Norway’s second largest bank is going to stop handling cash as of next Monday.
Not everyone thinks this is a good idea.
Eriksson, now head of a lobbying group for the Swedish security industry, argues that cash is a crucial part of society’s infrastructure. He alleges that the decision to abandon cash is being made by banks simply to increase profits:
“Something is being privatized without people knowing what the implications of that privatization are.”
More at the link.
At The Boston Review, Richard White reviews two books that attempt to trace the myth that the United States is “a Christian nation,” despite the blunt statements of the Founders to the contrary. Here’s a bit about the most recent incarnation of that myth; follow the link to read the rest.
In the 1930s and early 1940s, worried about a decade of political losses and their own deep unpopularity, a group of conservative industrialists—as conservative rich are wont to do—began to grow anxious about American values. They came up with the idea of freedom under God, which was a kind of Christian libertarianism that emphasized a religious understanding of the Fourth of July and America’s founding. Realizing their own limits as spokespeople for freedom under God, they recruited—largely but not entirely—Protestant clergy, the most notable being Abraham Vereide and eventually Billy Graham. The goal was to argue for individualism and individual salvation and against claims of a larger public good. They wanted to restore self-reliance and oppose unions and welfare. Just as the first advocates of Christian America had sought to intertwine republicanism and Christianity, the advocates of this new version sought to intertwine capitalism and Christianity.
Volkswagen, BP, Enron, Wall Street–Why all the cheating?
David Steinberg points to the MBA culture. A nugget:
What does Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal have in common with Enron’s accounting fraud, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill catastrophe, the global financial meltdown of 2008, Barclay’s Libor rate rigging, and General Motors’ ignition recall? Why do these colossal breakdowns of public trust in corporations continue to repeat themselves?
At the heart of these scandals is an unchallenged attitude of “business as usual” that privileges financial metrics of success over all else and assumes that maximizing shareholder returns is the raison d’être of a corporation.
Alexandria Goree is suing Experian, TransUnion and Equifax over the glitch, contending that it was difficult to get loans or a new home, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1SnvzRT ) reported.
For some reason, this hampered her attempts to get credit. For some more fool reason, it has taken her months to convince them that she’s not dead.
The credit reporting agencies have no comment because of course they don’t.
More stupid at the link.
John Gelles explains how Visa and Mastercard’s new credit card chips won’t live up to their billing as protecting against fraud. Here’s the crucial bit (emphasis added), but I recommend following the link and reading the entire article:
The Merchant Advisory Group, a coalition of companies reliant on plastic payments, had long urged Visa and MasterCard to adopt the chip cards as an anti-fraud tool – and to require PINs with them, as are used almost everywhere else.
Why did it fail? Mark Horwedel, the group’s CEO, says a key reason is that different rules cover different kinds of fraud – and that, once again, Visa, MasterCard, and the big banks are chiefly taking care of themselves.
Studies show that PINs cut fraud losses by as much as 85 percent or more–one reason their use is also urged by such advocates as U.S. PIRG’s Ed Mierzwinski, who says consumers ultimately pay the costs of fraud either indirectly or as its victims.
A new Dickensian tale, in which Artful Dodger gives up the streets and the gangs, gets a three-piece suit, and becomes a banker.
Robert Reich explains how Goldman Sach helped Greece the skids, while filling its sacks. A snippet:
The crisis was exacerbated years ago by a deal with Goldman Sachs, engineered by Goldman’s current CEO, Lloyd Blankfein. Blankfein and his Goldman team helped Greece hide the true extent of its debt, and in the process almost doubled it. And just as with the American subprime crisis, and the current plight of many American cities, Wall Street’s predatory lending played an important although little-recognized role.
Follow the link, where Reich explains the mechanics of the con worked.