OPINION

Swiss Bank Accounts

November 12, 2008
Blokesablogin

This small article in the Washington Post  brings yet another angle to the economic crisis that the US is facing. Hopefully, part of the money salvaged from these accounts can reduce the bailout money put up by taxpayers.

According to Transparency International, an anti-corruption agency, the estimated value of Indian individuals' worth of "funds" stashed away in Swiss Banks are to the tune of over $ Trillion. It is not surprising that the poor and rich divide has increased in the past few decades.

Reading these articles makes me wonder what anyone can DO with these "ill gotten" wealth? We all have an expiration date invisibly stamped on us. So, we cannot carry any material wealth along with us. The Reliance story is one of many that shows how money, left behind, creates schisms amongst the most cordial of relations.

Why, then, the insecurity of wanting to stash funds away for whatever purpose? Like the story of Tolstoy reminds us, at the end of the day, all we need is 6 feet of land (not even that if you are cremated!).

I sincerely hope that people who have these mysterious accounts put that money in circulation. If auction houses like Christie's existence are to be validated, many of these account holders use grand sums to buy art and such that have very little value in the "real" world and are "dead" investments. A vacation, on the other hand, would help support the tourism business including travel, stay, food and other activities.

Sometimes, when I see the pro-rich agendas of law and policies, I wonder if it is not a bad idea to ensure the demise of the poor by starving them or working them to death and the few remaining rich can have the earth to themselves- It sounds like a good plan. A perfect epilogue to the small-scale genocides we are reading about world-wide. And someone like me will not be there to write such a blog either!

Blokes aka Meenakshi enjoys writing along with being a mom, a school teacher, a musician and an Art of Living teacher (of meditation and breathing)
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#1
smallsquirrel
November 12, 2008
01:56 PM

um, Blokes, you really have misunderstood why people use Swiss Bank accounts. I mean, yes, some people abuse them and usually they get found out (like in this article). But many people use the Swiss Banking system because it affords a level of stability that is not found in many other systems in most other countries. I mean, look at what is happening here in the US.

You make it sound like every person who uses one is defrauding the world and is using it for the purpose of hiding or laundering bad money. Which is really a ridiculous assumption. And it is not only very rich people who use them.

I think your marxist views are showing here, and it seems you need to do a little research before you pop one of these little articles off. What you have said here is more divorced from reality than David Gest is from Liza Minelli. I mean, your assertion that people should not invest money in "dead" investments like art or savings accounts and should instead spend it all... um, that is not an INVESTMENT at all!

"Why the insecurity of wanting to stash away funds?" you ask. Errrrrr.. I have a child to put through college, lady. I would like to have a nice retrirement. I would like to not be homeless if I lose my job.

Seriously, what planet do you live on?!?!?!?

#2
Morris
November 12, 2008
02:48 PM

But one trillion $s, that is a lot of money. Are'nt we curious? Who are these people? Where did they get the money from? What is a single largest deposit? I guess such information is not available to the public. Then what is the source used by the Transparency International? And how reliable is this info by them?

#3
Ayan Roy
November 12, 2008
04:13 PM

@Blokesablogin: "Sometimes, when I see the pro-rich agendas of law and policies, I wonder if it is not a bad idea to ensure the demise of the poor by starving them or working them to death and the few remaining rich can have the earth to themselves- It sounds like a good plan. A perfect epilogue to the small-scale genocides we are reading about world-wide. And someone like me will not be there to write such a blog either!"

Interesting! this sparked off my memory -
There was a very high quality, slick, 'ahead of its time' intelligent cartoon show called "Phantom 2040" which was aired about a decade back on Doordarshan - and which sadly did not get the publicity it deserved. I loved this show and was amazed by the level of philosophy and science discussed and portrayed. Many adults too would not be able to appreciate the cartoon, let alone kids.
In this show, which primarily focused on the severe environmental degradation of Earth, the main villians were greedy techno-industrialists who were poisoning and killing off the 'poor' so that they could live in their artificially controlled mini-biospheres with their Robot soldiers and servants. And the 24th Phantom was trying to fight all this with his motely group of friends which included a self aware cyber-hologram.

