Thursday, 7 April 2016

Cut corruption top-down? It’s up to the next generation of leaders to do so
How the ruling generation have built an incompatible system of global finance and what we must do to disrupt it.

Over the past few decades, the scale of the abuse of political power has become more and more apparent to us as members of the voting public to the extent that today, we see our current political leaders desperately attempting to reconcile this stigma. Indeed one of the last government’s biggest ‘democratic’ pledges in 2010 was to “seek radical reform to the banking industry”. Furthermore, the current government made a promise to us last October to find an extra £5 billion of savings from tackling tax avoidance. Such pledges are much welcomed and indeed progress is being made: in regards to the banking sector for example, most banks will supposedly have to be bailed out by their bond and shareholders if another financial crisis were to occur, instead of by the public as witnessed in 2008/09, under legislation formed in the coalition government. But if we are to truly make progress on assuring one rule for all and strict rule for those with an economic advantage, we must look to the seeds of corruption not just specific examples, many of which are not currently labelled as ‘corruption’ because of the simple fact that they are legal. It is up to the next generation of leaders to re-sow these seeds.

To help explain the concept of ‘seeds of corruption’, I’ll give you a couple of clear and relevant examples:

Firstly, this week we have become aware of an exposed set of documents called, ‘The Panama Papers’, which put simply are 11.5 million pieces of paper outlining the details of high-profile world leaders and businessmen and businesswomen that have engaged in large scale offshore trade deals or savings, allowing them to avoid paying tax in their country. To many of you, I’m sure most of these findings won’t come as too much of a shock. They certainly didn’t to me. One did however, and for me it demonstrated how we will never solve such corruption without eliminating it and other examples. The case was of how the highly-held law firm, Mossack Fonseca, had been directly involved (and aware that they were so) in a famous robbery- the Brink’s-MAT robbery, that saw 3 tonnes of gold stolen from a warehouse near London in 1983. They are still in operation to this day. This company is not a small amateur law firm operating from a New York basement- this company is one of the largest investment handling firms on our planet. It has ‘assisted’ associates linked directly to: Vladimir Putin; the prime minister of Iceland; the new FIFA president Gianni Infantino; the president of Ukraine and indeed our own prime minister’s father, Ian Cameron. The list continues. Tax avoidance is a perfect example of the abuse of wealth and ‘social standing’. Our government aims to ‘seriously reduce’ tax avoidance by the end of its term. We will not seriously reduce tax avoidance until the global community takes bold steps to bring such companies to justice. I therefore believe that it must fall to our generation, as witnesses of how simple corruption will always end in catastrophe, to crack down on the fundamental elements that make tax avoidance possible for those quite simply abusing the authoritative power of their money. Money should not determine the application of rule. That is a simple part of our democracy, yet it is still, in the 21st century, being enacted.

Secondly, I’d like to take a step back 8 years to the beginning of the global financial crisis. Simply put, it was caused most significantly by the selling of something called a ‘CDO (collateralized debt obligations) which is basically a collection of miss sold loans sold on to a consumer who wishes to buy a house say. As more and more banks gave out more and more of such loans, actual credit became less and less. It was done on account of personal greed- the more CDOs each banker sold, the more commission they would receive. This occurred to such an extent that in March 2008, Gordon Brown’s government had to use taxpayers’ money to save these banks from folding. Now obviously and rightfully so, public outrage followed; how could our elected representatives have the will to conduct such an act without our consent? This would’ve been an obvious question posed. CDOs were thankfully banned from use shortly after. However, today I watched our prime minister claim that he has done more than either prime minister of Labour’s 13 years in power to tackle bank reformation, to ensure the public will not be manipulated in such a way again. Well, I’m afraid it remains the case that we, the public, have been continually manipulated since 2011 when the exact same format that made up a CDO, was brought back, this time under the name of CLOs (collateralized loan obligations). Upon this clear evidence, I therefore believe it is up to our generation to crack down on such manipulative practices, so to prevent innocent and hard-working members of our society being at an unjust disadvantage by the few who prioritize financial gain over the well-being of others.

Both of these examples signal a pattern; a pattern of an incompatible relationship between global finance and the ability for those ruling our society to truly enact their supposed pledges for the benefit of those whom they are supposed to represent. Our generation must allow each other to enter into public representation without compromising on basic principles of leadership. Together, we must disrupt this corrupt structure by dismantling it piece by piece, in a simple and democratic format, such as allowing wealthy corporations to collapse and banning any practice of selling ‘non-existent’ entities such as loans. Furthermore, we must embrace global finance as a force for solutions to simple humane problems such as natural disasters and improving the quality of living conditions and not be allowed to manipulate specific markets for the benefit of the few. If we are able to make progress on these simple and responsive aims, I genuinely believe such corruption will become less and less concentrated and significantly easier to effectively address.


  1. I agree, modern day politics Is far to focused on the now and lacks the insight to look forward. It's our generation that will suffer from the greed of those elected today.

    1. Yes, unfortunately so; we must ensure we progress in doing as much as possible to minimize it by finding collective solutions to individual problems such as these and enabling the right representatives to get involved not through there social standing, but through experience and compassion. JB

  2. Very well put. Infantino is probably innocent. He approved a contract that was later abused. Wonderful writing. Nice to see someone from the younger generation so well informed and so obviously passionate about this which is without a doubt the biggest problem the World faces.