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by Peter Franklin
Tuesday, 13
October 2020

Will $30 billion fix racial inequality?

Bankers will have to spend a lot more to make up for 2008
by Peter Franklin
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon (c) takes a knee while visiting a Chase branch

Jamie Dimon is the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in America. Back in June, at the height of the BLM protests, he was photographed ‘taking a knee’ in one of his branches.

Just the sort of virtue signalling we’ve come to expect from our woke corporations? A lot of people thought so at the time, including me.

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However, JPMorgan Chase has now unveiled a “$30 billion commitment over the next five years to address some of the largest drivers of the racial wealth divide.”

Even for a major bank, that’s a colossal sum. As my colleague Ed West points out, it’s roughly a quarter of what the Marshall Plan cost (in today’s money). Certainly, it makes other corporate pledges this year look puny by comparison.

Just to be clear though, JPMorgan Chase isn’t giving all this money away. In fact, most of it is being made in the form of loans and equity investments. The aim is to boost the access that “Black and Latinx” communities have to mortgages, affordable rented property, business loans and philanthropic capital.

Obviously, to have any meaning, this money needs to be over-and-above what would have been invested in the normal course of events. So let’s wait for an independent audit before getting too carried away. Or, as a spoof vox pop from The Onion sarcastically puts it, “this pledge is so generous that I see no need to ever check back if it actually happens.”

Nevertheless, there’s something to be said for corporates who use their core strengths to make a difference, as opposed to superficial gestures. For instance, in this country, supermarkets could commit to addressing health inequalities by radically reducing the amount of junk food they sell to the public. How about it, Sainsbury’s?

Financial inclusion is an obvious objective for banks to put their weight behind — especially in America’s notoriously segregated housing sector.

That said, it’s vital that they don’t recreate the conditions that led to the subprime mortgage bubble that did so much harm to the poorest communities. In fact, the entire finance industry needs to rethink everything it has done to inflate house prices around the world. By pumping cheap credit into property as an investment product, they’ve put homeownership beyond the reach of the young and the marginalised. Furthermore, in the process of inflating asset prices, they’ve made already wealthy groups — including themselves — yet wealthier.

$30 billion, even if wisely allocated, doesn’t begin to make up for what the bankers have done to increase inequality, tank economic growth and discredit capitalism.

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polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
2 years ago

“Will $30 billion fix racial inequality?”
I can’t imagine that being considered enough. You can get more just by looting,

Su Mac
Su Mac
2 years ago

What a pompous finger wag at Sainsburys of all places – what is the first department you have to go through when you get in that – and most other UK supermarkets – fruit and veg! Hold on though.. the fresh flowers are even before that in my local Sainsburys – how DARE they entice people to waste ther hard won wages on such things!! We all have to make our own choices and we are lucky enough in the 21st century West to live better than humans have EVER lived before. Such abundance doesn’t suit everyone…

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
2 years ago
Reply to  Su Mac

The fruit and veg at my Sainsburys is where you must pass to get to the far corner where the bakery is (and some really good pastries, and the icecream.) But I must say, that picture of them taking the knee is extremely revolting!

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
2 years ago

Dwarf Lords in their halls of stone. You masked, kneeling, derivative-investing, bailed-out bank people at JP Morgan look silly. (excepting that one unmasked warrior with the red tie)

Concur that 30Bs is nothing. More than a trillion dollars spent, and still counting. “Black” people (those who are blessed with rich melanin) represent 12.4% of the US population but garner 40% of welfare; it is not a myth that they are over-represented in the welfare spending. The US spends $131.9 billion on welfare annually. At 2016 rates (US H&HS), that is $1.837 T of payment in the past 35 years alone.

But what about Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, and Robert Smith, mulit-billionaires. Are they victims of their skin tone, or did it make them stronger?

And why do Indians, Koreans, and Nigerians (3 different minorities) all do exceedingly well in America? Two words: Education and Work.

Woke is a joke. This has nothing to do with race. We are all one human race, and we are all blessed with various amounts of melanin (which is brown). Stop welfare spending on those who can (and should) work. America is a land of opportunity… for those who are willing to Educate themselves and, more importantly… WORK!