There is an excellent short story called "The Winnowing" by Isaac Asimov which talks about the plan for a slow, undetected controlled genocide of third-world country populations with genetically mutated foodgrains to stabilize the population of an overburdened, starving Earth so that the 'developed' elite survive and prosper.

A scary thought - who knows what sinister plans for the future are being cooked up in some top secret government, military and corporate board rooms and labs world wide?

#4
blokesablogin
November 12, 2008
04:46 PM

Oh dear! SS- u do this "jumping" in the wrong end so beautifully! I said "adds yet another ANGLE" and did not "deride" Swiss Banks as a "bane" to ordinary people. If you read the history of the Swiss Banks, they were banking institutions helping "store" money in an extremely turbulent Europe during the Nazi invasion. The sad part is its use (with the same level of anonymity) even after the end of the world war when affluent people continued to "hide" their wealth in the name of "stability"!
I may sound Marxist but actually I am making a "Hindu spiritual" case where the divine will take care of you! If that makes me a Marxist Hindu, so be it!LOL!

#5
blokesablogin
November 12, 2008
04:54 PM

Morris- these are conservative estimates- it is more around $1.4 trillion These numbers are divulged by the Swiss Banking Association and just mention the nationality of their clients and the total amount per country- so this is not "made up" by Transparency International.

SS: I never said in my article NOT to SAVE- I said not to "lock" up money- in India they buy gold and never sell it- that is as dead as buying moldy "art" for millions! Leave the art for museums to "own" as public property for all to enjoy and they need not be worth "millions". (that is an entirely different article- the economics of Art)

#6
blokesablogin
November 12, 2008
04:55 PM

Ayan: YEah- I do wonder- sounds like science fiction

#7
shanky
November 12, 2008
10:23 PM

well ur article got desicritics to put an ad for global banking account - an euphamism for no Q's asked banking!! lol!!

#8
Morris
November 12, 2008
10:41 PM

Ayan Roy

It is the survival of the fittest. If you are lost on the high sea with a limited amount of food and try all kind of methods eventually the ones who can deceive the others can survive a little longer. Well we have not quite reached that point yet. But I am sure we are heading that way. Of course wars are more likely than the kind of genocide you described. I think socety at large has responsibily to control population and I give China A+ for that and India F-.

#9
kerty
November 12, 2008
11:19 PM

BB

"The sad part is its use (with the same level of anonymity) even after the end of the world war when affluent people continued to "hide" their wealth in the name of "stability"!

Many countries face economic and political uncertainties, political oppressions, economic persecutions. You can't blame people for seeking stability and security for their assets.

A close friend of mine keeps most of his money in swiss bank, even though he lives in the most stable country - USA, and has nothing to hide as he pays all his taxes to the last penny. He has a paraplegic son whose financial security he seeks to safeguard thru keeping his money in a swiss bank. He does not trust his money in stock or bond or gold.

Similarly, many political organizations also seek safe heavens to keep their assets beyond the reach of political rivals and overreaching laws and accountability to people. India's Nehru family is no exception in this regard.

Swiss bank does act as a hub for money laundering and safe heaven for politicians, crooks, mafia, terrorists and super-rich. But nobody knows the extent and scope of abuse by them. As long as swiss bank has a legit reason d'etre, there is very little that can be done about it by rest of the world.

#10
Amitabh Mitra
URL
November 13, 2008
12:21 AM

Reminds me of Sir Jeffrey Archer's short story of African countries and their economies in his book, A Twist in the Tale.

#11
saraswati
November 20, 2008
02:30 PM

swiss banks always remind me of sealed chambers, keys, codes...you get the picture!! I guess all that snow in Switzerland must keep the money safer - more deeply buried!! Ha ha...jokes apart, I am sure Kerty and others have a valid point that there are people who put money in Swiss banks for safety. But I don't think BB is talking about those.

I look forward to the blog on the economics of art!

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