A run on the Banks will not destroy Capitalism


By Waseem Aslam– The world economic crisis is really starting to bite, just like a cancer it is starting to spread and take hold all over the world. The latest victim is Ireland, Spain and Portugal are not far behind and no one knows when or where it will all end. While the governments of the world devise strategies of printing money and giving it to other governments (Quantitative Easing to you and me) , the average person on the street is totally disheartened and dismayed by  it all .

It was under this dark cloud of uncertainty that Eric Cantona, former Manchester United footballer, created a revolutionary plan for the masses to get their own retribution. He suggested that millions of people withdraw their savings simultaneously thus leading to a collapse of the banks, bringing the credit rate to zero. A date of 7th December 2010 had been set as this global day of protest. On the surface it seemed like a good plan of action, as Cantona put it,

We must go to the bank. In this case there would be a real revolution. It’s not complicated; instead of going on the streets and driving kilometres by car you simply go to the bank in your country and withdraw your money, and if there are a lot of people withdrawing their money the system collapses. No weapons, no blood, or anything like that.

It sounds like a splendid idea, go to the bank fill in a little cashiers cheque and just like magic the banking sector develops a moral code of conduct. There is even a website setup for it bankrun2010.com which blames the banks for all of the worlds ills, poverty, financial collapse you name it.

The website set up by Géraldine Feuillien a Belgian screen writer and Yann Sarfati a French Actor / Director raises a lot of interesting points.  It rightly states that the banks hide behind words and terms like “asset bubbles” and “Treasury bills” that most people don’t fully understand. Nor do they fully understand how a modern bank works.  It also suggests that the banking sector can learn something from Islam by implementing a Zero interest lending system.

The aim of the campaign in the simplest form was to hit the banks hard so they listen to those whom they depend on: we, the people. The aim was to create a watershed moment where the politicians realised that the people who elected them should come before corporate interests.

No one can fault the sentiments of all those involved because frustartraion and anger at the Capitalists making the lives of ordinary people a misery is gaining momentum. However for all the good sentiments the failing of campaigns such as bankrun2010.com is that they fail to link the current crisis with the flawed ideology of Capitalism.

Rather they blame only one segment of the system, the banks. The politics and indeed the politicians are as much at fault as the bankers, for the bankers were only following Capitalism to the letter. They were if you like the new age messiahs who put financial gain before anything and everything. They will say it was all worth the risk.

Even Abraham Lincoln could see this day coming 150 years ago

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow” U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 (letter to Col. William F. Elkins).

So rather than opposing the banks alone, it is time people started to question the political, economic and social fabric of society , whether that be in France, the UK or anywhere across the Western world. Corporate interests are not the byproduct of a few weak politicians who put them above the electorate, corporate interests are the lifeblood of the Western way of life.

Rather than mimicking one aspect of Islamic economics to stop profiteering through lending , Western society should be taking a closer look at Islam as a political entity. Under the Islamic Khilafah, the state will never allow banks, bankers or in fact anyone to subject millions to misery due to their unscrupulous methods. More light will be shed on this subject in future posts

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