I WONDER whether President Obama has seen Michael Moore's latest film, Capitalism: A Love Story (currently showing in Palma at the Renoir Cinema)? Although Moore's onslaught is directed at all forms of capitalism, the banks involved in the Wall Street collapse of late-2008 come in for their fair share of criticism. In fact, the final scenes of the film show Moore surrounding the premises of one of those banks with police “crime scene” tape and using a bullhorn to tell the bankers that he wants to make a citizen's arrest. Barack Obama's radical proposals for a new deal between government and banking, announced on Thursday, seem to have been made in much the same spirit that Michael Moore shows in his film: “Never again will American taxpayers be held hostage by a bank that is too big to fail...If these folks want a fight, it's a fight I'm ready to have.” Globally yesterday stock exchanges showed their concern at President Obama's plans and the way in which they were presented. Media opinion was more mixed, suggesting that although the aims of the changes might be right it was not clear whether the means proposed to achieve them would work. There are also international operational issues that will need to be addressed -- beginning probably early next week when a G7 meeting of finance ministers will be looking at ways of imposing a levy on banks that have boasted of “soaring profits and obscene bonuses” (Obama, again).


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