GERALD EPSTEIN | Busting The Bankers' Club

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The power of the banks is the idea that finance is too complex for the common person. Gerald Epstein The power of the banks is the idea that finance is too complex for the common person
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Ever wondered about the mysterious forces that shape our financial system? I'm joimned by Gerald Epstein, author of 'Busting the Bankers Club: Finance for the Rest of Us' to discuss the often shadowy interplay between politics, economics, and the big banks.

He explains how the 'Bankers Club'—a conglomerate of financial elites, politicians, and regulatory bodies—exerts a powerful influence over our economy and politics. This episode is not just about exposing the intricacies of the financial system; it's about understanding how it affects each and every one of us.

"The political system here in the United States has really been captured by the wealthy elites."

From the gold standard to cryptocurrency, Epstein delves into the historical context of banking and finance, offering insights into how past events have shaped the present. We discuss the 2008 financial crisis, the role of the Federal Reserve, and the impact of deregulation on the economy. Epstein's analysis is both sobering and enlightening, as he lays bare the failures of a system that has often prioritized the interests of the few over the needs of the many.

"The bankers do best when they're operating in the dark, when they convince people that we're the experts and we're the only ones who know how to do this."

But it's not all doom and gloom. Epstein shares a message of cautious optimism, highlighting the efforts of 'club-busters'—activists and reformers working to democratize finance and create a system that serves everyone, not just the wealthy elite.


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Gerald Epstein - Busting the Bankers Club

Chloe: Shares for beginners Phil Muscatello and Fin pods are authorised reps of MoneySherpa. The information in this podcast is general in nature and doesn't take into account your personal situation.

Gerald Epstein: They hated the banks and they hated the government. So they wanted a system that could be completely independent of both of those things, that could be operated in a decentralized way, by computers, by algorithms, and nobody could have centralized power. So it's always been kind of a dream about how capitalist finance should work. That was part of what the gold standard was about, this automatic system that wasn't controlled by anybody. That was the original idea for independent central banks. You would just have these technicians doing it. Politics would get involved, the big guys wouldn't control it. And now crypto, it's always going to be done in a decentralized way, and nobody's going to control it. But it's always been a fiction. It always, in the end, gets controlled by politics and, uh, often by the big guys.

Phil: G'day and welcome back to shares for beginners. I'm Phil Muscatello. What's too big to fail, too complex to understand, and too powerful to stop? Joining me today to explain the captured complex financial system is Gerald Epstein, author of busting the Bankers Club, Finance for the rest of us. Hello, Gerald.

Gerald Epstein: Hello. Thank you for having me.

Phil: Thanks very much for coming on. I'm very excited to dig deeper into the dismal science as it's known.

Gerald Epstein: Right.

Phil: Gerald Epstein is professor of economics and the founding co director of the political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research focuses on political economy and progressive economic policy, especially in the areas of central banking, macroeconomic policy, and international finance. He received his PhD in economics from Princeton University. So, uh, Jerry, why were you attracted to economics in the first place, thinking back all those years ago?

Gerald Epstein: Well, I wanted to figure out how the world worked, and I was told that economics was one of the key driving forces in not only our economy, but in our politics and society. So I actually majored in political science, but then switched over to economics to get a better handle on things. And I've been doing economics ever since.

Phil: What do you think? Which dog is wagging? Which tail is it politics wagging economics or economics wagging the political tail?

Gerald Epstein: Well, what I try to show in my book is that they're really intertwined and you can't really separate them. I guess that's sort of what I ended up deciding and studying both politics and economics. The political system here in the United States has really been captured by the wealthy elites. And in the case that I'm talking about in my book, the Financial Elites, and they use their economic power to spread the money around, get allies, which I call the bankers club, to support them in their economic and political endeavors. And that in turn enhances their wealth. But in the end, that allows them to engage in economic activity, financial activity that really drives the economy. So you can kind of see how there's a circle or a cycle where the politics and the economics jointly drive our system here.

