The European Ombudswoman has announced that she will investigate the membership of the President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, in the Group of Thirty. this is a shadowy forum of the most senior executives from large commercial banks and the most important central banks.The Group of Thirty meets behind closed doors without the press and without minutes taken. Some of the institutions are being supervised by the ECB. This group could come to an end, in its current form, if the EU-Ombudswoman finds fault with Draghi’s membership.
At a symposium of the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament on “The ECB – Europe’s unelected government” (video from min. 22), I gave a presentation on the nature and motives of central banks in general and the European Central Bank in particular, characterizing it as an integral part of the banking community. Harald Schumann (from min. 47) presented a lot of juicy detail about highly questionable machinations of the ECB during the bank-“rescues” in Greece and Cyprus. The text of my intervention is below.
The Group of Thirty, a mixed group of international commercial bankers and central bankers, has just released a report on central banking. The report is again presented as if it was representing the opinion of the group as a whole, including Mario Draghi. This proves that the new guidelines for communication of the members of the Executive Board of the ECB are nothing but window dressing.
Early in 2013 the EU-Ombudsman ruled on a complaint of Corporate Europe Observatory and found that ECB-President Mario Draghi can legitimately be part of the Group of Thirty, a mixed group of international bankers and central bankers. My research shows that the reasons he gave at the time are not valid any more. Draghi will not be able stay in this highly problematic group, nor will ECB-Top-Supervisor Julie Dickson be able to continue to “contribute her experience”.
Presentation for the seminar “Economics and Power” on 23 March 2015, House of Lords, London: Ladies and Gentlemen, To pay tribute to the Marxist jargon, in which Lord Skidelsky has phrased the title of my subject, I would like to start with a quote from Karl Marx: “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas. … The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, … the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance.” In my own words, that means that not all economic ideas are created equal.
On Thursday the ECB’s Governing Council will decide on whether to start a large bond buying program. I am afraid the decision is clear, though not for economic reasons. A few days later, the Greek will probably vote for a left leaning government under the Syriza-party, which wants to renegotiate the terms of the huge government debt, and is opposed to the EU-imposed austerity program which impoverished the country. There will be a standoff, a game of chicken, in which Brussels, Frankfort (the ECB) and Berlin
Let’s assume that there is a financial oligarchy which exerts strong political influence due to the vast amounts of money it controls. Let’s further assume that this financial oligarchy has succeeded in having financial markets deregulated and that this has enabled the financial industry to expand their business massively. Then, in some near or far future, their artfully constructed financial edifice breaks down, because it cannot be hidden any more that the accumulated claims cannot be serviced by the real economy.