Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Why America is a bank-owned state

June 10, 2009

In 2006, the top one per cent of American households’ share of all disposable income amounted to almost a quarter of all households’ disposable income, according to Robert Hunter Wade, professor of political economy at the London School of Economics.

In crude terms, one per cent of the population have a quarter of all the wealth.

Moreover, Wade found the average income of the bottom 90 per cent of the population remained almost stagnant after 1980, although consumption kept rising thanks to the build-up of private debt.

This means that 90 per cent of the American economy were financing their American dream on debt.
Where were the signs that things were going to end disastrously and, worse still, that the most vulnerable might end up paying the heftiest and most disproportionate price than anyone else?

I believe the status quo was allowed to go unquestioned because banks were benefiting obscenely from the interest on our debt, and governments were in cahoots with these banks.

Let’s not forget that governments conveniently moved away from the provision of affordable healthcare, free university education and affordable housing while the banks entered our lives, aggressively, to fill that void.

In addition, I think that this warped and unjust way of operating was not questioned because the electorate was kept in the dark in the most subtle way possible.

The whole issue was made invisible. It was kept off the radar screens of electoral politics.

The American electorate were made accomplice to this because they were convinced that what was good for Wall Street, was good for America as a whole.

It was a political sleight of hand of the highest order. And this explains the bipartisan agreement to the ill-designed deregulation of the finance sector that we have seen over the years.

America has become a bank-owned state.
— Samah El-Shahat, Al Jazeera’s resident economist

Further Samah points to Roubini’s article that this is a Crisis of Solvency not of Liquidity

Michael Lewis: Icelandic tragedy.. Wall Street on the Tundra

March 4, 2009

The world is now pocked with cities that feel as if they are perched on top of bombs. The bombs have yet to explode, but the fuses have been lit, and there’s nothing anyone can do to extinguish them. Walk around Manhattan and you see empty stores, empty streets, and, even when it’s raining, empty taxis: people have fled before the bomb explodes. When I was there Reykjavík had the same feel of incipient doom, but the fuse burned strangely. The government mandates three months’ severance pay, and so the many laid-off bankers were paid until early February, when the government promptly fell. Against a basket of foreign currencies the krona is worth less than a third of its boom-time value. As Iceland imports everything but heat and fish, the price of just about everything is, in mid-December, about to skyrocket. A new friend who works for the government tells me that she went into a store to buy a lamp. The clerk told her he had sold the last of the lamps she was after, but offered to order it for her, from Sweden—at nearly three times the old price.
Wall Street on the tundra