United legend Eric Cantona has today been named Honorary Chief Economist of Between the Lines. Not perhaps because of his brilliant insight into Economics, but simply because he is, as far as we know, the first United player to have forced the Eurogroup of finance ministers as well as the European Union economic affairs commissioner to issue statements about his comments about the banking system.
Protest groups around the world are trying to coordinate a world-wide cash-point withdrawal today, December 7, the number of Cantona’s United shirt, following an interview where Cantona told the French paper Presse Ocean:
“What’s the system? The system revolves around banks. The system is built on the banks’ power. So it can be destroyed by the banks. Instead of having three million people going out to demonstrate with a placard, those three million people go to their bank branch, they withdraw their money and the banks crumble. You go to your bank in your village and you withdraw your money.”
This statement has stirred some of Europe’s top economic decision makers into action.
“I find the operation you are referring to totally irresponsible,” said Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker.
European Union economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn said he considered himself a Man United fan, but added: “I think Mr Cantona is a better footballer than he is an economist.”
I’m afraid Mr Rehn might have a point. Personally I don’t see too many benefits from a total collapse of the banking system.