The Just Banking conference brought together over 400 academics, campaigners, policy-makers and citizens to address these urgent questions:
- How can we handle banking crises without burdening the taxpayer, or better still, avoid them altogether?
The Bank of England estimates that the total cost of bailing out the UK financial system was £1.3 trillion, more than ten times the entire NHS budget.
- How can we increase the bank finance available for the real economy, and decrease the amount pumped into asset price bubbles?
At present only around 8% of lending by banks goes to productive investment in the sectors that contribute to GDP. The rest goes into property (pushing up house prices) and speculation, including speculation on basic commodities (pushing up food prices for the world’s poorest).
- How can we make high street banks invest in local economies and long-term value?
When banks do get around to financing the productive sector, they too often support huge companies with dubious environmental and human rights records, rather than the small businesses that create two thirds of our jobs. Many commentators now argue that banks are failing to support sustainable local economies because they have consolidated beyond the point that allows them to be responsive to local needs.
The conference opened with an evening lecture from Adam Posen, member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, and a lively panel discussion with Ann Pettifor, Richard Werner and Tony Greenham. This was followed by a full day of presentations and seminars with thought-leaders from the UK and beyond.
About the organisers
The conference was organised by Friends of the Earth Scotland and the University of Edinburgh Economics Society, in partnership with UNISON, Christian Aid, the New Economics Foundation, the Scottish Trade Union Congress, the World Development Movement and Compass. It was generously supported by Triodos Bank, the Carnegie Trust, the University of Edinburgh Business School & Economics School, and EUSA. Q finance were our official media partners.
Tickets for the 2013 Transforming Finance Conference are available now!