The Great Debate UK
from The Great Debate:
By Don Tapscott
The view expressed here are his own.
Protesters set up the “Occupy Wall Street” base camp in New York a month ago because the location epitomizes the economic forces that control the U.S. and global economies. As one sign read: “This is not a recession. It’s a robbery.” To many it feels like just that. The financial services industry is in desperate need of reform. Many bankers have behaved as secretive corporate titans serving only their own interests, and insist the devastating consequences are not their fault. They are failing to fulfill their obligations to society—in some cases, even to shareholders--and a growing number of critics view the day-to-day behavior of the financial services industry as unacceptable. If the industry doesn’t initiate reform from within then it will eventually have more extreme reform imposed from outside.
In 2008, the routine gambles of Wall Street almost brought down global capitalism and yet, so far, nothing fundamentally has changed. Restoring long-term confidence in the financial services industry requires more than individual banks changing their behavior or even governments intervening with new rules. The industry needs a new modus operandi, where all of the key players (banks, insurers, investment brokers, rating agencies and regulators) adopt the three facets of collaboration: integrity, transparency, and embracing the commons.
Integrity. Trust is the expectation that the other party will act with integrity – be honest, considerate, and abide by its commitments. To re-establish trust, the financial services industry needs to have integrity as part of its DNA. But the cavalier manner in which many banking executives violated integrity was stunning. For example they sold sub-prime mortgages to people who could never make the payments; bundled them into securities and convinced rating agencies to classify them as AAA, and insurance companies to insure them. They then sold these to unsuspecting investors. They violated all the values of Integrity. Everyone in the process suffered and the global economy was sent into a tailspin.
The 2008 meltdown and the Euro crises we face today illustrate how interconnected our world has become. Organizations must be much more aware of what is going on around them. It’s important to know the behavior of others and the potential impacts of the actions of distant third parties. If there is anything Wall Street should have learned from the mess they created it was that business cannot succeed in a world that is failing.
A coworker recently sent me a YouTube video of a 5-year-old girl declaring to the world her intention to get a job before she gets married. It’s a funny clip, filled with the kind of urgency and drama only a pre-teen girl can muster. But something about it made me uneasy: Isn’t getting a job before marriage a given? Since when is this decision worth broadcasting on the Internet?
from Reuters Investigates:
A year ago, Nick Carey went on a road trip around America for a project called "Route to Recovery" that took him to places hit hardest by the recession. Nick went to Saginaw, Michigan, this time for a follow-up special report on the manufacturing sector and structural unemployment: "Is America the sick man of the globe?"
One of the characters he met was Olen Ham, a retired GM worker and UAW member who is among the last of those who took part in the historic "Sitdown Strike" in 1936 that he says helped create America's middle class. You can hear from Olen in this video:
Edward Croft is CEO of Stockopedia, a UK-based website which aggregates research, commentary and analysis for investors, and offers social networking opportunities. The opinions expressed are his own.
In the U.S., online financial information and investing media has exploded in recent years. Where once there were just online replicas of offline newspaper/TV commentary and anonymous spam-ridden bulletin boards, there is now a proliferation of stimulating and diverse financial content written by both professional and amateur investors.
- Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School and a co-author of “Verdict on the Crash” published by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are his own. -
In a previous blog, I expressed the fear that in the aftermath of the financial crisis we were going to see either the innocent punished or guilty men convicted of the wrong crimes, or maybe both.
- Claer Barrett is associate editor of the Investors Chronicle. The opinions expressed are her own.Reuters will host a “follow-the-sun” live blog on Monday, March 8, 2010, International Women’s Day. Please tune in.–
“I’m sorry to tell you that my husband has died, so I want a full refund on his Investors Chronicle subscription.”
- Tony Manwaring is Chief Executive of Tomorrow’s Company. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Britain will soon be voting for a new government. It should be time to discuss the big issues which will define the years ahead, notably how are we, as a nation, going to pay our way in the years ahead? Our confidence that financial services and Cool Britannia will replace manufacturing and heavy industries now looks sadly misplaced.
-Angela Eagle is Minister of State for Pensions and Ageing Society. The opinions expressed are her own. Reuters will host a “follow-the-sun” live blog on Monday, March 8, 2010, International Women’s Day. Please tune in.-
International Women’s Day is still as relevant today as it was almost a century ago when it was first established. In Britain, when the suffragettes won the right to vote on equal terms with men in 1928, there was a feeling that there would be an inevitable journey towards full equality with men. But we now know that there are other battles that still need to be won.
The economic worst is past. But there are many issues left to worry about.
Start with the good news. GDP is now growing almost everywhere, while the unemployment rate is hardly rising anywhere. Businesses and consumers are less fearful. As much as half of the 20 percent decline in international trade has been erased.
Perhaps the best news is what has not happened. There have been no national defaults, countries dragged into political chaos, bitter divisions among the great powers or, with a few tiny exceptions, massive declines in consumption. The global political-economic-financial system is still in business.
Demography is the most powerful single structural explanation of changes in the economy in society around us, David Willetts, Conservative Shadow Minister for Universities and Skills told Reuters ahead of a talk about European policy options on Wednesday at the London School of Economics.
Population changes in Europe and Britain will contribute to the UK becoming Europe’s largest economy in the 2040s, he said.