A mixed picture. The crisis in the Euro area remains a constant reminder of the long-term misery created by the excesses and greed of the banks and money markets. Greek citizens continue to pay the price of the deals done with Goldman Sachs and others, to massage the accounts of their former governments.
In the UK, levels of public resentment also continue to rise. Government is becoming sufficiently nervous to make some token gestures, such as ‘welcoming’ in public the decisions of individual bankers to forgo their bonuses (while reassuring the City in private that regulatory action will be restricted to the modest steps taken on the Vickers recommendations).
The Occupy St Pauls campaign succeeded in raising awareness. The Move your Money campaign could catch on. Persuading the public to transfer their accounts to more ethical banks has long been one of the simplest forms of direct action available to UK customers.
The Move your Money campaign has been launched with well targeted publicity, to coincide with bonus decisions at Barclays. It is also promoting the Banking Report from Ethical Consumer, which gives ethical scores for individual banks.
Investment banks and hedge funds are not making the money they were, but still no sign of real behavioural change from either.
So some glimmers of light at the start of 2012. But no signs yet that the UK feels able to wean itself away from its Faustian pact with global finance.