Phil: But hasn't it always been such, I mean, politics and power, uh, and Money. I mean, you can go back to roman times and Medici times, I'm sure the ancient greek times, that they were all intertwined. Isn't it just part of the way we are as humans?

Gerald Epstein: Well, I don't know if it's the way we are as humans. It's certainly the way our societies have often been organized, but it takes different forms. In my book, I talk about the Jekyll and Hyde of finance, going back to the old Robert Louis Stevenson story about Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde. Doctor Jekyll is this upstanding doctor of the community, and there's this murderous other guy in town called Mister Hyde. And somebody was looking into who is Mister Hyde? And found out that Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde were the same person, so that the good and the evil were contained in the same individual. And I think our economics, our financial system is kind of like that. It's a Jekyll and Hyde system. On the one hand, we need a good financial system that gives us a place to keep our savings, allows us to get loans to buy houses, that gives credit to businesses, that, uh, runs the payment system. But sometimes this financial system really takes a bad turn, and a lot will depend on how it's regulated, how the laws are written, whether the regulatory authorities are structuring banks so that they have a mission to serve society rather than only maximize profits. So if you go back to the Great Depression in the United States, for example, the financial system was regulated, was restructured, and we had a, uh, 30 or 40 year period of prosperity and very few financial crises. And then around the 1990s and two thousands, that all changed. So, yes, there's always greed and there's always economics and politics intertwined, but it doesn't always operate the same way. Politics can get the better hand and really


Gerald Epstein: guide things in a much better way.

Phil: So what do you think happened in the late eighties, early nineties to change things? And I'm assuming that's where you think the financial system was captured.

Gerald Epstein: Well, it had been captured before that. I mean, it had been captured in the late 19th century, early 20th century. Then we had the great depression in the United States, but as well as in other countries in Great Britain and Europe, the financial system was either nationalized or, uh, greatly controlled by the government as a result of the depression. But what happened is the financial regulations that were established in the 1930s couldn't last forever in a standard in their own form. That is, the capitalist economy is dynamic. It changes, conditions change, and regulatory structures have to change along with them if they're going to work. So the regulatory system in the United States, at least, and I think this was true in Europe as well, had a lot of fixed interest rates. There are interest rate ceilings on what banks could charge, there were ceilings on what banks could pay for deposits. And this was meant to stabilize the economy. But when inflation started taking off in the late sixties and early seventies, not just in the US, but around the world, the banks couldn't compete with other financial institutions, which came in and offered higher interest rates on deposits, and they were able to charge higher interest rates on loans. And so the banks said, look, we can't compete. And they lobbied the government to basically deregulate the system. And what could have happened is that the government could have managed, modified it, kept some of these regulations on. But in the end, with the help of the bankers club in the United States, the banks were able to get most of the regulations completely, uh, lifted.

Phil: So tell us about the Bankers club. What is it? Who is in it?

Gerald Epstein: Yeah, well, the Bankers club is a set of allies that support the large banks and financial institutions politically, and mostly politically, in somewhat economically, you know, in the United States. I don't know if this is true in Australia, but in the United States, the banks are very unpopular. The big banks. You know, I teach a class called finance and society to undergraduates at the University of Massachusetts, and every year I ask the students to come up with some kind of movie that has a favorable portrait of bankers. And the only one they can come up with is it's a wonderful life, um, from 1946. That was a long time ago. People don't like banks very much, especially the big ones. And if you take opinion polls, that demonstrates that in the United States. So the question is, how do the banks have so much power? How do they capture the financial system? And it's not just the banks, it's the big hedge funds and the private equity firms and so forth. How do they do that, well, they have to have a set of allies that gives them support. And so the Bankers Club, that's their allies. So the Bankers Club includes the big banks, it includes the politicians that they pay off to write good regulations for them. It includes the non financial corporate, uh, capitalists who ally with the bankers Club much of the time. It includes the Federal Reserve system, our central bank, which I say is the chairman of the club, it helps to orchestrate the whole bankers club. Uh, typically it includes lawyers and regulatory authorities like the SEC, the office of Control of the currency, etcetera. And unfortunately, it includes members of my own profession, the economists. Now, it doesn't include all of these groups all of the time, but it includes significant number of them much of the time.

