Thursday, August 26, 2010

Eaarth Monopoly

(No, I did not misspell Earth. That is Bill McKibben's spelling for the harsh post-natural world we have created, and must now live in.)

The situation most of us don't realize about the economy is that some people do quite well when the chips are down for the rest of us. In other words, some people may actually want there to be hard times.

I'm not just making this up. We've seen this happen in numerous other countries that have been forced to take austerity measures while some people in these counties (and some international corporations) squeeze out unscrupulous windfall profits. When this happens, the situation is as blatant as it is unfair. And all to often, they get away with it (at least for a while). We need to face the horrible truth; some people sit around scheming to get rich at the deep expense of everyone else. Naomi Klein calls this “disaster capitalism.”

...And we've been watching it happen in Europe for the past few months. First, Greece's economy imploded. And then all of Europe has been forced to enact draconian austerity measures to get out of what is essentially contrived debt.

Two years ago, when the mega-banks' gambling habits resulted in the world-wide financial crisis, America and European countries bailed them out. It cost far more than our governments could afford, but our leaders felt that it had to be done – to save the economy. It may have worked a little, temporarily. But what Greece found out, the hard way, was that the banks were playing them all along.

John Lichfield wrote in The Independent: “Broadly speaking the same people are now complaining (or trying to profit from the fact) that the money spent to rescue them last time has left national governments dangerously indebted.”

In other words; It weakened our national governments to bail out the banks, and now the banks and financiers are taking advantage of our weakened governments! Moreover, when our governments bailed out the banks, there were no imposed requirements on the banks. But, now that Greece needed a loan, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has a number of requirements – including higher taxes and deep austerity cuts – to pay off the banks!

This reminds of that old carnival saying; “there's a winner every time,” them. They profited from the bubble, they profited from the bailout, and now they're profiting from taking advantage of those who are now in debt from bailing them out!

It makes you wonder... It really makes you wonder if the paranoid conspiracy nuts just might be right – that this is all part of some evil scheme to monopolize the Earth.

It leads you to wonder... what if some of the people who run these mega-banks actually created the 2008 world financial crisis on purpose? Think about it.

Besides making an enormous pile of money during the bubble, the mega-banks knew they would be bailed out. They knew they would be bailed out on more-or-less their own terms. And they probably knew that if they panicked our governments into acting immediately, they would likely get massive piles of bailout money without any conditions whatsoever.

The mega-banks must have also known that the countries that would bail them out would then be economically weak, and thus vulnerable to an even bigger killing.

We really need to think about why all the nations of European Union are simultaneously gutting their social safety nets. These are acts of desperation. And most Americans don't have a clue as to why the EU is so desperate.

Ira Sohn wrote in Barron's; “The danger is that banks could do what they did with Greece: load up on sovereign debt with no capital requirement, then turn around and sell credit default swaps, wrecking the credit status of the country.” Greece was attacked. Greece was brought to its economic knees by a financial attack. This attack was in some ways every bit as damaging as if the banks had dropped bombs on Greek businesses. And every other country in the EU knows they could be attacked too.

Which leads us to what is effectively end-game disaster capitalism – the world wide systematic financial gutting of every vulnerable country that has done business with these banks.

...What if this were all planned? What if this was all planned in order to take everything from everyone on the planet?

For the past 30 years, we have been watching the banks and the financiers in America getting stronger and richer, while the rest of the economy has been getting weaker and poorer. For the past 30 years, we have been watching one economic bubble grow and bust after another.

These economic bubbles are terrible for most of us. Moreover, during America's glory years, between 1945 and 1980, there were no bubbles like this. Which logically implies that these bubbles would be stopped immediately today – if somebody powerful wasn't making a killing on them. And, of course, somebody has.

I highly recommend you read the article by Matt Taibbi, The Great American Bubble Machine, in Rolling Stone; about how Goldman Sachs has been behind every major economic bubble for the past 20 years. This includes the dot com bubble, the housing finance bubble, the gas price bubble, the food price bubble, and the planned carbon cap-and-trade scheme.

Oh, and guess what; Goldman Sachs is deeply involved with the IMF... You know, the organization that is forcing the “austerity” measures on Greece that is driving Greece into an economic “death spiral.”

This is all starting to look a little too contrived – a little to planned - a little too controlled by all the wrong people. Especially when we saw them all get together at the G20 summit to agree to drastically cut social spending worldwide to pay for the bailouts - and not charge the banks a thing.

David Dayen wrote in the article, G20 Cancels Fiscal Expansionism: Hooverism on a Global Scale, on the website FireDogLake; “This is precisely the kind of thinking that turned a jarring stock market crash into a worldwide depression in the 1930s.” This kind of thinking isn't new. This is simply what oppression of the poor and the middle class looks like – again.

Here's a relevant question for you. Is our wealth surreptitiously being drained away from us? You know the answer to that. Our money is. Our real wealth is. The commonwealth is. The environment is.

It's time to recognize the obvious. The whole corporatist economic mentality is based upon the exploitation of our planet and its people. And frighteningly, things have gotten a lot more exploitative recently.

I am convinced that most people have not fully thought about what the term “maximizing one's profits” can really mean if taken to the extreme. To truly maximize your profits, one would have to consider minimizing everyone and everything else's wealth. The eventual goal, in this ever escalating game of Eaarth Monopoly, is to take everything now – to ultimately leave the land barren, to make the productive people your slaves, and to kill (or let die) all the others.

A friend of mine has used the term “Craps vs. Crops” to explain the hostilities between the City of Las Vegas and Rural Nevada and Utah. The rural people want to maximize real, tangible, consumable wealth – crops. While Las Vegas wants to maximize an indicator of wealth – money. The same is true for these mega-banks. They have been gambling with our money, at the expense of the true wealth generating sector of America's economy. And to get even richer, it appears they are attempting to turn America and Europe into third world nations.

Here's a video of how a Marxist views what is going on. (And no, I'm not a Marxist. But it's interesting to see how accurately they view our predicament. Which means; if we don't deal with these issues, some people will turn to Marxism – as they have in the past.)

Of course, I'm not fully convinced anyone sits around in banks planning the takeover of the world. I suspect that most of these people are just opportunists. And most of these people haven't fully realized the consequences of all our actions taken together.

But if this were all planned, the banks have made one huge mistake. Not every country on the planet has been willing to play their silly game. Not every country on the planet is vulnerable to their monopoly tactics. There is this matter of China – which has been getting stronger every year we have been getting weaker. Could the banks crush China's economy too? Maybe. But so far it looks like the mega-banks have been so busy gutting every other country that they have been playing right into China's hand.

Here's an interesting question (that has now become relevant): Could it be that “free market” economics ultimately leads to communism? This speculation would have sounded preposterous a generation ago. But China seems to be doing quite well at “free market” capitalism. In fact, they've been proudly predicting their ascent to world economic domination because of state sponsored capitalism.

But I guess it doesn't really matter. What difference does it make whether we're driven to abject poverty by capitalists, communists, or some form of hybrid capitalist/communists? And ultimately, what difference does it make whether the scheming demons had it all planned out or just followed the path of least resistance to maximize their profits.

When it all comes down to whether you're going to get your next meal or not; it doesn't really matter what name you give it, tyranny is still tyranny – whether it be at the point of a sword, the point of a gun, or the point of a pen.

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