The question of the next crisis
The question of what's going to happen in the next crisis seems to be going up on the zeitgeit charts; Graeber had one such piece; so (naturallly) does the Archdruid; here's another one from Project Syndicate; and here's an interesting one from Golem XIV, a UK finance blogger. The high points:
If you line up the S&L, the Junk Bond and the Dot Com bubble, America has had a major home-brewed financial crisis every ten years. If you consider that none of these events happened in isolation nor limited their effects to the country of origin then we have to conclude that the global financial system is prone to crises. You can, if you see the world through resolutely libertarian glasses, blame everything on interfering governments – it matters little. The fact remains that the system as is, is unstable and run by the myopic, the greedy and the corrupt. Where they draw their salary, which side of the revolving door they happen to be on, on any day seems to me irrelevant. The worst of them don’t understand and are easily bought. The best have no concern for anyone or anything beyond their next bonus.
And here we are being led by them.
Of course saying another crisis is coming is like saying we are due a large earthquake in Southern California. True, but it doesn’t mean one is going to happen tomorrow. What I think it does mean is that we should be thinking what our leaders, what the people they work for – the global overclass – might already have in mind or have already put in place, for what they want done next time. I think it would be foolish to imagine they have not thought about it and are not putting in place the things which will close off some futures and force us into others that they prefer. They have so very much to lose and so very much more they want to gain.
Ding ding ding ding ding!
The sudden explosion of European sovereign debt is the direct and indisputable result of all our political parties deciding they would safeguard their mates’ and their own personal wealth (it is the top 10% who hold the bulk of their wealth in the financial products which would be destroyed in a bank collapse. NOT the rest of us!) by bailing out the private banks and piling their unpaid debts on to the public purse.
So whatever the trigger of the next crisis may be, they know any solution which saves the wealth and power of the over-class will have to involve piling new, private-bank bad-debts on to already indebted sovereigns and that, our leaders must be keenly aware, will not be easy to force on an already angry public. They know a whole range of the assurances they might like to give us about what must be done when the next crisis hits and how those things will undoubtably save us, will not be so easy to shove down people’s throats.
“So what,” I can hear the 1% saying, “can we do?”
Here are some thoughts on what I think they can do, will do, are already begining to do and WHY they are doing them.
The over-arching thought that I have, which shapes everything from here on, is that this crisis is no longer primarily financial; it is now political. Any solution, no matter for whose benefit, is beyond the scope of financial ‘reform’ but will depend on radical political change. In my opinion, the era of reformist politics is over. The questions are: radical change in which political direction? in whose hands? and for whose benefit?
At the moment, I believe the radical thinking is almost all being done on the 1%’s side. They may talk about fixing, but what I think they mean is changing. When Obama spoke of change, he meant it. Just not primarily for you. The 1% are not stupid. They see the need for change and intend to control it.
I think one of the cleverset things the 1% have done over the last few years is the way they have created a relentlless public discourse, via their paid political front-men and women and their media empires, to insist on the need to ‘fix’ and protect the system, and the extreme danger to us all should the system not be ‘saved’. This has served as a perfect cover for making sure that not enough people have noticed that the system is, in fact, being gutted and replaced by something that better serves the interests of the 1%. We have not been fixing the banks, we have been feeding them.
Very, very active. Read it all!