Monday, 21 August 2017

The Banks are Made of Marble

The tenth anniversary of the first signs of the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-08 is being marked, rather than celebrated, by much media commentary – platitudinous hindsight for the most part. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Messrs. Osborne, Cameron and Clegg (aided and abetted by a supine opposition) we now know that that the world economy crashed due to the incompetence of Gordon Brown and the profligacy of the Labour government’s reckless public spending. Anyway, enough of fake narratives – we pay homage here to the spiritual home of casino banking, the USA. Birthplace of the Collateralised Debt Obligation, Credit Default Swaps and the Subprime Mortgage. After 30 years of assiduous creation of their legendary status as brutal and callous deal-makers, the banking community had finally over-reached.

The Los Angeles bank vault is a tribute in gleaming metal to the efforts of the rich to defend their property and the corresponding efforts of the criminal class to get their hands on them without the inconvenience of earning them. All cool reflective surfaces and empty spaces. Most of these cards pre-date the crash of 1929 and include some small town retail banks of the type that failed in the thousands as well as large faceless operations concealed within skyscraper towers and lesser buildings of varying degrees of architectural pomposity.

A New York State farmer named Les Rice wrote the song, The Banks are made of Marble in the late 1940s and Pete Seeger, who was a near neighbour and acquaintance, included it in his repertoire for the rest of his career. In the 2012 clip below, Pete’s accompanied by the Rivertown Kids, a notorious bunch of brain-washed, alt-left, merchants of hate. Watch and shudder. The most stirring version is the one performed by Leo Kottke and Iris DeMent on Prairie Home Companion. Sadly, only the corpse remains visible on YouTube.

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