Posts Tagged ‘Ecology’

The “Credit Crisis”, The “American Dream” And Why The Rest Of The World Is Paying.

October 29th, 2008 No comments

The “Credit Crisis” is a typical financial bubble trying to burst. Over the last decades the USA’s soaring trade deficit has been financed by the issuance of federal debt which has been sold to (mainly) foreign investors. The money issued against this debt was passed on to commercial banks to lend to their customers. The resulting boom in asset prices in the US economy has been completely false and was certain to collapse. The “securitisation” of the loans, whereby huge lots of loans are packaged up and sold off on the open market (again largely to foreign investors), has exported these bad credit risks to financial institutions the world over.

Over the last year the Bank of England the European Central Bank and the Japanese Central Bank have issued thousands of billions of dollars of credit lines to the banks in their respective jurisdictions as Banks began trusting each other less and less: those on the inside knew this bubble was bursting and they knew the outcome was far from certain. The central banks efforts failed which is why we now have wholesale partial re-nationalisation of banks taking place worldwide.

All of this is to try and prop up the value of the dollar and have been successful in the short term if you look at recent months performance of the $ vs the Euro and British pound. However in the long term this deals with none of the underlying problems: The American Dream is the embodiment of greed into a personal, social and corporate ethic. This dream, this greed, means – as I said on 26th July last year – that “the American economy has been running on cheap oil and foreign money for years” – for the dream is just that: a dream.

The American economy has not produced enough to meet it’s own “needs” (read greed) for decades. Now that is coming home to bite America and the rest of the world in the ass. The other major central banks are utterly afraid of the dollar falling in value. The $ denominated investments they own would lose value, the global economy would risk collapse if the dollar fell. But the truth is the global economy is facing collapse anyway and all of the actions being taken at the moment merely stay the day when the chickens will come home to roost.

Actually the current actions are exacerbating the problem by increasing money supply when an excess of money supply has been the root problem all along. Not only that but they are doing so via injecting more cash into a bunch of failed institutions. This just means that the situation will become even more strained before it starts getting better. the depth of the global recession that we are now entering into is going to be beyond most peoples’ imaginations and deeper as a result of rescuing failing institutions rather than letting these badly managed institutions fail and giving the bail-outs directly to affected citizens. After all putting extra money in a bank does not increase the wisdom of the bank manager. It just lets him rest comfortably in his seat – whilst you have yours taken away by the repossession man acting on his behalf.

If the American government had done a better job of policing internal financial affairs and balancing their trade surplus by making real economic gains and not false credit fuelled gains we would not be facing this situation. If other world governments had got together and said, “hell, lets let America fall – why should our people pay for these mistakes?” – this would not be happening.

More to the point if people stopped choosing to be ignorant and greedy and instead chose to wise-up and downsize we would not be in this position. The ecology of the planet can not sustain current economic activity levels. This has been one of the fundamental triggers of this “systemic failure”. Systems fail when they are pushed to the brink. Through ignorance and greed both on the part of individual citizens, and the governments supposed to represent their interests, and a total lack of recognition of the ecological limits of this planet we have dug ourselves one very big hole. The imminent failure of the global financial system will lead to one of three outcomes: 1) some form of martial law in most major economies whilst the “norm” is forcibly re-established; 2) an agreed global re-drafting of economic and trading rules to produce greater equality and less of a wealth/poverty divide; or 3) The total collapse of current financial, governmental and social structures resulting in anarchy.

Given that the governments which are supposed to representing you are much more interested in protecting the wealthy – with whom they enjoy great free lunches you could never offer – unfortunately, that means scenario number one is the most likely outcome.