The new ‘Carlsberg’ Bank of England governor: be very afraid

It’s been announced that the new governor of the Bank of England is going to be Mark Carney, currently governor of the Bank of Canada, when his term expires in 2013. George Osborne – who knows Carney through their membership of the secretive ‘Bilderberg group’ of power-brokers – considers him the ‘Carlsberg’ of candidates. BBC News showed him defending Carney’s high salary and saying:

He is quite simply the best, most experienced and most qualified person in the world to be the next governor of the Bank of England and to help Britain’s families and businesses through these difficult economic times.

Probably. So much for the hyperbole. A little research will show that Carney has the confidence of most of the world’s financial community. The same financial community that took us into the mess that ordinary British people are now being expected to pay for.

But what does Carney’s appointment really mean for those ordinary British people? Well, it may turn out to be very bad news for most people in the UK – and a means by which Osborne and Cameron hope to extend the impact of their neoliberal, ideological cuts-agenda beyond the 2015 general election.

Carney has been hailed for his role, as Bank of Canada governor, in Canada’s relative immunity to the financial crisis. However, the role he played was in enforcing a ‘risk-averse fiscal and regulatory environment’ and in injecting liquidity into Canada’s banking system (in other words, the same ‘quantitative easing’ that has made no difference in the UK except to give banks more cash to sit on). Fiscal conservatism means that he’s going to be fully on-side with the Tory’s cuts agenda, and a readiness to use QE isn’t going to be a game-changer for the UK economy.

These aren’t the only reasons for my disquiet. There’s a lot more in Carney’s history to be concerned about. Carney used to work for Goldman Sachs, a finance house that has been shown to have made a fortune by betting against its own clients. Goldman Sachs is huge, and Carney may have had nothing to do with those misdeeds.

However, he was involved in GS’ work with post-apartheid South Africa’s international financing – which Naomi Klein showed, in her excellent book ‘Shock Doctrine’, to have been a form of extortion that robbed ordinary South Africans and forced them to agree to pay off the debts run up by their oppressors.

Carney also worked for GS on Russia’s 1998 debt crisis – for which GS was criticised for betting against Russia’s ability to pay its debts at the same time as advising the country’s leadership. The ‘solution’ to that crisis involved further entrenchment of the oligarchy and more trouble for ordinary Russians, who had already been massively impoverished by the actions of the financial elite in the early 90s.

There’s more. Commenting on the appointment, George Osborne – the ‘mastermind’ of the ‘suck money out of the UK economy by slashing spending – that’ll cure the recession’ approach to macroeconomics, said:

I look forward to working with Mark as we continue to rebalance our economy, deal with our debts, and equip Britain to succeed in the global race.

while Carney himself said:

Obviously I think that I can play a constructive role as the next governor in relaunching this institution with its new responsibilities, contributing to price stability, to financial stability and to ensuring that the rebalancing of the UK economy — which is under way — is seen through over the course of the next five years.

ensuring that the rebalancing of the UK seen through over the course of the next five years“. ‘Rebalancing’ – like ‘supply-side reforms’ – is Conservative shorthand for cutting the public sector and reducing wages so that taxation can be reduced for the wealthy, who then become further-enriched because the country is more ‘competitive’. ‘Rebalancing’ is what has cost us degraded pensions, added years to our working lives before we can retire.

It’s degrading the NHS that all us ordinary people rely on so much, so that public satisfaction with it fell from 70% under Labour to 58% when measured earlier this year – and probably lower now, as more nurse jobs are cut (7,000 so far), funding is cut in real terms, and the right-wing press continues its propaganda assault to prepare the way for further ‘reforms’.

It’s this ‘rebalancing’ that has cost hundreds of thousands of public-sector workers their jobs, frozen their wages and destroyed their morale. It’s also the same phenomenon that has impoverished private-sector workers to the point where some believe that it’s only fair that the government do the same to the public sector.

Most chillingly, Carney has a vision of a world where this kind of behaviour becomes even more the entrenched norm than before. In 2009, Carney gave a speech to a Bank of Canada conference entitled ‘Rebalancing the Global Economy‘:

Globalized product, capital, and labour markets lie at the heart of the New World Order to which we should aspire.

At the heart of Carney’s vision for the world lies an even deeper embedding of a system that impoverishes poor people, ‘globalising’ their labour so that employers can drive down their wages to the lowest possible level in order to maximise profits; a system whereby we’re all ruled by ‘the markets’, who can pull their cash out of a country to bring it to its knees – post-Apartheid South Africa, the very country where Carney ‘helped’ with its marketisation – is such a case.

The same system that (though before Carney’s tenure as BoC governor) deliberately faked a crisis in Carney’s own country in order to strip health and welfare provisions for ordinary Canadians. The very system that has brought us to our current situation.

In installing a man with such views, Osborne is trying to ensure that the Tories’ state-stripping, ideological measures will stay in place even if the Tories are punished by the electorate as they should be at the next election.

If Carlsberg really made Bank of England governors, I fear that they wouldn’t make one like Mark Carney.

3 responses to “The new ‘Carlsberg’ Bank of England governor: be very afraid

  1. I don’t know that the Tories are state-stripping so much as asset stripping and the state just happens to be a big and easy target. I’d suggest the way to disempower these fucks is to make them irrelevant. Have local councils form banks using their council tax take as capital. Using FRB (or whatever, Basel rules) they can then create money into the community interest-free to create local wealth then create local currency and swap their growing number of UK pounds for that currency. That should stop people shunting money off into tax havens for a start – what would be the point of having millions of Bristol pounds, for example, if you could get them, in a secret bank account in the Bahamas? They only have value in Bristol so it’d be pointless. I’m still fleshing these ideas out but I think I’m on the right track. Any comments?

    • Interesting ideas! Given how pressed local authorities are to even cover the basics at the moment, I don’t know how long it would take them to build sufficient reserves to set up banks, but we need more radical ideas to choose from to change things fundamentally.

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