Phil: It's always the economists, isn't it?

Gerald Epstein: It is the dismal science.

Phil: They're always there. I was always surprised when I learned the fact that the Federal Reserve is actually run by private banks as opposed to the government. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Gerald Epstein: Yeah, I talk quite a bit about the Fed. In, uh, fact, I have a whole chapter in my book about it. It's an interesting history. You know, most central banks started off as private banks, and the government, the old ones, the kings, engaged them to help them do raise money for fighting wars and for their armies, and getting some taxes and so forth, and eventually gave them certain kinds of privileges for doing this. Then eventually they transformed into central banks. In the US, it was a bit different. The central bank was created later than in many other modern countries. And it was 1913, and initially it was set up, as you said, it was owned by the commercial banks that put in capital and owned the central banks. It was kind of a public private partnership, because there were public officials who also oversaw the Federal Reserve at the board of governors in Washington. But when the Great Depression hit, a lot of people blamed the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve did, uh, very little to help stem the depression. I won't go as far as Milton Friedman went and said that they caused it, but they didn't do very much to solve the problem either. And so more of the power was taken away from the


Gerald Epstein: regional banks, the banks in San Francisco and Boston, and Philadelphia, New York, and put in the hands of the board of governors. And the role of the private banks on the boards of governors was reduced, but it was not eliminated. So to this day, even though the Federal Reserve is clearly a public organization, it's not formally owned by the banks really anymore. Bankers still have a huge influence over the operations of the Federal Reserve. And this is especially true of the New York Federal Reserve, which is the most important regional bank, because the New York Federal Reserve is right there on Wall street, and it has, uh, an outsized role, uh, in the Fed. And it's often the case that the big Wall street bankers sit on the board of the New York Federal Reserve and have a big influence over it.

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Phil: And what about Treasury Department? Because that is definitely a part of government. Is this part of the Bankers club as well?

Gerald Epstein: Yeah, that's a really interesting question, and I would say that it often is. That is, the Treasury Department really depends a lot on the Federal Reserve and the banks to fund the government. The treasury is selling government debt. It depends on the Federal reserve to maintain that market in a stable way. It depends on the dealers to sell the debt. Given, uh, the importance of treasury debt in the United States, it's a very close relationship. But more than that, there's kind of a revolving door where members of the Treasury Department sometimes work at the Fed, and they vice versa. For example, Janet Yellen, who's now the treasurer, was the, uh, first female chair of the Federal Reserve. Timothy Geithner was also head of the New York Federal Reserve. So there's a lot of exchange of personnel there. And the difference is that nobody claims that the treasury should be independent. There's this mantra out there that the Federal Reserve should be independent of the government. Nobody says that about the treasury. The treasury is part of the executive branch. So it does make it, uh, easier to get political control over the treasury operations than it does over the Federal Reserve.

Phil: And this podcaster calls stocks for beginners. Obviously, Wall street is a big part of it. What role do you think Wall street has in this dynamic?

