Basically, this guy claims to have defrauded several banks and Caixas (savings banks) of €492,000, purely in order to prove how easy it was to do. He used the money to publish 200,000 copies of his free newspaper, Crisi, which denounces the world financial system for inefficiency, dishonesty, living in a make-believe land and causing poverty and famine throughout the world. The money not spent on the Crisi newspaper project was given to charities and NGOs. And the author has also fled Spain (understandably) and will only return when his crimes have been pardoned.
The author couldn’t really have timed this better as the world’s financial markets are still reeling from the largest crisis since 1929, and the insurance giant AIG has just been nationalised by the US government (something they refused to do for Lehman Brothers just the other day).
Opinion is divided on who exactly is to blame for this calamitous situation. I think it’s obviously the bankers’ fault as they’re the ones playing with imaginary money, things they don’t own and other things which they invent the value of. Banking analyst, Diana Choyleva made the incredible claim on Monday’s Newsnight that central banks (and therefore, by extension, governments) were to blame for the crisis because they had allowed a long period of low policy (interest) rates to occur, they allowed a situation to develop whereby bankers felt almost obliged to take more and more risks. In other words, bankers are nothing but irresponsible risk-taking children with no control over their actions, who need to be reigned in better. I’m not sure how well that will go down with her banking chums.
Actually, there have been a lot of people who put this entire crisis down to poor or ineffectual regulation. Yes, the very same regulation which was previously railed against as strangulating and diametrically opposed to the ‘ethics’ of neo-liberal free market capitalism. Of course, the real problem is the system of so-called free market capitalism. From inventing vast amounts of ‘value’ where no true capital exists, to deregulating money markets, this socio-economic ideology has done nothing more or less than place the fate of pretty much every living person under the direct control of three unelected, practically unseen organisations. The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation are the tripartite leadership and main proponents of this ideology, and they are all wholesale controlled by the United States government.
If we are ever to escape this inherently unstable and totally illusionary cycle of boom and bust, it will not be, as Gordon Brown thought, via the means of free market capitalism which is, after all, the name of the problem itself.