Over the last few years, parasites have taken a bashing. Never a week goes by without some below-the-belt, negative reference.
Now I’m not saying that parasites are all without fault but to be fair, a parasite has no choice but to parasitise… its about survival.
Whereas the Bankers could have chosen not to:
Engage in organised and aggressive tax avoidance, tax fraud, money laundering, corruption and feeding misleading stock market research to investors to drum up business and higher fees (1) Not to mention triggering the greatest economic crisis for 80 years… or ‘rigging of the crucial Libor inter-bank interest rate – affecting $500tn worth of contracts, financial instruments, mortgages and loans’ (2) … or while we’re talking about it…
Mis-selling loans to small businesses
Causing governments to bail out the banks because of fraudulent practices which resulted in governments having to get loans from the International Monetary Fund.
Selling unsuitable 8.5m endowment policies for repaying mortgage loans, with 60% of borrowers faced a shortfall of around £40bn.
Mis-selling private pension schemes – a £13.5bn scandal affecting some 1.4 million people.
Getting 250,000 retired people to invest £5bn in Precipice Bonds, misleadingly described as low risk, causing thousands of investors lost 80% of their savings.
Selling 3 million people expensive and unnecessary Payment Protection insurance, with potential compensation topping £10bn.
Fines, penalties, forced compensations and regulatory action have become part of normal banking business and the costs are just passed on to customers. (1)
There is also no evidence that a Parasite has any concept that it might be doing another harm….
Whereas bankers know that ‘what might be termed the rogue elements… have abused the freedoms they have been granted to blow up the economy and fleece their customers.’ (2)
A Parasite exploits its host efficiently to ensure survival of its species…
Whereas… ‘Much of what passes for innovation in the City is no such thing. Innovation in the rest of the economy is where a company develops a superior product for its customers in the hope of making a profit; innovation in the City is all too often about identifying and exploiting regulatory loopholes to come up with products nobody really wants but which enable investment bankers to get rich at the expense of their customers.’ (2)
Furthermore, a parasite exploits a different species …
Whereas Bankers exploit their own. Rather than ensuring the wages and employment of 99.999% of fellow humans, the bankers are intent on increasing the wealth of the 0.001%. Citicorp bank reported in 2005, that growth was primarily driven by the rich and enjoyed by the rich. Everyone else was fairly irrelevant.. the important thing was to keep the rich and their stocks, getting richer. (3)
Parasites are not greedy. It is inconceivable that a Malarial trophozoite would want more than one red blood cell to develop in, or that a tapeworm would absorb more pre-digested host food than it needed….
Whereas Bankers receive huge complicated compensation schemes and bonuses in order to be able to use every available tax avoidance device and tax haven scheme. So not only do Bankers receive vast amounts of money but they also deprive citizens of tax to pay for the NHS, Education, other public services, benefits and decent pensions.
While he was CEO of Goldman Sachs Group in 2007, Lloyd Blankfein earned $53,965,418, which included a base salary of $600,000, a cash bonus of $26,985,474, stocks granted of $15,542,756 and options, also granted, of $10,453,031. (4)
On top of this, when the banks failed in 2008, their losses were guaranteed by government, thereby ‘socialising’ their losses. The banks were bailed out, and yet still managed pay themselves huge bonuses and avoid paying a proper amount of tax. For example, in 2008, Goldman Sachs received a $24 billion bailout from taxpayers, yet the company only paid $14 million in taxes worldwide.
This ‘socialisation’ of banking losses also gave the ‘Austerians’ their chance to create the ‘big lie’ that public services must be cut/privatized because of government over-spending. (5)
Best evidence to date suggests that Parasites are not interested in gaining political power, or holding their hosts to ransom by threatening to leave (now there’s a thought).
Whereas Bankers employ many lobbyists, and support financially organizations, like Atlantic Bridge of Liam Fox/Werrity fame, whose only purpose is to influence government legislation in favour of the banking system and other transnational corporations.
Governments also appoint ex-bankers into positions of power. For example the technocrats, who were installed by the Troika into Greece and Italy, were both ex-Goldman Sachs men. It is not for no reason, that Goldman Sachs is likened to a Giant Squid with tentacles in every government. (There is another example of casual, anthropomorphic infamy.) (6)
Furthermore, the Bankers make substantial donations to the political party most likely to further their business interests. For example, ‘the incestuous relationship between the Tory party and the banks, from whom the Tories get no less than half their entire annual income ….You don’t give tens of millions of pounds a year to an organisation without expecting, and getting, a great deal in return.’ (7)
Banks have also used their financial ‘welly’ to gain disproportionate power over the global economy.
