Anorak

Anorak | You want to bash the bankers? Move your bloody bank account you fool!

You want to bash the bankers? Move your bloody bank account you fool!

by | 11th, July 2012

I’LL admit to being a little confused about this campaign:

Angry bank customers have been voting with their wallets and bombarding co-ops, building societies and credit unions with applications for current accounts over the past week, after the NatWest computer meltdown and the Barclays rate-rigging scandal.

Data compiled by the campaign group Move Your Money UK shows an explosion in requests to switch from large high street banks to smaller alternatives that consumers hope will take a more ethical approach. Charity Bank, which lends its savers’ money to charities, has seen a 200% increase in depositors; the Ecology Bank has had a 266% jump in applications; and Triodos, a Bristol-based “sustainable bank”, a 51% increase.

They seem to be portraying this as some sort of stick to the man, anti-capitalist, let’s show we hate the markets sort of thing.

When of course what they’re actually doing is make markets work: indeed, they’re doing exactly the thing that people have to do in order to make markets work.

For the question is not whether markets should be regulated: no, not at all. It is who regulates them and how? To which the answer is often enough, consumers regulate markets by how they dispose of their money. Don’t like a bank which showers dosh on the spivs at the top? Then move your bloody account you fool.

This applies to everything where you have even the slightest choice of course: you prefer green energy then go buy the damn stuff. Don’t like dolphins mixed in with your tuna, buy the Flipper friendly brand. If you prefer that no innocent plants were harmed in the making of your underwear then buy nylon. Want to stick it to those worms then silk.

It really is true that if you want to change what companies offer and how they do so then you, you the consumer, have to go out and change your behaviour so as to reward those who do what you want and punish those who don’t. And of course, if you’re just going to whine that the government should pass a law instead of taking that minimal action yourself then you just don’t care enough, do you?

And far from consumer boycotts being some form of anti-market activity: they’re actually essential, they’re what regulate markets.



Posted: 11th, July 2012 | In: Money Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink