The latest scandal to hit HSBC, Britain’s biggest bank, again throws a spotlight on the enormous failings of the finance sector. It is also a source of embarrassment for governments present and past – but also for the Church of England.
It's time to talk about, and talk up, monetary reform – to ensure that the public good that is our money system once again serves the interests of wider society, not just those of private wealth. So says groundbreaking political economist Ann Pettifor, whose new book 'Just Money' demystifies the nature of money and the finance system, showing how and why it needs to be reconstructed.
In his book The Great Tax Robbery, Richard Brooks notes that "the institutions that shape the tax system have been captured by the tax industry and corporate interests. Policy is determined through committees and consultation processes in which the tax avoidance industry’s representatives dominate, before being nodded through by parliament without proper debate. This cosy cartel urgently needs dismantling," he declares. Wendy Bradley argues that replacing recently resigned David Heaton with someone on the General Anti Abuse advisory panel (GAAR) who represents ordinary people rather than the tax wizards would be a good place to start.
As the debate continues about about whether and how credit unions and other community-based financial bodies can challenge big banking and immoral, high-interest charging pay-day lenders, the Just Festival in Edinburgh will be looking at moral and sustainable commerce.