Using a mathematical model for studying natural systems, complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, analysed the relationships between all 43,000 transnational corporations and identified a relatively small tightly knit group of 147 companies… most were financial institutions. All were owned by other members of the super-entity and controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the global network.
“In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.(8)
It is true that a Parasite might ‘lie’ by, for example, impersonating a host food source in order to infect its host which is sort of similar to banks creating a fund designed to fail. Goldman Sachs did exactly that… getting one set of investors to buy into the fund, whilst at the same time, offering another select group the opportunity to bet against the fund succeeding. (9)
Parasitic species tend to become less pathogenic with evolutionary time because there is no advantage in ‘killing the goose that lays the golden egg’…
Whereas the Bankers have become increasingly rapacious since Margaret Thatcher’s Big Bang in 1986 set them free:
With the advent of Globalization with its fundamentalist insistence upon open markets and free access for capital without restraints, there were suddenly no regulations to bind the Financial Class, no taxes they could not avoid and no political process they could not buy. It was a freedom from any notion of obligation, care or concern for anybody but themselves. It was a perversion of the very word freedom. They could vote wherever they chose, buy citizenship wherever they felt like it and pay only those taxes they found convenient and have no loyalty anyone or anywhere. They were ‘free’. (10)
Parasites have also never promoted warfare whereas FactsAboutTheWealthy @WealthyFacts report that a 2001 survey found that 93% of wealthy individuals support any war which will open up new markets for corporations.
Parasites are considered to be beneficial in some ways to host communities, just as bankers are when they provide useful services. For example, when they lend to small businesses or in creating mortgages.
Parasites are said to ‘fuel’ evolution because they create a selection pressure for the host species to evolve strategies which avoid or minimise being parasitised. There is also evidence of cross-resistance being conferred such that the infected host may be more resistant to infection from another species or pathogen. For example, the malarial fever can cure Gonorrhea.
But most importantly, parasites induce a level of antibody production and that is what needs to be developed against the ‘naked, raw, aggressive capitalism as practiced by investment bankers consuming the value of their shareholders.’ (11) The 99.999% would also benefit by developing some ‘cross-resistance’…..extrapolating from the behaviour of the banks to other areas, like the involvement of private corporations in health, education, public services and in the financialisation/commodification of the environment.
Irritatingly, some economists, historians and David ‘two brains’ Willetts, try to draw erroneous, crass analogies between the ‘benefits’ of competition, capitalism and Darwin’s concept of ‘survival of the fittest’.
In fact, intra-specific co-operative or altruistic behaviour is much more the rule in biology… a trypanosome has no investment in trying to pull a fast one on another trypanosome. (Although both will bind host antigens on their surface to avoid eliciting a host response… a real cloak of invisibility… which is a bit like the secretive collusion of the power elite which has been revealed by the Leveson Inquiry).
The big problem with an exclusively co-operative utopia is that it creates an ecological vacuum… an opportunity for individuals or a species to develop a ‘cheating’ or parasitic mode.
With this in mind, the ethologist Robert Trivers talked about the imperative for ‘moralistic indignation’ to be triggered when such exploitation occurred… a sort of ‘social antibody’ to be mobilised whenever an individual, or group, tries to take much more than their fair share.
Unfortunately, under the Tory/LD government, ‘moralistic indignation’ has been cynically misdirected to blame those on benefits whilst ‘the multiple scams that have become endemic in a disastrously deregulated system with inbuilt incentives for cartels to manipulate the core price of finance’ are hidden by ‘the unmuzzled political and economic power of the City: its colonisation of Whitehall and public life, effective grip on its own regulation, revolving-door pull on politicians and civil servants, and purchase of political parties. Finance has usurped democracy.’ (12)
‘We’ missed the opportunity to reform and regulate the financial system in 2008. We cannot afford to miss this second opportunity. So let our ‘moralistic indignation’ rage against ‘banking – and the whole related financial infrastructure embracing the lawyers and accountants who are in my opinion as corrupt as the banks they serve..’
We will know if we have succeeded because… ‘it’s fairly easy to tell when change will have happened. That will be when they say “it was legal but we chose not to to do it because it was wrong”. (13)
And stop the name-calling. No parasite deserves to be called a Banker!