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Bankocracy
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by Eric Toussaint
30 October 2015

Available in pdf and epub

Via internet, CADTM is very pleased to make this book available to a wide public. It may be freely copied by other sites and reproduced for non profit uses provided that a link to the CADTM website is clearly visible (www.cadtm.org). Feel free to send your comments and information on the personal or collective use you make of this book to info at cadtm.org. Your messages will be forwarded to the authors.

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Bankocracy by Eric Toussaint
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Bankocracy by Eric Toussaint

Governments of the most industrialised countries have dramatically increased their public debt to bail out the private banks after the most disastrous economic and financial meltdown in capitalist history since the 1930s. Paying debts and reducing fiscal deficits have become the perfect pretexts to enforce austerity measures everywhere. The Troika (European Commission, ECB and IMF) and all EU governments have launched an unprecedented attack on the social and economic rights of their peoples. This book will enable the reader to understand how the crisis developed: the consequences of deregulating the banking system, the logic underpinning private banks’ responses, and the crimes they perpetrate on a daily basis with the collusion of governments and central banks. It argues for socialisation, rather than ‘nationalisation’, of the banking sector so that it becomes a proper public service under citizen control and monitoring. It argues for the cancellation of illegitimate public debt that largely results from bank bail-outs. It uses simple straightforward language to make it possible for anyone to understand the current crisis and see coherent alternatives to current policies.

This book is dedicated to those who wish to better understand our struggle for empowerment, wherever they are; to the refugees who are shamefully denied access to our Western countries; to all those who have lost their jobs or their homes because of the irresponsible behaviour of banks; to those who fight injustice and all forms of oppression.


The central theme of this highly informative, lucid, and very careful study is the current financial crisis, which elites present “as the motive justifying the biggest offensive since the Second World War against the economic and social rights of the people of Europe,” and of the US as well. It also elaborates the background in the neoliberal policies of the past generation, and the deeper history of banking institutions and their roles in modern state capitalist societies. A no less important contribution is to spell out the basis for democratization of financial institutions under citizen control. Valuable and impressive.
Noam Chomsky


Banks are at the heart of contemporary capitalism – they are key to financial markets, generate the bulk of financial profits, and have enormous influence on policy making. Eric Toussaint offers us a wide-ranging, informative and sharp outline of their role. And as one would expect from the author, the analysis is politically committed, while also suggesting concrete measures to deal with the power of banks.
Costas Lapavitsas, former MP for Syriza and Professor of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.


Eric Toussaint provides a comprehensive analysis of the deregulation of the banking system and finance before and after the Great Recession, and of the effects of the “Bankocracy” on the lives of people. He skilfully presents the complex mechanisms and instruments the financial sector has developed. He does so in a language which is accessible to anyone interested in understanding the current crisis and the role of the financial industry. The alternatives he presents to the current policies include the socialization of the banking sector and the cancellation of illegitimate public debt.
Özlem Onaran, Professor of Workforce and Economic Development Policy, University of Greenwich.


Eric Toussaint’s Bankocracy describes how the growth of debt stultifies rather than finances prosperity — and from the outset shows that creditor power has been wiped out by civil authority repeatedly, since the very beginning of our modern epoch when the wealth of the Knights Templars was seized by Philip the Fair and their power dissolved along with their order.
This should be the political lesson of our own time: That there is nothing inherent in nature for families, business and governments to be indebted to a creditor class. What is a natural law throughout history has been the reaction by public authority to wipe the financial slate clean and make a fresh start with a clean slate.
Failure to do this will subject society to chronic austerity. Toussaint’s book shows the need for political parties to make this the centerpiece of their economic program.

Michael Hudson


Bankocracy’s reviews:
- Avishek Konar: Understanding the crisis is too important to be left to specialists alone. This is why “Bankocracy” is so important
- Suresh Seshadri: Time to dump greed for need
- Pete Green: Bankocracy – a review
- Collin G. Matton: A Review of Bankocracy



Eric Toussaint

is a historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège, is the spokesperson of the CADTM International, and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France.
He is the author of Bankocracy (2015); The Life and Crimes of an Exemplary Man (2014); Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology From its Origins to the Present, Haymarket books, Chicago, 2012 (see here), etc.
See his bibliography: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89ric_Toussaint
He co-authored World debt figures 2015 with Pierre Gottiniaux, Daniel Munevar and Antonio Sanabria (2015); and with Damien Millet Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, Monthly Review Books, New York, 2010. Since the 4th April 2015 he is the scientific coordinator of the Greek Truth Commission on Public Debt.