October 16, 2011

If it sounds unusual to hear the head of a country's central bank speak so positively about the protests going on around the world now it's probably because it is. Mark Carney though is one of more reform-minded of the central bankers (somewhat equivalent to the role Ben Bernanke plays as the head of the Federal Reserve). Carney was notably the target of a profanity-laced tirade by Jamie Dimon (CEO of JP Morgan Chase) last month at a meeting of world bankers and officials. Dimon said the new rules discriminated against American banks and called the new capitalization rules "anti-American".

Mark Carney - a former Goldman Sachs Co. investment banker himself – is being pushed by Canada to head the G20's Financial Stability Board, a position that would put him even more at odds with people like the "business-as-usual, now-move-along" Jamie Dimons of this world who'd just as soon keep the casino open forever.

via The Globe and Mail:

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and other expressions of frustration with the global economic and financial system highlight the need for policy makers to show they are serious about forcing change, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney says.

In a television interview, Mr. Carney acknowledged that the movement is an understandable product of the "increase in inequality" – particularly in the United States – that started with globalization and was thrust into sharp relief by the worst downturn since the Great Depression, which hit the less well-educated and blue-collar segments of the population hardest.

"You’ve had a big increase in the ratio of CEO earnings to workers on the shop floor,’’ Mr. Carney said, according to a transcript of the interview with Peter Mansbridge of CBC News, parts of which aired on Friday evening. "And then on top of that, a financial crisis.’’

But Mr. Carney – a former Goldman Sachs Co. investment banker – suggested that while he understands the frustration, some of it is rooted in an overly pessimistic view of policy makers’ resolve to make it harder for financial firms to take the sort of risks that led to the meltdown of 2008 and the brutal recession that followed.

“There’s a frustration with policy and a frustration that, `are things going back to business as usual,’’’ Mr. Carney said in the interview. ``If I may say, that is not going to happen, but I can understand the frustrations.’’

Demonstrations like the Occupy Wall Street protests, which will hit Canadian cities this weekend, are a “democratic expression of views’’ and “entirely constructive,’’ Mr. Carney said.

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