Here is another Macquarie Bank story, a small one but perhaps
symptomatic of their approach. It involves the imposition of a fee on
practically everyone who uses the State Library of Victoria – a toll on
learning, if you like.

In the good old days, people wanting to use the library checked their
bags in at the library’s free cloakroom. A couple of cloakroom
attendants were provided with a job, and the people of Victoria were
not charged for using their State Library.

All this changed last year with the introduction of fairly high-tech
(but difficult to use) coin lockers – if you’re carrying a bag, each
visit to the library now costs a dollar, and even more if you stay
there for the entire day. The company behind this scheme is SmartCarte,
an American group that supplies luggage carts to airports, another nice
monopoly business where baggage-laden members of the public are gouged.

Sounds like a good deal to you? It did to Macquarie Bank, who snaffled
up SmartCarte earlier this year. So, now every time Crikey readers head
to the State Library of Victoria to trawl through their Marx (or Adam
Smith), they’re unwittingly adding to the pockets of Macquarie. Just wait
for the cost of bringing a bag to the State Library to double or triple.