THE man who the polls suggest will be the next French president, François Hollande, claims that finance is his “real adversary” in the coming election. Britain has just stripped the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland of his knighthood. Even Newt Gingrich is attacking the “vulture capitalists” in the private-equity industry. Perhaps the West is set for a “war on finance” along the lines of the “war on terror”, with similar uncertainty about how to define victory.
Politicians seem to have three main beefs with the financial sector. The first is that bankers earn too much. The second is that banks take reckless risks and then need rescuing by governments. And the third complaint is that investors in financial markets have undue influence over an economy through their ability to affect bond yields and equity prices.