“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Cosmological significance of the Secretary of the Treasury

Back in 2004, LI wrote about the neo-liberal business cycle – which, since then, Naomi Klein has labeled shock therapy economics. An excellent label. We wrote in the context of Bush’s Chilean inspired social security “reform” package:

Right. What happened in Chile is what happens periodically in countries in the neo-liberal system that veer to the right. A period of bubble prosperity is succeeded by a period of deep ‘recession.’ During the recession, the people who did not prosper during the bubble, i.e., the majority of the population, has shifted onto its back the debts accumulated by the wealthy to hold their party. This is exactly what happened when, in 1982, the IMF, the huge partisan of privatization, suddenly turned around and demanded that the Chilean government take responsibility for the huge outstanding debts racked up by its new private sector. The government, of course, responded with its bracing rhetoric of individual responsibility. The IMF and World Bank responded by closing Chile’s credit lines. The government then responded by stuffing the individual responsibility crap, nationalizing the debt, which entailed nationalizing most of the economy, and agreeing to pay it off – in other words, the debt was spread over the people of Chile.
This is a pretty standard pattern. After Salinas oversaw the entirely dirty privatization of Mexican banks, the crooks that bought them rode them directly into bankruptcy – at which point their debts were nationalized. Same with Argentina, Russia, etc. Privatization always is a two part shuffle – one part enriches an irresponsible and often corrupt elite, the other part nationalizes that elite’s debts. After the debt situation is taken care of, the elite is then surprised and delighted by a second wave of “privatizations.” It is a beautiful machine, and the Bush gang obviously have studied it. That is the point of the privatization of social security – don’t worry, no administration will allow the private part of the public pension fund, after it bottoms out in some predictable recession, to go to zero – no, the debts there will be quietly nationalized, in the same way S&L debts were nationalized. Under capitalism, this is known as individual responsibility and free enterprise. It is called reform -- a wonderfully civic sounding word. We have wondered why bank robbers don't plead "reform" in court -- "Judge, I was just reforming the deposit structure of the bank!" On this site we are too ignorant to handle those words. We call it moral hazard and stealing.”

Those were innocent days, back in 2004. LI was like a blind man peering into an abyss – we didn’t know what we were seeing, being encased in our own private darkness. We now have a better sense of the depths. The great Ouroboros-like worm of American stupidity writhes at the very lowest level.

Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones:
Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so
That heaven's vault should crack. She's gone for ever!
I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She's dead as earth. Lend me a looking-glass;
If that her breath will mist or stain the stone,
Why, then she lives.
Is this the promised end?
Or image of that horror?
Fall, and cease!

1 comment:

roger said...

PS - the most sensible counter-proposal to the Paulson steal is James Galbraith's column in the WAPO today. It should be the Democratic Party manifesto. Sadly, I doubt that it will even be read by the heavies in that party.