Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Beyong The Age Of usury

Published by: opednews, american chronicle and brussels journal, associate content
Featured in:,,

(ps: the mix-up sentences caused by formatting errors are now corrected, my sincere apologies)

It is generally agreed that casinos should, in the public interest, be inaccessible and expensive. And perhaps the same is true of Stock Exchanges." — John Maynard Keynes

What is particularly fascinating with John Maynard Keynes is that he wrote a theory that only works on paper since it assumes that monetary, political and financial managers will never abuse the power of indebtedness. So, what to think of this worldwide credit squeeze and its implemented cure that is no more less the cause of the disease and could spiral at any moment into a 'Greater Depression'. This week Gregory Mankiw, a professor of economics at Harvard, wrote a piece in the NYTimes asking openly what Keynes would have done to deal with the crisis. Just another nice but failed attempt to praise the Keynesian fairy tales. Mankiw cites the observation which links the root cause of economic downturns to insufficient aggregate demand. What demand when the consumers are completly tapped out in the first place? How can world governments create demand when they are literally bankrupt?

World stability hangs by a thread and this illusion is now being tested, Pritchard concedes. To see what will happen next, we need to look at what is happening to the most peaceful country: Iceland. The political bubble is indeed bursting: in early December, Icelanders stormed their central bank after the realization that their country (viewed as 'The Happiest Place On Earth' - and with 0% unemployment rate) had been brought down by a wave of concealed toxic debts and CDOs coming back home to roost. They demanded the ouster of bankers responsible for the meltdown. The ouster is a very soft alternative to a life sentence in jail, which would be a lot more appropriate. Policy makers and bankers are generally untouchable. Resigning and banishment are often the worst punishments that could happen to them. How fair and impartial is this? How long will it take world citizens to realize that we're free range chickens and act against financial serfdom?

As you read this, the American bailout is reaching epic and fatal proportions of more than 8 trillion and the worst is not over yet. Actually, the current trends are already much worse than depression, though because of some banking toxic tricks and frauds, risks are being constantly shifted down the social ladder deteriorating the consumers purchasing power for ever. There's nothing that can rescue the system as the crisis was built into the system itself. Although this has not be aired on any major TV broadcast, when the world Leaders got together to discuss our fate last October, they admitted to being incapable of doing anything. That we are all scr*w*d. The Australian ministerial statement by Kevin Rudd sums it up pretty well while acknowledging that the global wealth destruction amounts to $27 trillion - and that is far from over. Among many other terrifying recent events, discount window borrowing (from the Fed. Reserve) in the week ended Oct 15 averaged a record $437.5 billion per day, surpassing the $420.2 billion rate in the prior week... please note that it is not included in the cumulative 8 trillion package!

In a debt-based economy, competition translates into a 'great crash enhancer'. Take this housing bubble, its engineers, which couldn't anything to stop the infectious exuberance, figuring that market saturation would eventually have the last word . This didn't prevent them from firmly believing that prices had some room to run up... and everybody competed to get the very last piece of the pie. What is truly outraging is that we boarded onto the Titanic because Credit Rating Agencies sold us a fictive 'star system', which has led us to a triple A junk status. Please watch this video. At 9:27 minutes, you will hear:

CDOs complex securities concocted by math geniuses and PhDs... the only problem is that they didn't have any data to rely on... and why did they get a "go" anyway?... because there was the stake$ were too huge... the more triple A debt rating products on the market the more business "they" get (paraphrasing)

Perhaps you remember my editorial - Global Junkification - mentioning that the global leverage is about $400TN or so, and that the world G.D.P less than $70TN. This big picture helps uncover the hidden goal of fractional banking and its ensuing elementary conclusion: that Fiat money, which is backed by confidence only, is designed to eliminate competition, one step at the time. Now the new scheme is the 'global currency', which is going to consolidate the field of banking even further during/after the 'Great Deleveraging'. By the way, 'deleverage' is again one of those convoluted terms invented to mask reality. Deleverage means (partial or complete) destruction of the debt-vortex unfolding with a 'domino effect'.

Intended Massive Failure

These days, capitalism bashing runs high on the agenda of many pundits, and for which they blame in the name of evil deregulation. They deliberately neglected to consider - and report - that lobbies have militated restlessly to bypass them one way or another. This real estate bubble, now bringing the financial system on its knees, was made possible with the intended failure of regulation. It was regulated to be this way.

Yes, this was an original intent and it becomes crystal clear when pondering this Visual Guide to the Financial Crisis. The elites have the habit to design laws for themselves; that is why the people get fooled every time they put faith into a ruling body. Every civilization's collapse precisely occurs because of that; yet people would rather think that what *goes up must go down* theory is beyond their control. The delusion consists in persisting that hope is key for a real change. Indeed, did we really have to wait thousands of years to find ourselves confronted to with the current events - and finally admit why hope did absolutely nothing; that We The People neglected throughout the millennia to teach a generation to the next why 'debts and consumerism' aren't bedfellows. Obviously politicians never made it a specific educational platform for high school students - instead they institutionalize blind speculation and spending when times are good and then implement the bailout of their bankrupt thinking. It thus becomes greatly ironic to listen to Sir Evelyn de Rothschild calling for action since the latter doesn't provide any solutions but altruistic half-truths and rants. For how long will this cynicism continue?

