Too Big to Fail
The Banks Versus the People
News From Around the World
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Debt has thrown the world’s financial system into chaos dividing its order into two neatly arranged communities; the creditors versus the debtors. At stake is who will eventually prevail and control the future of the world’s financial system and its wealth.
After months of political drama Greece has until June 24th to decide whether it will default on its sovereign debt and free itself to decide its own future or succumb to its bankers and throw its burden onto the backs of its people for years to come with increased taxes and austerity. As most Greeks awaken to their new reality, they aren’t willing to make the bankers rich -- much less make themselves poor in the process. Either way, the outcome will be no easy-street for the Greeks.
The EU has no means of financing its weaker members so Greece is largely on its own sans a reluctant political rescue from its neighbors. Greece faces selling or forfeiting its infrastructure and asset wealth to its rich bankers just as their predecessors did centuries ago.
Ancient Greek Spartiate rulers used the bondage of debt to rule the underclass Perioeci (i.e. the working class tax payers) and the Helot slaves (who they systematically murdered for any rebelliousness activity) .
Today’s drama is a classic axiom of history repeating itself.
Much of the world is in the same predicament. Pay the bankers, if you can, or default and face the consequences. The question for Greece, as for Iceland, Ireland and debt-plagued economies including the United States is that the bankers are demanding that taxpayers pay for the sovereign bailouts therefore shifting the economic benefit to a few, powerful private institutions. This shifting of the debt burden onto the taxpayers directly benefits the banks, not the taxpayers.
The financial sector’s growing power to lobby for tax favoritism is destroying economies and making the banks ever more powerful. Perhaps too powerful. Case in point; ten U.S. banks, “too big to fail”, control 77% of the banking assets in America. Troublesome at best. The same is true for the world’s banks.
When Greek bond holders finally pull the plug and demand their money Greece will have to sell its assets to private buyers, again financed by the banks making them even more powerful together with their specially chosen buyers. The bidders allowed to take the spoils of default are the bidders promising the bank the most interest payments – funds once destined for the people of Greece.
In the meantime the rout is on. Greek bonds now carry the lowest debt ratings in the world in a vice-like squeeze that chokes off any hope of growth from its economy in the form of higher interest payments to the bank. So the larger the debt grows the greater the pain of austerity required to solve the unsolvable problem.
There is simply no good solution in this high stakes drama and now that the people are figuring out the game, they’re not going to roll over without a fight.
There is a revolution swelling up all over Europe as its citizens weigh the prospect of bailing out its neighbors. There is uncertainty throughout Europe about whether the cards to be played will take down the entire house. Except for the largest countries, like Germany and France, there could be a long list of countries that may eventually stand in line for their handout while the debt burden gets shuffled around the continent.
Of course, the problem is not limited to Europe. Greece’s issues are a glimpse into the U.S.’s impending debt crisis. Japan and most developed countries are in the same shape. China, with its growth bubble beginning to burst is merely a few months behind Europe and the U.S. In many views the U.S. has far deeper issues because its debt and off-balance sheet obligations are about equal to the entire world’s total GDP! When adding in entitlement obligations we could be reaching $100 trillion debt levels – an impossibly large number to now manage. Impossible.
This tectonic shift of wealth from the people to its banking creditors is a stunning thought – but likely will become the logical outcome.
In the end, much of the world’s debt cannot be paid. There just isn’t enough cash in the system anywhere. The object of the game is to postpone the default as long as possible and then to toss the burden on the people with taxpayer bailouts and sell the assets to a small group of wealth accumulators chosen by the bank to receive them.
The United States is the champion heavyweight debtor nation. The problem we face will not be solved. Eventually there will be a bailout – first to the cities and states and finally to the Federal government. And, who will be asked to pay? The people will of course; unless the debtor societies, like the Helot slaves of ancient Greece, decide to not to participate.
It’s a pretty safe bet to speculate that we are currently observing – in the news today -- the unimaginable global shift in wealth from the people to a very small societal caste of bankers -- and their chosen beneficiaries -- who will have the power to vastly dominate the financial and political world as we know it.
About Ed DeShields
Last article: Everything that deceives may be said to enchant
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