This great book with its ugly title tells an ugly tale beautifully. Vast, deep, sweeping and indispensable. – James K. Galbraith, author of “Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe.”

The central theme of this highly informative, lucid, and very careful study is the current financial crisis, which elites present “as the motive justifying the biggest offensive since the Second World War against the economic and social rights of the people of Europe,” and of the US as well….. Valuable and impressive. – Noam Chomsky.

Banks are at the heart of contemporary capitalism – they are key to financial markets, generate the bulk of financial profits, and have enormous influence on policy making. Eric Toussaint offers us a wide-ranging, informative and sharp outline of their role. And as one would expect from the author, the analysis is politically committed, while also suggesting concrete measures to deal with the power of banks. – Costas Lapavitsas, former MP for Syriza and Professor at SOAS, University of London.

Eric Toussaint provides a comprehensive analysis of the deregulation of the banking system and finance before and after the Great Recession, and of the effects of the “Bankocracy” on the lives of people. He skilfully presents the complex mechanisms and instruments the financial sector has developed. He does so in a language which is accessible to anyone interested in understanding the current crisis and the role of the financial industry. – Özlem Onaran, Professor at the University of Greenwich.

SKU: 978-0-902869-37-0 Categories: , ,


Published October 2015 by Resistance Books, the IIRE and the CADTM

Paperback, 334 pages.

ISBN: 978-0-902869-37-0

About the author

Eric Toussaint is a historian and political scientist. He was a member of The Truth Committee on Public Debt established in April 2015 by Zoe Konstantopoulou, President of the Hellenic Parliament, Several of his books have been published in more than a dozen languages and have become reference works on questions of debt and international financial institutions: Debt, the IMF and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers (2010); The World Bank: A Critical Primer (2008), Your Money or Your Life (2005).


  1. 2007-2008 – the explosion of private debt
  2. The impact of banking deregulation
  3. Thirty years of financial deregulation
  4. Banking methods at the root of the crisis
  5. The quest for maximum Return on Equity
  6. Banks expand their assets
  7. The banking collapse of 2008
  8. Permission to reduce equity/asset ratios
  9. Basel II: neoliberal euphoria and maximum permissiveness
  10. Banking regulations: truth and lies
  11. The nature of the major European banks
  12. The art of deception
  13. High leverage is maintained
  14. Structured products – time-bombs ticking
  15. New crises ahead
  16. Sovereign debt is not to blame
  17. Speculation on raw materials and food
  18. Currency speculation and exchange-rate manipulation
  19. Giants with feet of clay
  20. The ‘Too Big to Jail’ doctrine
  21. Abusive foreclosures in the United States
  22. HSBC’s drug money scandal
  23. Tampering with interest-rates
  24. Tax evasion and fraud by UBS
  25. Impunity
  26. Governments’ and central banks’ collusion
  27. The Fed bails out Wall Street
  28. The ECB since 2010
  29. The European Central Bank’s priorities
  30. Policies that fail
  31. The German model
  32. Capital’s global offensive against Labour
  33. Discord between IMF and EU?
  34. The central banks’ dilemma
  35. Banks from Karl Marx’s day to the present
  36. Alternatives