Having just read an excellent book by the BBC financial correspondent Robert Peston called "How Do We Fix This Mess?: The Economic Price of Having it All, and the Route to Lasting Prosperity" I am appalled by the action of banks and bankers over the last 10-20 years. Rotten to the core does not describe them accurately enough.
Reading this book it is clear that, from the very top, many in the banking business were corrupt, greedy, arrogant and deceitful people who greatly contributed to the crisis that has left many nations, including the UK, greatly in debt and living beyond their means. Not all the blame is on the banks: there was a total absence of control from governments of all flavours too and, as individuals, we were guilty of believing that something for nothing was possible. But, overall, we were being run rings around by greedy individuals who should be strung up and made to repay every penny of their ill-gotten bonuses.
Fixing the problem will be a long slog with a need for a cultural shift: we have again to live within our means at all levels. We need to earn our way in the world and not live on cheap finance (debt) provided by nations like China. The sooner the UK becomes a manufacturing nation again the better.
Globalisation cannot be stopped, but we need to make some major readjustments.
A final lesson from the book: the crisis is far from over and NEVER trust banks or governments with your money. Burying some of what you have saved in a box at the bottom of the garden may not be such a bad thing.