Tag Archives: Government

How Race, Xenophobia Are Defining American Democracy

The following is the third in a series of articles on democracy. The first article, on the Arab Spring can be found here and the second article on the EU can be found here.

During the 1980s, despite his hawkish attitude towards the Soviet Union and his placement of US nuclear missiles in Europe, President Ronald Reagan reached agreement on the reduction of nuclear weapons with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Some historians say that Reagan’s challenge to the Soviet system was one of the reasons for the downfall of communism.

Fast forward to December 2012 where the US Senate fails to muster the two-thirds majority required for ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. They failed because Republicans feared the Tea Party would go against them for making deals with the UN, a “foreign power”.

It is a sad statement on the state of democracy in America today—those who claim to be Reagan’s followers have no clue as to how his legacy was developed. It is all a testament to the role race and xenophobia are playing in the political gridlock that is today’s American democracy. Continue reading

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Is The EU Good Or Bad For Democracy?

The following is the second in a series of articles on democracy. The first article, on the Arab Spring, can be found here.

Those who believe that the European Union is bad for democracy are perhaps not taking into account all of its achievements. They need to take a closer look. Continue reading

Banks Desperately Need A Crisis Management Plan

Can you imagine a major industry which suffers a near death experience, angers its entire customer base—wholesale and retail, domestic and international—and yet refuses to publicly apologise and adopt a plan of action that commits the industry to not repeating the mistakes of the past. That is where the banking industry is at right now.

This lack of decisive action on the part of the industry’s leadership will do lasting damage to not only the industry but also to its as yet unforgiving customers and the global economy. Part of the problem is that the industry does not appear to even realise that it is in a crisis—one which has been brought about by a complete loss of public faith in its activities. That is a tragedy. Continue reading

Only Bankers Can Create Great Banks Not Governments Or Regulators

It is impossible for any industry to survive if it relies on the actions of governments and regulators to watch over it in order to make sure that it does not blow itself apart. Yet, this is the precise position in which the banking industry now finds itself. Continue reading

The Very Human Side Of Economics

So much of what passes for discussion these days on how to improve economies is centred around GDP growth, debt ratios, tax regimes, the regulatory environment, infrastructure development and corporate profitability. Moreover, when a company announces that it is cutting costs, by laying off workers and closing down divisions, analysts cheer, the stock price rises and commentators laud the good decision. Continue reading

The Commitment That Banks Must Make For A Better Future

The following is the seventh and final article in a series on bank risk culture. The previous articles can be accessed here or by clicking the HOME tab on the blog.

A total meltdown in any industry requires nothing less than a total rethink of the way forward. However, rather than finding themselves engaged in a total rethink of the how and why they must transform their business, banks have been engaged in responding to more legislation and regulation as well as improving their governance and internal controls.

The problem for banks is that neither governments nor regulators can create a better future with great institutions—only bankers themselves can. Continue reading

Outdated technology could lead to another crisis in banking

This blog has maintained that the lack of proper IT and systems is a major concern for the banking industry. Here is the proof, if indeed any was needed, from the pages of the FT.

Outdated technology could lead to another crisis in banking

The FT goes even further and suggests that the failure of such systems could lead to both a financial and social crisis.

This is why I have always believed that the most important response to the problems within the banking industry is not what governments and regulators can do but what bankers themselves can achieve. Governments and regulators should take heed. IT systems are a major source of risk within banks which no amount of legislation and regulation can remedy.

This is also another example of why focusing solely on the risk culture of banks is simply not good enough–as has been clearly demonstrated in the series of articles on the blog.

Jonathan Ledwidge is the author of the book Clearing The Bull, The Financial Crisis And Why Banks Need A Human Transformation (iUniverse).