You Just Don’t Get It

“Suck On This!” He Cried As He Pulled The Trigger

I often think that most of life’s lessons are hard-earned or lucked-upon. It’s good in the cyber-age when people can write something and the idea travels the globe. Pleiades sent in this one which, you MUST read to get just how arcane and corrupt ‘the system’ has become. At the end of it you realise that it’s still a case of ‘Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss.”

People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but they’re not pissed off enough. The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d’état. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.

The crisis was the coup de grâce: Given virtually free rein over the economy, these same insiders first wrecked the financial world, then cunningly granted themselves nearly unlimited emergency powers to clean up their own mess. And so the gambling-addict leaders of companies like AIG end up not penniless and in jail, but with an Alien-style death grip on the Treasury and the Federal Reserve — “our partners in the government,” as Liddy put it with a shockingly casual matter-of-factness after the most recent bailout.

The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron — a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers.

It’s pretty bleak. There’s a whole section on how the US Fed has been secretly buying up bad debt to bail out these banks from the back door, all the while TARP was being argued over. It’s harrowing, but enlightening to know that US$3.1trillion of the US$13 trillion of Derivatives got accounted for through the back door, while Congress haggled over $700billion.

While I don’t necessarily buy into the conspiratorial angle of the story, I do accept that the US government in the end is an oligarchy of the rich that keeps it that way. It’s not the different to how democracies end up being run. It’s just that some bother with appearances more than others. Rome was thus, China was thus (and still is), England was thus and still is, and even France will forever slip back with the Ancien Regime. Germany and Japan have long devolved and Spain is only ever stable under oligarchs. Russi is nothing but, while the singular lessons learnt by Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War seems to be how to run a conemporary capitalist oligarchy o the rich. Afria has’t learned it, neither has the Arab world.

It’s universally a crappy deal, but what can you do? You’ve been bought and sold long before you were even born. It’s depressing, but these are the lessons we keep learning and learning again from history and in life.

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