What Occupy Wall Street Should Ask For
Banks are unnecessary for the economy. Their two greatest uses for the public are secure storage and transmission of wealth held as cash, and agglomeration of wealth to support large projects. Money transfer services can do the first, and the stock corporation is a vehicle to accomplish the second.
What they are really good for is to let the government have a peek at the transactions of individuals, and to provide a mechanism to take away from the public the power to decide how to invest their money. The investment bank is the ultimate mechanism to steal return from investment and funnel it to the owners of the bank instead of the person providing the money.
What OWS should ask for is that banks not be allowed to invest money in checking accounts (which serve the holding and transmission function) and only be allowed to invest money in savings accounts (which are intended to earn interest). Also they should demand that cash transactions not be ostracized by the government and larger denomination bills be available - upto $10000, so people can conveniently avoid the bank monopoly by conducting all their transactions in cash if they so choose. Personal transactions include payment of rent, buying a car, or a house.