Our gaze might be on the markets melting down, but the upheaval we are experiencing is more than a financial crisis, however large. Here is a historic geopolitical shift, in which the balance of power in the world is being altered irrevocably. The era of American global leadership, reaching back to the Second World War, is over.
You can see it in the way America’s dominion has slipped away in its own backyard, with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez taunting and ridiculing the superpower with impunity. Yet the setback of America’s standing at the global level is even more striking. With the nationalisation of crucial parts of the financial system, the American free-market creed has self-destructed while countries that retained overall control of markets have been vindicated. In a change as far-reaching in its implications as the fall of the Soviet Union, an entire model of government and the economy has collapsed.
Ever since the end of the Cold War, successive American administrations have lectured other countries on the necessity of sound finance. Indonesia, Thailand, Argentina and several African states endured severe cuts in spending and deep recessions as the price of aid from the International Monetary Fund, which enforced the American orthodoxy. China in particular was hectored relentlessly on the weakness of its banking system. But China’s success has been based on its consistent contempt for Western advice and it is not Chinese banks that are currently going bust. How symbolic yesterday that Chinese astronauts take a spacewalk while the US Treasury Secretary is on his knees.
The Liberty Voice Transcript Service C-SPAN January 27, 2009
“I was there when the Secretary [Paulson] and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve came and talked with members of Congress about what was going on. … Here’s the facts. We don’t even talk about these things. … On Thursday [9/18] at about 11 o’clock in the morning, the Federal Reserve noticed the tremendous drawdown of money market accounts in the United States to the tune of $550 billion was being drawn out in a matter of an hour or two. … We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close down the money accounts and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account [to reduce panic]. If they had not done that, their estimation was that by 2 o’clock that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system which would have collapsed the entire US economy, and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed. It would have been the end of our economic and political system as we know it.”
A few weeks ago, I warned in my website that the Dow would dive below 7,000 at the earliest by end of December 2008 and at the latest by the end of the first quarter 2009.
Any responsible central banker would want to control a downturn, preferably by a gradual slide of the market as opposed to a sharp hard landing.
But events and data have revealed that these financial handlers are not responsible and are hard core gamblers in their very soul.
Their mindset is that of the ultimate gambler and nothing in this world will change their behavior not even the thought that millions will starve and die and that national economies will be shattered. They are totally unconcerned as the devastating consequences of their actions. And anyone still having illusions about their altruistic aims will be disappointed.
The stock market and the derivative market is their ultimate casino. Fix this in your mind in the months to come. Then you will understand and agree with me and my conclusions in the next few paragraphs.
The prospects of a government rescue for the foundering American automakers dwindled Thursday as Democratic Congressional leaders conceded that they would face potentially insurmountable Republican opposition,” reported the New York Times last Friday.
Wow! The entire country is steamed up over the Republicans bailing out a bunch of financial crooks who have paid themselves fortunes in bonuses for destroying America’s pensions.
Why do Democrats want to protect Republicans from further ignominy by not giving them the opportunity to vote down a bailout for workers? Quick, someone enroll the Democratic Party in Politics 101.
GM’s divisions in Canada and Germany are asking those governments for help. It will be something if Canada and Germany come through for the American automaker and the American government doesn’t.
Conservative talking heads are saying GM is a “failed business model” unworthy of a $25 billion bailout. These are the same talking heads who favored pouring $700 billion into a failed financial model.
The financial crisis is deepening, with the risk of seriously disrupting the system of international payments.
This crisis is far more serious than the Great Depression. All major sectors of the global economy are affected. Recent reports suggest that the system of Letters of Credit as well as international shipping, which constitute the lifeline of the international trading system, are potentially in jeopardy.
The proposed bank “bailout” under the so-called Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is not a “solution” to the crisis but the “cause” of further collapse.
The “bailout” contributes to a further process of destabilization of the financial architecture. It transfers large amounts of public money, at taxpayers expense, into the hands of private financiers. It leads to a spiraling public debt and an unprecedented centralization of banking power. Moreover, the bailout money is used by the financial giants to secure corporate acquisitions both in the financial sector and the real economy.
F. William Engdahl
November 24, 2008
On Friday November 21, the world came within a hair’s breadth of the most colossal financial collapse in history according to bankers on the inside of events with whom we have contact. The trigger was the bank which only two years ago was America’s largest, Citigroup. The size of the US Government de facto nationalization of the $2 trillion banking institution is an indication of shocks yet to come in other major US and perhaps European banks thought to be ‘too big to fail.’
Paulson demanded, and got from a labile US Congress, Democrat as well as Republican, sole discretion over how and where he can invest the $700 billion, to date with no effective oversight. It amounts to the Treasury Secretary in effect ‘spitting into the wind’ in terms of resolving the fundamental crisis.
The clumsy way in which US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, himself not a banker but a Wall Street ‘investment banker’, whose experience has been in the quite different world of buying and selling stocks or bonds or underwriting and selling same, has handled the unfolding crisis has been worse than incompetent. It has made a grave situation into a globally alarming one.
“Chase recently received $25 billion in federal funding. What effect will that have on the business side and will it change our strategic lending policy?”
It was Oct. 17, just four days after JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, agreed to take a $25 billion capital injection courtesy of the United States government, when a JPMorgan employee asked that question. It came toward the end of an employee-only conference call that had been largely devoted to meshing certain divisions of JPMorgan with its new acquisition, Washington Mutual.
Which, of course, it also got thanks to the federal government. Christmas came early at JPMorgan Chase.
The JPMorgan executive who was moderating the employee conference call didn’t hesitate to answer a question that was pretty politically sensitive given the events of the previous few weeks.
Given the way, that is, that Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. had decided to use the first installment of the $700 billion bailout money to recapitalize banks instead of buying up their toxic securities, which he had then sold to Congress and the American people as the best and fastest way to get the banks to start making loans again, and help prevent this recession from getting much, much worse.