hat tip: The Daily Bell
May 28, 2010
by Staff Report
Is Europe heading for a meltdown? … This financial crisis is worse than the sub-prime crash of 2008 because the sums are so much bigger and it is governments that are in dire straits. Edmund Conway explains the dangers. Mervyn King, the Bank of England Governor, summed it up best: “Dealing with a banking crisis was difficult enough,” he said the other week, “but at least there were public-sector balance sheets on to which the problems could be moved. Once you move into sovereign debt, there is no answer; there’s no backstop.” In other words, were this a computer game, the politicians would be down to their last life. Any mistake now and it really is Game Over. Or to pick a slightly more traditional game, it is rather like a session of pass-the-parcel which is fast approaching the end of the line. – UK Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme: The wise men of Brussels and the courageous citizens of the EU will muddle through.
Free-Market Analysis: As the money crisis seems to grow worse in Europe, we have begun to wonder if there are parallels to the 1907 financial panic in the United States that gave rise to the Federal Reserve. The dominant social theme way back then (assuming an active power elite, and we do) was along the lines of “The US banking system is too fragmented and a lender of last resort is badly needed.” JP Morgan assembled his rich friends in the library of his exquisite New York mansion and bailed out the market, but only six years later, the Federal Reserve was born, the bastard child of false market-insolvency rumors and a knobby-nosed father (Morgan, himself).
There is, in fact, still speculation today that Morgan’s camp planted the initial rumors of instability that swept the market and triggered the crash of 1907. Why on earth would he do such a thing? To generate the eventual result: the creation of the Federal Reserve and its passage by the US Congress. This is one perspective, anyway, the “paranoid one” that you will not find in most mainstream history books or college texts.
Back to our larger theme. We have written in the past (see – IMF Plotting Gold Backed SDRs) that we did not see how on earth the power elite was going to get from fairly abstract monetary concepts like SDRs to an actual worldwide consensus for a more globalized currency (and a global warming – “carbon” – currency seems, as well, to be a non-starter, at least currently). In fact, we have speculated that the elite could decide on a gradualist approach, setting up a thesis/antithesis dialectic between global money and regional money to move the conversation gradually in the direction of a worldwide currency. But perhaps there is a faster way. Let us see …
The European financial crisis started with Greece and, it’s true, Greece’s problems are moderate ones for the EU given its size and amount of debt. But this crisis has not been resolved despite the supposed US$1 trillion that has been set aside to discourage “wrong way” speculation in Greek debt. We saw yesterday that the larger market was up because of statements from Chinese leaders that they were not going to sell euros and were perhaps to continue to be a net purchaser. So this is what market confidence has come to: China, a rigid, neo-communist state with a raging property inflation problem is seen by “the market” as a lynchpin of the Western capitalist system. What a hoot. You can’t make this stuff up.
Anyway, from our perspective, a hypothetical path to a world currency (with some speed) would involve certain very specific elements. It would include, obviously, a very serious sovereign wealth crisis spreading from country to country thoughout at least the Southern half of Europe. This crisis, hypothetically, would be averted by heroic Brussels bureaucrats but not before a significant amount of financial pain was inflicted – good and hard as H. L. Mencken might say. It might even involve the dissolution of the euro and the shrinking of the EU itself. But the pay-off for the power elite would be the ability to float a scenario that proposes a worldwide currency to avert additional difficulties going forward. Here’s some more from the article excerpted above:
Strip away the details – the breakdown of the euro, the crumbling of the Spanish banking system to take just two – and what you are left with is the next leg of a global financial crisis. Politicians temporarily “solved” the sub-prime crisis of 2007 and 2008 by nationalising billions of pounds’ worth of bank debt. While this helped reinject a little confidence into markets, the real upshot was merely to transfer that debt on to public-sector balance sheets.
This kind of card-shuffle trick has a long-established pedigree: after the dotcom bust, Alan Greenspan slashed US interest rates to (then) unprecedented lows, which helped dull the pain, but only at the cost of generating the housing bubble that fed sub-prime. It is not so different to the Ponzi scheme carried out by Bernard Madoff, except that unlike his hedge fund fraud, this one is being carried out in full public view.
The problem is that this has to stop somewhere, and that gasping noise over the past couple of weeks is the sound of millions of investors realising, all at once, that the music might have stopped. Having leapt back into the market in 2009 and fuelled the biggest stock-market leap since the recovery from the Wall Street Crash in the early 1930s, investors have suddenly deserted. London’s FTSE 100 has lost 15 per cent of its value in little more than a month. The mayhem on European bourses is even worse, while on Wall Street the Dow Jones teeters on the brink of the talismanic 10,000 level.
It is obvious that the sovereign crisis can inflict considerable pain. And it seems to have just begun. Yet perhaps our scenario is too simplistic, too conspiratorial. We ourselves have maintained that the problems with the EU and the euro are probably in excess of whatever the elite had expected – and they did expect a crisis of this sort, one that was supposed to drive the EU into a closer political union. The idea, however, that the power elite could engage in cold-blooded manipulations of whole countries is fairly difficult to countenance. On the other hand, there are historical speculations that JP Morgan, at the height of his wealth, controlled in some sense up to half of the profitable enterprises in the United States. Wealth can be concentrated and great wealth begets wealth, especially because the current fiat money system that tends to collapse the middle class.
Assume somehow that the unrolling sovereign crisis is indeed a prelude to a fear-based promotion seeking a worldwide currency (and perhaps some sort of worldwide central bank to go along with it) and one begins to see the outlines of an especially audacious dominant social theme. Perhaps this theme would be buttressed with other fear-based promotions – local and regional wars, even confrontations that utilize small nuclear devices.
We’re just speculating here, of course, for our window on power elite activities extends only to a modest comprehension of how elite promotions might operate. Yet even in stating this, we should also point out that these themes are promoted by a vast array of institutions – media properties, think tanks, NGOs and assorted non-profits, not to mention governmental entities. To accept the idea of dominant social themes is to accept that the elite has tremendous influence worldwide and especially in the West. We’re past that point of course. We do accept it.
We would also point out that to try to force the issue now of a truly global currency would be audacious in the extreme. Citizens of the Anglo-American axis are up in arms over the poor economy and Europe is smoldering as well. Never has a sociopolitical awakening swept the West as it has now – courtesy of the Internet and its continual truth-telling. There is more and more anger over central banking, the West’s serial wars, the over-taxation and the general dysfunction of regulatory democracy.
Does what we have proposed skirt the fringes of reality? If the powers-that-be were ready to tolerate a protracted series of sovereign crises in Europe – and it may be there is not much more to arrange — alongside perhaps some unsettling wars, it might be possible to traumatize citizens of the West enough to make them amenable to global solution. This solution in our estimation might include the return to some sort of gold standard, but unfortunately not a market-based one. The elite would try to insist on a standard that it could in a sense control and continually manage – at least in our opinion.
Conclusion: All this is no doubt far fetched. But the Panic of 1907 and the subsequent erection of the Federal Reserve – if one accepts the relationship between the two – provides us with a template for the same sort of manipulation on a bigger scale (assuming one believes in the possibility of JP Morgan’s market manipulations). However it is also true that this article itself is evidence of the difficulties that the elite would face in implementing the kind of program we have suggested. After all, if we are able to anticipate it, it has occurred to others as well. This is perhaps the elite’s biggest challenge in the era of the Internet. It is most difficult to promote an audience, if it comes to that, aware of your intentions and the permutations of your strategies.