Saturday, November 05, 2011

The amazing Kristen Christian LA USA - lesson for Occupy London?

Copies of The Free Lunch - Fairness with Freedom are now in the St Paul's Occupy London Starbooks library. A common theme of press reporting on Occupiers is that 'they don't know what they want'. Obviously not true as far as Robin Smith is concerned, but reading The Free Lunch will show  various but connected ways of getting to a fairer society as well Robin's.  

You wait for years for a peaceful mass protest for fairness and then two come along at once! Ms Kristen Christian  in Los Angeles who owns an art gallery, started a Facebook campaign a few weeks ago calling for 5 Nov to be  'Bank transfer day': DROP mainline banks/JOIN a credit union. In the US 650,000 new accounts have opened for credit unions in 1 month (whole year 2010 = 600,000).  Kristen is not affiliated with Occupy but it shows that there can be  something extraordinarily powerful going around which chimes well with Occupy. 

In the UK, credit unions are hobbled by law and are not permitted to act as full banks - they are people's banks but could be so much more powerful and relevant if given the same powers as ordinary banks. Credit Unions keep out of speculative investment, distribute profits to members & lend small scale at reasonable interest rates but these worthy aims in the UK are severely hampered. Economist and sometime international banker Prof Richard Werner explains in a paper that the UK legislation means that  'they cannot compete on level grounds with banks'.

He says there appears to be a powerful lobby group 'that has been influential in the creation of legislation' on credit unions. He fingers the banks who have a monopoly on the creation of credit and who want to keep this 'most lucrative activity' almost wholly to themselves. Interesting topic for Occupy London.
See YouTube interview with Prof Werner:  Banking for the Big Society - means small local banks
Posted by Charles Bazlinton. 

No comments: