Rocard: France can set an example with Roosevelt’s Glass Steagall Act

Former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard was
interviewed May 10 on Radio Classique/Public Sénat, about his new
book, {Points sur les i} ({Dotting the I’s}), which traces the
development of the crisis of finance capitalism in the world. The
preface was written by François Hollande, now France’s
In the beginning of the interview, he warned of the dangers
of a clash between Socialist President-elect François Hollande et
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, if France decides to “look
for a fight,” instead of taking a progressive approach toward
changing the budgetary pact to provide for economic growth.
Berlin will come around to that position, he suggests, because
Germany has now also entered a period of what he characterizes as
stagnation, given the economic collapse throughout the EU
The interviewer asks him whether the growth that Hollande
wants to ensure were not threatened by the colossal sums in tax
havens and elsewhere, which are basically doing battle against
the states.
The threat is worldwide, Rocard replies, not only in France.
“The advantage of having the left in power and François
Hollande’s election in France, is that France will probably have
the courage to take a few of the measures that need to be taken
worldwide, but will only begin to be taken if some countries set
an example.
“I’m referring to the absolute separation of deposit banks
— when you manage the deposits of others and of the economy, no
risk should be taken. That should be prohibited. And it was
prohibited for 70 years, thanks to Franklin Roosevelt in 1933,
but then it was repealed. It was called the Glass-Steagall Act, a
name you hear from time to time. Around 1995-98, it was given up,
both in the United States and Europe, and since then, we’ve have
had major financial crises every five years.
“A new one is threatening us now. This is not only in
Europe, but worldwide, and it is extremely dangerous. It
threatens the entire world.
“Nevertheless, we can take certain protective measures
locally, and I hope very much that Francois Hollande will be able
to impose them in France, and furthermore, that they will be at
the very heart of the European negotiations.
“In Europe, we have to negotiate our way out of the euro
crisis, as well as more incentives for investment and for
scientific research, which represent the growth of tomorrow,
which we don’t want to drown in order to pay the debt. Because
that’s what is at stake in the discussions.
“But the problem is also to see whether we are going to
protect ourselves from the world crisis, which continues to
threaten us. And which was the forgotten element of the electoral

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