The future of our children is taking shape today. Ask any parent and they will say they care about this more than about anything else. These same parents, though, are leaving the shaping of that future to the global financial industry, which has gotten so powerful it can buy anything and anyone that can be bought, and decide who will be destitute and who will live lavishly. And that doesn’t cease to bother me.
This power takeover didn’t happen overnight, but it does seem to have reached a critical point lately, and left unchecked it will keep growing. The very moment a government declares one or more of its domestic banks too big to fail or “systemic”, and many have, political power in effect changes hands. There’s no ceremony, no gold ribbons and no crowns are being placed on heads, but that still is what it means. From the point onwards that power changes hands, only one set of interests will be addressed, and all others ignored. So when I read something like this …
They are missing the point: Greece does not need a third bailout, it needs debt restructuring,” said the shadow development minister and economics professor, Giorgos Stathakis. “Even in the IMF, logical people agree there is no way we can have any more fiscal adjustment when the whole thing has reached its limits,” he said. “There is simply no room for further cuts and further taxes and that is what they are going to ask for.
… several things come to mind. The first thing is the pattern of on the one hand the ubiquitous economic recovery claims by media and politicians, and on the other the fast growing numbers of reports about increasing poverty, kids going hungry and all-out misery, all across the west world.
The extent to which the claims of recovery contradict the misery of reality may be starkest in Greece, Detroit, Italy and West Virginia, but the underlying process is active all over: an ongoing gutting of western economies and societies through austerity measures, rising taxes and cuts to services and benefits, all delivered with the message that they must be complied with, or else. Just like 5-6 years ago governments said they had to rescue their banks, or else. We never get an explanation of what that “else” consists of, but the fear it instills obviously works like a charm, not in the least because it always comes with promise of better times ahead. Suffer now, party later.
The second thing is so obvious it has taken a long and strong denial to get people to stop talking, even thinking, about it, but it’s nevertheless still the only thing that makes sense. That is, it’s not just Greece that needs restructuring, the entire western world, and especially the banks, need restructuring of their debt. And there’s only one reason that hasn’t happened, see above: the financial industry has taken over political control, and hence now shapes our children’s futures.
And I’m naive enough that I don’t understand why people let that happen. From where I’m sitting, that future is simply too important to leave up to a bunch of people in glass highrises everybody knows care not one iota when happens to your children. If giving them a well-off future means more profits, they’ll have it, but if misery means more industry gains, they’ll have that to look forward to. Still, people, parents, seem to be so preoccupied with getting their share of the ever-shrinking pie that they forget, and are blinded to, what’s going on around them.
But it’s what’s around them that will shape their kids’ futures, who at some point will have to go out into the world out there. And if things keep on developing the way they have off late, that world will look a whole lot different from what it is today. So you can send them to what you think are the best schools, but schools educate according to what society looks like today, not 20 years from now, so there’s no guarantee that if and when societies change at a rapid clip, a particular education will keep its value. We could all push our kids to work in the financial industry, of course, but not many will have the skills, the will, the drive or the mindset to succeed in there. And if they’re among the 99.9% who don’t, their futures look very uncertain as long as the financial industry rules our societies.
As for the world at this moment, markets keep on losing. Don’t forget that substantial amounts of “capital” have been positioned to short the whole shebang. Japan down another 2%, European markets off 1% or more, Wall Street ditto. And please don’t forget that if we don’t restructure our banks and their debts, insane amounts of credit, virtual capital that should have been written down years ago as gambling debts, will keep circulating and blowing bubbles, helped along by central bank stimulus programs, public funds that are aimed exclusively at those same too big to fail banks, until it bankrupts entire societies that have seen their wealth be used to prop up lost wagers and never did anything to counter that because its members were too busy making money to send their kids to school. This is not going to turn out alright, not for you and not for your kids, unless you get up and do something about it, raise your voice, talk to your neighbors, bare your knuckles. It is not.
How would you like your kids to think about you, or remember you, 10-20 years from now? Mom and dad worked hard but were too stupid to see what was going on and in the end they just made things worse? Or would you like them to recognize your courage to stand up for what you felt was right for them?
Article prepared by Leon Dubois