If banks undermine states they must account on a country-by-country basis

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The FT reports:

The failure of Anglo Irish bank, the lender at the centre of the country’s financial crisis, would “bring down” Ireland, the country’s finance minister said, as he vowed the government would stand behind the institution as it winds down.

As Ireland’s Finance Minister said:

Any Anglo failure would bring down the sovereign. It is systemically important not because of any intrinsic merit in the bank. But because of its size relative to the national balance sheet. No country could contemplate the failure of such an institution.

Then note the FT reports:

Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, has issued a clear warning that the bank could shift its operations around the world if regulatory crackdown on the industry becomes too tough in certain jurisdictions.

The conflict between these positions is obvious. A bank can bring down a state. And banks don’t want to be regulated by the state.

There can only be one winner on this: it must be states.

And because it is very obvious that each and every person in every state is a stakeholder and supplier of capital to banks it is vital that banks be required to account on a country-by-country reporting basis. The argument that only the formal suppliers of capital through financial markets need have financial statements prepared for their benefit is so very obviously nonsense now that the claims by the International Accounting Standards Board, the Big 4, the largest multinational corporations that this is the case must be challenged, not least by all governments.

I look forward to the Irish government joining the demand for country-by-country reporting.