Bank of England director: Occupy was right

Oct. 30, 2012 at 2:30 AM
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LONDON, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- The protesters who occupied Wall Street and parts of London and other cities were morally and intellectually right, a senior Bank of England official said.

"Some have suggested ... that Occupy's voice has been loud but vague -- long on problems, short on solutions," Andrew Haldane, a member of the central bank's Financial Policy Committee, told an event called "Socially Useful Banking," organized by Occupy Economics, an offshoot of the Occupy movement, in London Monday night.

"Others have argued that the fault lines in the global financial system, which chasmed during the crisis, are essentially unaltered -- that reform has failed," he said.

"I wish to argue that both are wrong -- that Occupy's voice has been both loud and persuasive and that policymakers have listened and are acting in ways which will close those fault lines," said Haldane, the bank's executive director of financial stability.

"In fact, I want to argue that we are in the early stages of a reformation of finance, a reformation which Occupy has helped stir," he said.

"Occupy has been successful in its efforts to popularize the problems of the global financial system for one very simple reason -- they are right," said Haldane, 45.

He added that protesters who camped out in New York, London and dozens of other cities "touched a moral nerve in pointing to growing inequities in the allocation of wealth."

But the nerve the movement touched was in fact more than just moral, he said -- it was intellectual, borne out by facts.

"For the hard-headed facts suggest that, at the heart of the global financial crisis, were -- and are -- problems of deep and rising inequality," he said.

Haldane ended with a direct appeal to activists to continue putting pressure on governments and regulators.

"You have put the arguments. You have helped win the debate. And policymakers, like me, will need your continuing support in delivering that radical change," he said.

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