out to explain how these problems might be addressed through managing credit creation to deliver social optimality. Hopeful insights  about truly local banking (sadly lacking in the UK) came from Wolfgang Nuemann EU Representation of German Savings Banks Association (Deutscher Sparkassen-und Giroverband DSGV) in Brussels;  and from Niclaus Bergmann, Savings Banks Foundation (Sparkhassen) for International Cooperation in Bonn. Alex Templeton of the Farm Energy Project spoke of his trials as a local entrepreneur seeking funding for de-carbonising farming. Richard Werner had an interesting recollection from an encounter with Alan Greenspan (head of the FED) in 1997 on the subject of credit creation. 

Come back to this blog in days ahead for more from the cross-currents of this conference.
posted by Charles Bazlinton. See the Richard Werner interviews on YouTube   

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