August 2006
Banks - The Kings of Capital

Asking people about how they make their money is simply not the done thing. Unsurprisingly, bankers nurture this custom. No questions asked means no dirt exposed. That's why those squeaky-clean Swiss bankers - portrayed as the epitome of banking etiquette because of their 'discretion' - have been able to hide the proceeds of theft by Nazi criminals or corrupt officials in Africa for decades. Under this shroud, bankers everywhere have quietly furthered their monopoly in the business of money making, setting up tax-avoidance schemes and shifting capital in quantities beyond the imagination of ordinary people. Few discover how. It's all too complex.

Or is it? This month, the NI explains in straightforward language how banks make money. While bankers speed billionaires' bullion around the world like a ricocheting bullet, this magazine focuses on the social functions that are essential to people in both Rich and Poor Worlds - like working credit and money transfers - that banks are neglecting.







2 The kingdom of capital
Chris Richards steps into the secret world of high finance.

6 The banks are made of marble
The true owners of the silver in the vaults.

7 Banks against the wall
Anil Netto finds out how Malaysian Government money ends up in the pockets
of the wealthy.

9 Transfer the problem
Banks ditch the poor, reports Yvonne Chua from the Philippines.

10 Confessions of a banker
Together with a whistleblower, Lucy Komisar exposes the offshore operations of the world's biggest bank.


16 Give them credit
As the credit card consumes Chile, Lezak Shallat takes stock.

18 The bang in the buck
Dheepthi Namasivayam goes in search of banks that refuse to lend to arms traders.

20 On the people' s account
New Internationalist campaigners explore alternative banking and resources.

22 Currents
The international round-up continues on Page 24 with China' s clampdown on press coverage of mounting protest.
PLUS: Seriously...

25 Worldbeaters
From partnering the military dictatorship in Burma to presiding over cyanide spills in Guyana and Colorado, mining magnate Robert Friedland goes where others fear (or are too ethical) to tread.

26 Mixed Media

28 Southern Exposure
Medallions filled with spiritual spells that might heal the mentally ill, captured by Bangladeshi photographer Md Main Uddin.

29 View from Lagos
Those who built up Uganda's Yoweri Museveni and Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi as model African leaders are now recanting. But don't despair, says Ike Oguine - take heart from the civil-society pressure that has exposed their excesses.

30 Essay: The privatization of Patagonia
Rich foreign investors, including Luciano Benetton and Ted Turner are buying up huge areas of Argentina's southern wilderness - to the dismay of the local indigenous peoples. Tomás Bril Mascarenhas exposes the new conquistadores.

32 Big Bad World
Spot the greedy bastard in Polyp's latest cartoon.
PLUS: NI Prize Crossword

33 Making Waves
Meet Lalo Moreyra, one of the environmentalists fighting tooth and nail against a huge
pulp-mill project in Uruguay.

34 Letters

36 Country Profile - Belize





NI Japan




<This month's translation>

-The kingdom of capital (NI p2-5)

-Transfer the problem (NI p9)

-The banks are made of marble (NI p6)


-On the people' s account(NI p20-21)

-Country Profile - Belize (NI p36)

-Currents (NI p22-23)


Back Number List