Things Are Spinning Out of Control (May 25, 2011)
The pretense of centralized control of history is wearing thin.
The single greatest conceit of the Status Quo in the U.S., China and Euroland is that systems and trends can be tightly controlled. That conceit is slowly being revealed as hubris, as all sorts of things are spinning out of the control of the centralized authorities and financial elites in each geopolitical power center.
Does anyone really think the people of Greece will stand idly by while the state treasures of their nation are transferred to the banks which foolishly lent billions to a visibly risky enterprise? The banks, of course, lent freely to insolvent governments throughout the European Union, confident in the backstop of the E.U. itself.
The analogy to subprime mortgages in the U.S. is near-perfect: banks lent freely to extremely risky borrowers, breezily confident that their worker-bees in the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Treasury and Congress would all toil feverishly to transfer the risk to the U.S. taxpayers, by whatever means were necessary.
Does anyone really think the uprisings against this transfer of national wealth to the "too big to fail" banks in Europe will fade as unemployment rises and the true costs of the transfer become apparent to all?
Does anyone really think there is no chance that the citizens of one of the nations lined up to be stripmined by the E.U. will openly rebel against the stripmining, throwing out their government until they find some politicians who are not spineless lackeys and factotums of the financial Status Quo?
Does anyone really think the banks are really that precious to the people they are stripmining? Just how awful would it be if all the big banks with exposure to sovereign debt in the E.U. went belly up and were declared insolvent? A handful of very wealthy managers would lose their jobs, a handful of very wealthy owners would lose their stake, and all the pension funds and mutual funds which bet on the infinite passivity of the citizenry and the infinite checkbook of the E.U. would lose, too.
It's called Capitalistic risk and return, baby, and return can be negative. All the big players assumed the citizenry would quietly line up to have the clothing ripped from their backs and their flesh flayed to extract the pound of flesh "owed" the banks. But as the citizenry of Europe wake up to costs of the stripmining, which extends now to the taxpayers of Germany, Finland and beyond, they are withdrawing their support of the financial Status Quo.
Here is my plea: Ireland, Please Do the World a Favor and Default (November 29, 2010).
Things are spinning out of the control of the centralized mandarins in the E.U. They seem to have borrowed the Federal Reserve's playbook to keep the stripmining proceeding as planned: lie, frequently (practice helps); obscure systemic risks by printing money; and issue a foul sewage of propaganda about how nicely the economy is "recovering" to mask the real game, which is diverting the national income stream to the banking cartel.
The levers of interest rates, credit and money supply do not control larger trends; the appearance of control is illusory. The E.U. and the Fed are both busily applying the duct tape of various monetary machinations to the overheating boilers of the global economy, and presenting their frantic improvisations as "finely tuned, guaranteed to work" policies. As things spin out of their control, reality is poking through their rice-paper facade of "normalcy" and control.
Here in the U.S., the Fed's game plan of stripmining the nation to "save" the banking cartel is based on a cruel deceit I explained yesterday in The 'Baseball' Economy: The Fed Strikes Out (May 24, 2011): while the Fed maintains incentives for financial speculation and backstops any cartel losses in those speculations, it claims its policies are designed to "boost employment" in the real economy.
That is the world's most dangerous joke: if you believe it, you die from extreme irony. What the Fed is actually doing is starving the real economy and thus precluding any gains in employment as it diverts the national income to fatten the insolvent banking cartel.
Does anyone seriously believe their scam can endure? As I described in Your Pick, Ben, But One Goes Off the Cliff (April 22, 2011), the Fed's policies are setting up multiple double-binds. The Fed cannot finesse the unraveling of the entire financialization project.
There is currently a "great debate" over QE3, the next round of Fed "stimulus" (read stripmining). As things spin out of control, it no longer matters what the Fed does. That is, after all, their central conceit and the basis of their power: that the Fed actually controls anything. This quote, attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte, is increasingly relevant: "Do you know what amazes me more than anything else? The impotence of force to organize anything."
The Fed claims it can force the real economy to "grow" by forcefeeding it credit. But all the Fed is really doing is fattening the banking cartel with guaranteed profits (borrow from the Fed for free and then deposit the funds at the Fed for interest) and enabling another speculative frenzy which generates fees and profits for the banking cartel while the U.S. taxpayers play bagholder.
The Fed has lost control of the reaction to QE3. There is no "surprise" in QE3, so the potential positive is lost. Whatever the limitations the Fed imposes on QE3, they will be recognized as limiting the "high" of the credit-cocaine injected by the Fed.
If the Fed chooses an open-ended, essentially infinite QE3, then it will be recognized by the market that the Fed has lost all control and the pretense of "growth" is truly threadbare. No matter what the Fed does with QE3, the results will be negative. If they try to finesse a limited QE3, the markets will recognize the policy is unable to force-feed more speculative bubbles. If the Fed unleashes the printing press, then inflation will wrench free of the last rotten ropes restraining it, and the market will recognize that the current stock and bond bubbles are so tenuous that only unlimited money printing can keep them inflated.
Simply put, things are spinning out of the Fed's control. The Fed has been transferring the wealth of the nation to the banking cartel and the financial Power Elite for three long years, and the fraud at the heart of their claim to be "stimulating" the real economy is now in plain view.
Does anyone really believe Japan's economy is under control? The tragedy at the out-of-control Daiichi Fukushima reactors might well be an analogy for the entire Japanese economy. Does anyone seriously believe Japan's over-indebted experiment in endless quantitative easing will sustain a demographic sea change and yet another explosion of debt to support rebuilding and more "stimulus," i.e. bailing out Japan's insolvent banking cartel, which has been insolvent for 20 years?
As for China: inflation is now out of control. Party authorities are frantically pulling the same levers of monetary policy, but the wires connecting the levers to the real economy have snapped. All their efforts to "cool" rampant speculative bubble-blowing and rampant inflation are failing. Taking their cue from the U.S., they are desperately trying to mask their loss of control with doctored statistics, but the conceit cannot endure for much longer: rents are rising even as housing sales decline. Local governments are still borrowing and speculating wildly, in a last-ditch effort to prop up their own income streams, which are dependent on real estate speculation and land grabs from peasants.
Things are spinning out of control. Trends are beyond the feeble grasp of central financial authorities. Power is based not just on controlling events in the real world but on the perception of having some control over the real world. Once the central banks' control over large-scale trends and systems is revealed as illusory, then the unraveling of the Status Quo's powers will gain momentum.
NOTE: I finally shipped books last week--thank you to everyone who has been
waiting so patiently. I am taking a few days off from email and the blog to attend to houseguests.
The usual drivel will reappear this weekend.
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