The contemporary capitalist economic system has an extraordinary component to it. That is the connection between the government, and the financial sector, the big banks. What banks? The Big 5 are JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup. Their assets are in the trillions of dollars. The economic and political implications of capital resources of that magnitude are enormous. Regulations have been relaxed creating the way for another financial meltdown. But if the banks do get into trouble the state is there to bail them out as it did in the crash of 2007-2008. Some are calling for the breakup of the big banks. That will be a tough task as the state/finance nexus is so tight, but it is an issue that must be addressed. There is also an alternative model, publicly-owned banks as in the case of North Dakota.
David Harvey is the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of many books, including The Limits to Capital, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Spaces of Global Capitalism, A Companion to Marx’s Capital, Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism and The Ways of the World. He is among the top twenty most-cited authors in the humanities and is the world’s most cited academic geographer.
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