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Over the past couple of weeks, Britain, many other European countries and the US have announced plans to nationalise large chunks of the financial sector, thereby taking a good proportion of the commanding heights of the economy into public ownership. The British government has been forced to effectively part-nationalise three of the country’s biggest banks, RBS, Lloyds TSB and HBOS. The plan, which includes putting treasury-appointees on the boards of all three banks, will cost the taxpayer in the region of £37 billion. Many of the major European powers are unveiling similar plans, and even the US, the ideological bastion of free-market capitalism, has been forced to invest $250 billion into buying stakes in nine of its banks (though these ‘non-voting preference shares’ mean the US government will have no direct control over the running of these banks).