Gerald Epstein: Wall street is, uh, major players in the bankers club. The bankers that I'm talking about consist of the commercial banks, the investment banks, the universal banks, like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America and so forth, but also the hedge funds, the private equity firms, the asset managers, and so forth. So I could have calling this group the roaring bankers, I could have called them Wall street, but it means pretty much the same thing. And Wall street also is a set of institutions that people have an incredible fascination with. I mean, like any celebrity, like any wealthy group of individuals, there's a, uh, a tremendous fascination with them. But, uh, there's also a huge distrust of them, I think, by the typical American. And that's because of the outsized power that Wall street has, and it has often had in our country over many centuries. So they're part of the bankers club for sure, and they're able to influence regulations and laws through the typical means. How do they do that? Well, it's first of all, by giving campaign contributions. As you know, money is a very important part of the United States political system. It's always been that way. But it's gotten much worse after Citizens United Supreme Court case that said, corporations are like people, and people have a right to free speech. So corporations have a right to free speech, which in their case means giving Money to whoever they want, anytime. And this really lubricates this political system, this bankers club, and allows them to pay for congresspeople, senators, judges and others who will do their bidding in terms of regulatory rules and so forth, tax policy as well. So Wall street plays a big role there. But there's another role that's kind of part of the title of my book. When I say bankers Club, yes, I mean this group of individuals that supports the bankers, but I also use it to mean the club that the financial industry holds over the head society. So typically, when the government threatens to regulate financial institutions or says, we're not going to bail you out, when you get into trouble like they did in 2007, 2008, the bankers have a club that they hold over our heads and say, well, if you don't bail us out, we're going to collapse and we're going to bring down the whole economy with us. If you regulate us too much, that's going to raise the cost of


Gerald Epstein: capital, it's going to harm the economy. And if you raise our taxes too much, we're going to move abroad, we're going to move to London, or we're going to move to Hong Kong or someplace else. So this club is what Wall street and the big banks hold over the heads of politicians and over the people. And one of the things that we try to show in our book, using an economic analysis that graduate student Juan Montesino and I developed, this whole nexus of financial institutions are actually a net economic drain on our economy. That is, they take out more than they put in. It wasn't always the case when we had this period of regulated banking, which many called boring banking in the fifties, sixties and seventies, the financial system really contributed a lot to the growth of our economy. This was kind of the, uh, Doctor Jekyll side of the economy. But now, Wall street roaring banking extracts a lot more from our economy than it puts in. First of all, by acting as a magnet to pull in very highly skilled workers, young people, into Wall street, into these activities that often don't really contribute that much to the productivity of our economy, but often engage in speculation on unproductive activities. Now, that's not to say that roaring banking doesn't do anything. That's good. That's crazy. I mean, that's not true. They can play a role in underwriting securities into raising capital for firms and for giving investors a, uh, portfolio of assets that they can diversify their portfolios. So they have a role to play. But when they're not really regulated, when they're too big to fail and keep getting bailed out by the taxpayer, when they're big to manage, they often don't know what their traders are doing, and they get into big trouble and harm clients and so forth, when they're too big to jail. I mean, after the great financial crisis, none of these people were thrown into jail, which is different from what happened earlier in the period. So my argument is that we don't want to eliminate Wall street, we don't want to eliminate these banks, but we want them to be more highly regulated and to serve more of a social function than they are now.

Phil: Yeah, there is definitely that narrative that no one was held to account for their actions during the global financial crisis. And yet for years, many parts of the us economy have been suffering, and ordinary people have been suffering because of it.

Gerald Epstein: That's right.

Phil: Can we just look back about that financial crisis and the failure of the system and the way you describe it in the book?

