Banks: The house always wins

Modern banking institutions have existed for the last 5 centuries in Europe. They were basically created in Europe for those people with large amounts of money/gold to keep it in a safe place. And soon it incorporated a lending function, to serve as intermediaries of a system that had been present for centuries beforehand:  the richer lending to the poorer to produce so that the richer could buy from them. Leaving the poor in the position that they were, poor, with constant debt and no market to sell to, and the rich ever richer. This submission to the rich side of society, slowly diminished with banks gaining more money of their own, and rich people creating their own banks. The house always wins.

With time, more and more people were incorporated in the banking system, with the growth of this sector peaking in the second half of the 20th Century, where the penetration has been close to total among adults in the rich nations and still growing in the poorer ones. This growth has been accompanied by the creation of clauses, complicated calculations and small print that few people understand, not even the person offering a loan to you does. Fierce competition, made us think that we got better deals and that banks had to buckle-up, but the constant growth of branches, with the cost this represents, prove that money was still being made. The house always wins.

But where was the money made? Well investing in more and more risky deals. Have you even heard of a bank saying: “Sorry, we cannot accept your savings because we cannot insure you getting the interest” No, banks increase or reduce interests and, since their greediness is endless, look at all sorts  of money making investments, however risky they may be. The house always wins.

This so-called world crisis, was provoked by the greediness of bankers, wanting to make more and more money. Betting and loosing, but the difference being that if we enter a casino and lose, we go empty handed, but banks being the house, never lose. Even if it takes time, they will get their money back, with interest. Bail-outs from governments come from the threat of banks that “without us, the economy will collapse”, and governments accepted this bluff. It would be cheaper to fine the bankers for their mismanagement, have the banks collapse and return the saving to all savers. How can we calculate this? Well if bankers with their huge salaries can do it with the bailouts then removing the bankers and having them pay a fine, would certainly make it cheaper. And if this is not done, how will bankers learn that what they did wasn’t right? Or perhaps they still believe they did the right thing? Or perhaps they don’t care? The house always wins.

Because bankers have  many decades of experience and always make sure that they always win. The clauses that figure in investments and loans made, make sure that the bank will never lose the money. But what if the mistake was theirs, giving a loan to someone who they shouldn’t have or make an ill-advised investment? The house always wins.

A last point to mention is that since the commodity they deal with (money) is easy to move and the dealings inside banks are secretive, this facilitates opacity, trickery and ultimately robbery. In poorer countries, there are dozens of examples of bankers fleeing to the US or Europe and previously transferring large sums of money to their accounts, when the economic situation of the country has been dire. The house always wins.

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Posted in Banks
4 comments on “Banks: The house always wins
  1. alexei says:

    I don’t disagree with your concise analysis, just with your spelling of the word “loose” which should in fact be written as “lose” – it has a quite different meaning (and pronunciation) but does seem to be a very common mistake nowadays.

  2. Reblogged this on thepoliticalvagina and commented:
    The House always wins – a great analogy and insightful look at banks.

  3. The house always wins when it plays such a big role in how the game is played.

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