Read about my speaking tour of Australia below – from the SEARCH Foundation:
The SEARCH Foundation is currently touring eminent British economist and author Ann
Pettifor around Australia and she is visiting our shores with a warning; the GFC inducing credit
crunch is not over and Australia’s banking sector is vulnerable.
Ms Pettifor is visiting Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane for speaking
engagements over the next fortnight.
“Before the Credit Crunch of 2008-2009 Brits and Americans were convinced that the good
times could last forever. Our orthodox economists, central bankers and politicians encouraged
us in that delusion. Today millions of the unemployed, homeless and bankrupt are paying
a heavy price for the failure to understand the role of the private banking system in causing
systemic and widespread economic failure.” Ms Pettifor said.
“Australians would be well advised not to fall into the same trap.
“At the same time, the increased frequency of extreme weather events is challenging the
widespread delusion that there is no limit to the rate at which humanity can go on polluting the
atmosphere and looting the seas and wider ecosystem.
“Australians, who have suffered more from extreme weather events than we have in Britain
would do well to take the lead in warning the world of a widespread delusion: that there are no
limits to the rate at which we can consume and ‘grow’.
“Instead we all need to address the most urgent crises facing humanity: the continuing global
financial crisis (it never did end in 2008); the threat of peak oil; the threat of climate change;
and now the rising threat of food and water shortages. That is why we, at the New Economics
Foundation first proposed the Green New Deal in July, 2008.
“We argued then, and we argue now, that societies must first fix the out-of-control globalised
financial system. We must strip the Masters of the Universe of their mighty power – after all
they rely on the world’s taxpayers to guarantee their profits and bonuses, and to socialise their
“Only then can we put the domestic banking system to work to help finance the transformation
of the economy away from costly globalised finance on the one hand and dependence on
fossil fuels on the other. Instead, tight but low cost-finance, generated by our domestic banking
systems must be put at the service of the transformation of the economy.
“We need massive investment in sustainable, renewable sources of energy and in the
conservation of the ecosystem’s resources.
“The banking system must provide regulated, low-cost finance for that investment. Just as
the banking system of the late 1930s and 40s helped finance economic recovery from the ’29
Crash; and then the challenge societies faced in 1939: World War.
“Such a transformation – a Green New Deal – will require greater self-sufficiency, and the
localisation of economies as far as practicable. It will also require the training and recruitment
of a ‘carbon army’ of workers – skilled and unskilled – to turn every building into a power
station, and to make every building energy-efficient.
“But just as central bankers and politicians turned a blind eye to the looming credit-crunch of
2008, so now they are turning a blind eye to the financial and ecological threats facing society.
“For example, right now, Australia’s mining boom is masking the vulnerability of her banking
system – and the threats that both high levels of household debt, and instability in globalised
capital markets pose to Australian banks – and therefore to the economy.
“Despite Mr. Glenn Stevens’ sanguine approach to the stability of Australia’s banks in his
recent testimony to the Australian parliament, insurance against the risk of Australian banks
defaulting – credit default swaps – climbed nearly 50% over August. That means that investor
expectations of Australian banks’ defaulting are on the rise. In addition, the cost of raising
40% of Australian bank funding ($100 billion) in global capital markets has been rising as a
result of instability in the Eurozone and US.
“The rising cost of this integration of the Australian banking system in the globalised economy
invariably means that Australian banks – and the financing of the current account deficit – are
more vulnerable to the whims of global investors.
“And as a result of the falling confidence in global capital markets, interest rates on loans
to Australian businesses and households will rise too – at a time when their customers are
snapping purses shut; house prices are sliding as Australians slowly pay down very high levels
of debt; and mortgage costs have been ratcheted up by the RBA’s raising of base rates to the
highest in the developed world;
“No amount of iron ore is going to fix Australia’s financial system. Australia needs a Green
For media interviews with Ann Pettifor whilst she is in Australia, please call Peter
Murphy on 0418 312 301.
Note to editors.
1. Ann Pettifor a fellow of the New Economics Foundation (nef) in London, UK, and director
of PRIME economics, is visiting Australia on a two-week tour, sponsored by the Search
Ms Pettifor first predicted a credit crunch in September, 2003 on launching a book she edited
and Palgrave Macmillan published: “The Real World Economic Outlook.” Later in October,
2006, Palgrave Macmillan published her book: “The Coming First World Debt Crisis”. Then in
a Times interview in 2009, she warned that “the worst of the slump is yet to come.”
2. In his recent evidence Mr Stevens of the Reserve Bank of Australia said: “Major Australian
banks report being offered substantial US dollar funding offshore on account of their relatively
high credit standing. In any event, their reliance on such wholesale funding is much reduced
from three years ago, with the large increase in deposit funding at home and slower balance
sheet growth.” And yet in May this year, Moody’s downgraded all four of Australia’s major
banks, as ABC reported at the time.