Gerald Epstein: Right. So the deregulation of the financial system allowed there to be these universal banks that could conduct a, um, whole range of financial activities under one roof. So this was not only taking deposits and commercial banking and lending to businesses, but creating securities and underwriting and so forth. And there were two renovations that were at the heart of the crisis. One was securitization. So that is taking old school products like mortgages and bundling them up into these large securities with many different kinds of mortgages in them, including very risky ones like subprime mortgages, bundling them up. And people weren't really sure what was exactly in these mortgages and then selling these bundles off. But more importantly, these were called asset backed securities. But then they were combined with derivatives of various kinds that provided synthetic securities. And so that generated more complexity in these products. And by the end, as they were combining these different kinds of securities into one large security. Nobody really understood what was in them. Moreover, they were funded with very short term credit from the global financial markets. So these were sort of illiquid securities that were funded by overnight liquidity on the markets. And they were sold off, and people bought them just because it's just for speculation. They didn't really know what was in them, but they bought them because everybody else was buying them. Unfortunately, the big banks kept a lot of them on their books. They were supposed to be selling them off into the world, but they actually kept a lot of them, partly because they couldn't sell some of them. And so when housing prices. There was a housing bubble, it was all wrapped around the housing bubble. When the housing bubble started falling, the value of these mortgages started going down because many households couldn't repay that, couldn't service their loans. And then the value of these securities started going down, and nobody really knew how, uh, far they would fall. Nobody really knew how bad some of these securities were. And so there was a panic, and everybody tried to sell off these securities, and the price collapsed. And then there was a run on the banks by other banks that had lent Money to them. There were runs on the banks by the banks. So what happened was, you know, the Federal Reserve and the treasury decided to step in and bail these banks out, which you could kind of understand, because they didn't with Lehman brothers,


Gerald Epstein: and we saw what happened. So then they were stuck. They felt, okay, we have to bail them out. The problem is, they didn't have any strings attached. They didn't have any requirements that went along with the bailout. They didn't tell the CEO's of these companies or the traders that they had to give back some of the bonuses that they had earned from this bubble that then burst. They didn't tell any of the banks that they'd have to change their policies. They didn't tell any of the bankers who had committed fraud that they'd have to go to jail. There were no strings attached. This was different in Europe, where, in fact, the banks were also bailed out in most cases, but there were many strings attached to them. Policy requirements. It was different from what happened with General Motors at this time. General Motors threatened to go bankrupt. The Obama administration bailed it out, but they required that they get rid of their top management and that the labor unions give backs to the company to help pay for their problems. None of that happened with finance, so you can see why people were very resentful. The mantra was the government bailed out the banks and didn't do anything for Main street. And I think this was part of the impetus for the anti government feelings that have become so widespread among many in the United States. It led to the tea Party, and that morphed into some of these movements that are actually backing right wing candidates, including former President Trump.

Phil: It's depressing, isn't it?

Gerald Epstein: Well, no, because I also talk about the clubbusters.

Phil: No, sorry, I'm just segueing into that. Yeah. Because you are optimistic that despite controlling so much wealth and power that there's a way around the Bankers club.

Gerald Epstein: I am somewhat optimistic. I'll qualify that a bit, but, yes, cautiously optimistic. Cautiously optimistic.

Phil: That's a bit fantastic. Thank you.

Gerald Epstein: Because there are these many groups in the United States and politicians who are fighting against the bankers club, who are trying to reform our financial system to make it work better for the everyday person. We have politicians who are very actively involved. For example, Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, my own senator, Senator Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Jeff Merkley in Oregon, and, uh, people in Congress who are fighting against them. So that's number one. Then there are these institutions like better markets and Americans for financial reform who were fighting around the Dodd Frank rules to try to get really strong. Dodd Frank rules, they didn't succeed because the rules weren't very strong, in fact, but they're still fighting against to get limits on private equity, to get more capital in the banking system. So when the banks start to Teeter and totter, the first hit comes on the bank's capital and not from the taxpayer. They're trying to get more, uh, regulations over derivatives and other instruments like this. So there are these think tanks in Washington that do that. And then there are these activist groups all around the country that are trying to promote public banks, uh, what I call banks without bankers. These are publicly oriented financial institutions that have social missions, like creating affordable housing or more green investments and renewable energy or community economic development, things like that. We have movements in 22 different states or something like that. And it's a tough slog because they're being fought every step of the way by the local bankers club. But California, they've been pretty successful, and in other states, they're moving forward. So the reason I'm cautiously optimistic is because I think that these groups keep drawing in new young activists who want to get involved in trying to democratize the financial system. And what they need are allies in the government. They need more allies in Congress, in the Senate, in the White House, who will help support them. They can't do it by themselves. But at the same time, just as Franklin, uh, Roosevelt said to the head of the labor union in his days, Roosevelt said, if you want me to do something, you have to make me, you have to push me. So we need these groups from the bottom and the middle to push the politicians at the top. So I'm consciously optimistic that they can have some impact. But unfortunately, this year, it really is going to depend a lot on our presidential election.

