Friday, December 09, 2011

Enemy of the Week! VIII

Sorry about the delay.

A tough call this week, the usual front runners, Iran and Pakistan were in a dead heat, but the delay brought a dark horse to the front of the pack, Russia!

Yes, Russia has gone and held elections and they are looked askance by the US's head school marm, aka Secretary of State Clinton.

Suspicious minds may believe that the real bone of contention is other, one, the US is trying to surround Russia with missile defense systems, and two, Russia is hinting at cutting off supplies to the excellent adventure in Afghanistan, which is already sort of cut off by Pakistan.

So congrats, Russia, you are Blog Simple's Enemy of the Week!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Meet your masters

Back in those early, dim days before there was a Blog Simple, even further back than that, I resided in good ol' Yurp, down in the sunny clime (sometimes) of southern Italy.

When the EU started to take shape, and talk began of the Euro, I was generally favorable. Elimination of border controls, more human rights protections, and the convenience of a single currency seemed, to me, desirable. Political union would surely follow.

Well, wrong and wrong again. The mechanisms that have been put in place have slowly but surely performed a task that we had not considered, putting the Euro countries under the unelected rule of banksters. This is not just influence anymore, the proposals from the ECB's new Goldman Sachs blessed leader make it clear that expanding control of individual nations will be exercised, not by expanding democratic institutions of the EU, but by bank controlled committees run in secret.

Michael Hudson gives some historical perspective
to the process:
Book V of Aristotle’s Politics describes the eternal transition of oligarchies making themselves into hereditary aristocracies – which end up being overthrown by tyrants or develop internal rivalries as some families decide to “take the multitude into their camp” and usher in democracy, within which an oligarchy emerges once again, followed by aristocracy, democracy, and so on throughout history.

Debt has been the main dynamic driving these shifts – always with new twists and turns. It polarizes wealth to create a creditor class, whose oligarchic rule is ended as new leaders (“tyrants” to Aristotle) win popular support by cancelling the debts and redistributing property or taking its usufruct for the state.

Since the Renaissance, however, bankers have shifted their political support to democracies. This did not reflect egalitarian or liberal political convictions as such, but rather a desire for better security for their loans. As James Steuart explained in 1767, royal borrowings remained private affairs rather than truly public debts. For a sovereign’s debts to become binding upon the entire nation, elected representatives had to enact the taxes to pay their interest charges.

By giving taxpayers this voice in government, the Dutch and British democracies provided creditors with much safer claims for payment than did kings and princes whose debts died with them. But the recent debt protests from Iceland to Greece and Spain suggest that creditors are shifting their support away from democracies. They are demanding fiscal austerity and even privatization sell-offs.

This is turning international finance into a new mode of warfare. Its objective is the same as military conquest in times past: to appropriate land and mineral resources, also communal infrastructure and extract tribute. In response, democracies are demanding referendums over whether to pay creditors by selling off the public domain and raising taxes to impose unemployment, falling wages and economic depression. The alternative is to write down debts or even annul them, and to re-assert regulatory control over the financial sector.
Read the whole article.

So far bankers have been installed as the head of governments in Italy and Greece. That will become less necessary as governments lose the power over budgets and thus the country. As peoples become more impoverished and more disenfranchised, the powerlessness of their institutions will become more apparent, and other solutions will be sought. It is ironic that Germany, who experience much of the same after WW I, is now helping create similar circumstances in the rest of Europe. Merkel may go down in history as the most catastrophic European leader since you know who.