What is a billion?

The NatPost today had an article on the subject of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate, particularly the price-fixing engaged in a by bankers.

In it a certain Don Coxe, a “global portfolio strategist” for the Bank of Montreal in Chicago was quoted.

Coxe estimates that, overall, banks around the world have paid US$350-billion in fines “for all the frauds they are admitting to since 2008.”

$350 billion!

That is greater than the size of the spending of the Canadian federal government for the year 2015.


I apologize for the fact that the numbers in the chart may appear illegible, but the topmost number in the left-hand column is 351000, standing for $351 billion Canadian dollars, or less than total bank fines since 2008, measured in US dollars.

As Coxe remarks, we have yet to see any bankers in jail.

If you are a defender of the capitalist order, as I am, then you ought to be appalled by this figure, and these behaviours.

“Floggings will continue until morale improves.” – traditional management technique

The market ideologists  need to be sent to their bedrooms without supper, for about a decade. Hopeful they will starve.

Maybe it is time you looked up the brilliant movie, Margin Call, and paid very close attention to the speech at the end of the movie by Jeremy Irons, who played the Chairman of the Board, who recites the list of market crashes, bubbles and scandals since the invention of stock markets in the mid-1600s.