Phil: So what does a Biden or Trump presidency mean for the Bankers Club over the next four years and, um, the efforts of some of these groups democratise the banking system?

Gerald Epstein: Well, this is not a difficult question to answer, really, because they've both been president. We saw what former President Trump did when he got into office. It's kind of an interesting story. He ran on a populist on an anti banker platform. He was railing against the Hillary Clinton, claiming that she got all this money from the Wall street and that he, Donald Trump, was going to come in and clean up the swamp and get rid of, uh, all these bankers influence over the policy. And he did that because he thought it was a way to


Gerald Epstein: get more votes, because, as I said, bankers are not popular in the United States. As soon as he was elected, however, he named all these Goldman Sachs figures to important places in his administration, and very early on said, well, we're going to do a number on Dodd Frank, which is the law that was passed after the great financial crisis to try to reform the financial system. And that's what he did. He appointed regulators and people in the Federal Reserve who were anti financial regulation, and they, as much as possible, tried to poke holes in the Dodd Frank law. One of the holes they poked into it was to raise the limit, um, on the size of a bank that was going to come under special scrutiny to make sure that it was, ah, safe. It was a $50 billion limit. Everybody above that would have to get these special scrutiny. They raised it to 100 billion. Silicon Valley bank, the one that went bankrupt just about a year ago. Bank that benefited from this and had lobbied hard to get it raised because they were just below the threshold and they were able to grow quite rapidly and made very risky bets and, uh, in the end went bankrupt, as we know. So we've already seen what Trump did, and there's no reason to believe he would do anything different if he were elected. Biden, on the other hand, has actually been a pretty good champion against the Bankers club. He's named some very good regulators and tried to name some who were not passed by the Senate committee because they were too radical. But, for example, Gary Gensler, who has been very strong on trying to limit the dangers coming from crypto assets and cryptocurrencies, we could talk more about that in a minute. But he's named some other regulators who've actually tried to increase capital requirements and other sorts of regulatory requirements to make the financial system safer. They've tried to improve regulations to get more investment into poor communities, something called the Community Reinvestment act. He hasn't been perfect in this area, just as he hasn't been perfect in, uh, any area, but he's moved quite along in step with the bank busters. So I expect that if he were to the club buster, so I expect that if he were elected again, he would continue to move in a more of a club busting kind of way.

Phil: So you mentioned crypto, and obviously the Wall street machine is going to try and get a piece of the action as well. And there seems to be a lot of crypto ETF's being created at the moment, and investors are now flocking into these crypto ETF's. What do you think this means for the overall dynamic of the situation?

Gerald Epstein: It's really fascinating. You know, crypto really is like the zombie asset. After Sam Bankman, fried and FTX and all of the crypto winter stuff, many of us, myself included, thought it was pretty much dead. And clearly it's being revived. Clearly, there's too much money to be made in this sector for it to be kept totally under wrap. And looking back at how the financial deregulation happened in the 1980s and nineties can give us some lessons. I think what happened in the eighties and nineties is for several decades, the big banks were trying to get the financial system deregulated, and they couldn't succeed because they were divided. The financial sector was divided between the investment banks and the commercial banks and the insurance companies. And so they would each fight the other whenever there was an attempt to deregulate the whole system. And it wasn't until they all could get together under one kind of umbrella in the late 1990s that they were able to finally push through this grand deregulation that happened under President Clinton. And it wasn't really until the big investment banks and the big commercial banks had a, uh, detente and said, we're going to move together. We're going to combine into these universal banks. And that's when the insurance companies kind of went along with them. So one lesson that we might draw from that history is that crypto is only going to succeed and be really brought into the core of the financial system once it gets controlled by an integrated big financial firms, you know, the big asset managers, the big investment banks or universal banks, when they get some control over this system, then they'll be able to use the bankers club to lobby to get the regulations they need to make this part of the regular financial system. You know, I do think the Federal Reserve and the treasury and the regulatory agencies will require some safeguards to reduce the chances that these things will totally crash the system on a regular basis. But I think it's almost inevitable that these things are going to be regularized, but they're not going to be, you know, the wild west maverick financial institutions that libertarians and anarchists want it to be. They're just going to be part of