The credo of is 'ignorance always comes with a price tag'. It is because the Wall Streeters viewed themselves smarter that we are in this giga-mess. They banked on gullibility and it worked out as usual. Exactly, as usual. Charles Mackay described in his 1841 book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, that what is happening today is nothing new. Rogoff’s Harvard has identified 148 crises since 1870 in which a country experienced a cumulative decline in gross domestic product (G.D.P.) of at least 10 percent, Niall Ferguso contends.

So there have been 148 crises over a 140 year period and people don't still get it? How couldn't this be an incentive to warn populations when bubbles are forming? Should we really believe Greenspan when he says the Fed can only identifies a bubble when it has popped and intervene to clean up the mess? The crowds are just too mesmerized by the 'Golden Boys' way of life to see the trap they keep falling into every now and then - confusing debts with assets and otherwise. Now that it all becomes clearer, who will give charity WHEN 60% of the population becomes poor overnight and another 30% can barely survive? Meanwhile Businessweek praises the 50 Top American Givers without even asking where did charity lead us since the U.S Gov't found out that child hunger rose 50% In 2007 and that we are now staring into the abyss?

World of the Big Rich Collapses... What Nuclear Option?

"The most hated sort of wealth getting and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of all modes of getting wealth, this is the most unnatural." -- Aristotle (1258b Politics)

From one extreme to the other: in the sweatshop parallel universe, Chinese authorities ready themselves for mass social unrest. In a blunt statement, the chairman of China's largest sovereign wealth said that China won't rescue Western banks. There too, the government has decided to embark on a spending highway with £373bn bail-out package, and this may also imply the eventual dumping of the nefarious US dollar already affecting the rich city of Dubai where speculators are throwing in the towel as a lending drought bursts the 'Desert Bubble'. The most comedic element in this grand scale drama is the story of Donald Trump who sues the banks for $3BN for having failed to foresee the housing collapse that is now damaging his reputation in order to avoid the $40M he owes in banking interests.

In the Vanity Fair December issue, a columnist wrote an extremely well articulated piece, which also reveals the latest estimate of jobs New York is going to lose, both on and off Wall Street, amounting to l60,000 to start with. Michael Shnayerson's intro reads like a hook scene:

... Even many of the wealthiest players are retrenching. Others, like the Lehman Brothers bankers who borrowed against their millions in stock, have lost everything. Hedge-fund managers try to sell their luxury homes, while trophy wives are hocking their jewelry. The pain is being felt on St. Barth’s and at Sotheby’s, on benefit-gala committees and at the East Hampton Airport, as the world of the Big Rich collapses, its culture in shock and its values in question.

Last week Bernanke said that he was not against the possibility to drive interest rates down to near zero if necessary but urged decisive action to protect the economy... the meaning of this can be found in the reason why The BofE contemplates radical plans to inject cash directly into the economy - the nuclear option - to be used only when interest rates approach zero; an action seconded by President Jean-Claude Trichet, hinting in the press conference to announce the ECB's 75 basis point rate cut that it may also consider "nuclear options".

The term **nuclear** ought to be taken literally in this particular case. If a well known market guru such as Marc Farber didn't let himself be duped, it should scare the hell out of you. In a recent CNBC interview, an outraged Farber calmly explained what the stakes were, as concluding that world central bankers were merely imploding the world economy.

Beyond The Age Of Usury

Because the very premise of 'usury' creates endless inflation, which in turn reduces the purchasing power, extreme materialism dismantles the fabric of societies: everybody prioritizes the need for cash to the detriment of communities, neglecting friends and family. This causes the goods and services to multiply endlessly since people are too busy to chase money - but what for in the end? As for the corporations, they do not see any incentives in creating long-term perspectives: when 'loans' are so easily available and knowing that more voracious competitors will borrow to take over whatever natural resources there is no time to lose! Polluting nature, cartelizing the means of production, human exploitation, bribery, collusion to maximize earnings are not diseases but symptoms. This all highlights the gap between people's creativity and their needs.We are truly heading toward a terrifying and inevitable crisis of civilization and this is our very last warning before being plunged into an era where money and food will be scarce for many years to come. Wars may well be the only weapons of unethical governments if civil unrest on a large scale threatens their very existence; they will resort to armed conflicts which will have been financed by their taxpayers. Yes, you got it: usury also allows killings and destruction to be a lot more devastating. Contrary to the popular belief, money is not the root of all evil but usury is.