Sun | Nov 29, 2020

Don’t grovel to rapacious banksters

Published:Thursday | September 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I observed with utter dismay the lamentation of the governor of the Bank of Jamaica and recently Finance Minister Audley Shaw, that interest rates are too high, and their pathetic begging of the banks to do something about it.

Free markets now mean kowtowing to industry players who want to do as their greedy hearts' desire! Minister Shaw even went further to offer a bribe to the banks. If the banks cut interest rates, he was prepared to review the taxes on assets.

Minister Shaw, you are to do no such thing, and you are to stop the grovelling and the begging and start compelling. The banks must be made to understand that they cannot have it all. And their freedom to do as they please is subordinate to the freedom of 2.8 million people to live in dignity.

The banks produce nothing that sustains life. They do not produce rice or flour, butter or milk. They do not produce medicine that cures or amusements that entertain.

Banks, like the rest of mankind, have got caught up in the hare-brained belief that we are here to make money and accumulate wealth.

Money is to be used as capital to finance the production of goods and services needed to sustain life and as a medium of exchange to allow goods and services to move from producers/suppliers to consumers. The more abundant the capital and the cheaper it is, the more an economy will prosper. With cheap money, more people even those who are less able can venture into viable economic thrusts.


Stop encouraging folly


It is time we stop encouraging the folly that the making of money by any means is smart. It is this thinking that is causing economic uncertainty all over the world. It is causing unimaginable human suffering. It is the reason that is causing political upheaval all over the world, from Brexit, to the election of Donald Trump in the US and Emmanuel Macron in France. People are suffering; they don't know why, and they are searching for solutions.

Minister Shaw, it is time to act before people look for other means to solve their suffering. The banks must be made to know that they cannot have it all and that they must leave some on the table for others. There is no need for you to be offering more incentives to get the banks to do what they were established to do.

Stop playing the money games greedy men have designed. If interest rates are not lowered to single digits, the country can kiss goodbye visions of '5-in-4' economic growth.