Bill Oddie (the naturalist and funny one in the Goodies) has produced a spoof documentary, Bankwatch, in association with Global Witness, on HSBC’s support for major logging and oil palm companies in Sarawak Malaysia, and in those other countries in which these companies operate, from which the bank has trousered nearly £100m offering “financial services”:
[Global Witnesses] investigations uncovered multiple instances of HSBC’s clients acting unethically and illegally. This included clearing proposed national parks, destroying world-renowned peat forests, abusing local indigenous communities, and clearing habitat of the critically endangered orangutan.
The only surprise is that this is still a surprise. The value of HSBC is zero without forests, water catchments and other natural resources- the earth’s endowment. The crash of 2007 was in part a flash of realisation that the ethic of the market economy, and any pretense of sustainable, equitable and efficient growth, is bankrupt.