Gerald Epstein: the same old bankers club that all the other banking systems are part of. That's my prediction.

Phil: That's, uh, interesting, because that's really the point of it. And the people that created it, that they want that sort of maverick vibe around it.

Gerald Epstein: Yeah, their view was they hated the banks and they hated the government. So they wanted a system that could be completely independent of both of those things could be operated in a decentralized way, by computers, by algorithms, and nobody could have centralized power. So it's always been kind of a, uh, dream about how capitalist finance should work. That's part of what the gold standard was about, this automatic system that wasn't controlled by anybody. That was the original idea for independent central banks. You would just have these technicians doing it. Politics would get involved, the big guys wouldn't control it. And now crypto, it's always going to be done in a decentralized way, and nobody's going to control it. But it's always been a fiction. It always, in the end, gets controlled by politics and, uh, often by the big guys.

Phil: So part of the title of your book is finance for the rest of us. So, uh, sometimes these economic concepts are a little bit difficult to understand. You've, um, tried to simplify this so that ordinary punters can get a fix on what's going on.

Gerald Epstein: Yeah, that was one of the majority goals I had in writing this book, because the power of the banks and the power of the bankers Club is partly a result of this idea that finance is too complicated for the common person.

Phil: They love jargon. They love their jargon, don't, um, they.

Gerald Epstein: They love their jargon. And the bankers do best when they're operating in the dark when they convince people that we're the experts and we're the only ones who know how to do this. So what I wanted to try to do, among other things, is to write about how the system works in ways that almost anybody can understand. Anybody with a standard education can understand, just so in case they're interested, but also in case they want to get involved and to join the clubbusters in some little or big way that they want and try to fight back against this system and make us serve the rest of us and them much better.

Phil: So how do people find some of these club busters? What's the best way?

Gerald Epstein: Well, for example, they can google Americans for financial reform, better markets, public banking institute. There's a group called Oil Change, which is trying to limit the amount of loans that big banks make to fossil fuel companies. Those are all good starts. They will lead them to many other organizations and groups that they can find out more about.

Phil: So tell listeners where they can find the book. Remind listeners of the name of the book and how they can find out about you and I more about your work.

Gerald Epstein: So the book is called busting the Bankers Club Finance for the rest of us. It's published by University of California Press. They can go to the University of California press site busting ah, the Bankers Club. And there, there's a whole list of places where they can buy the book, including from UC Press directly or from small independent bookstore site where they can buy the book. It's in many bookstores. And if you want to find out more about my research and research of people I work with, they should go to the website of the Political Economy Research Institute. That's www. Dot perry peri dot umass

Phil: Jerry Epstein, thank you very much for joining me. It's fascinating economics.

Gerald Epstein: Thank you so much for having me. It was a great conversation.

Chloe: Thanks for listening to shares for beginners, you can find Dot if you enjoy listening, please take a moment to rate or review in your podcast player or tell a friend who might want to learn more about investing for their future.


TONY KYNASTON is a multi-millionaire professional investor thanks to the QAV checklist he developed . Tony's knowledge and calm analysis takes the guesswork out of share market investing.

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