The idea of justice is abstract, theoretical and non-applicable when it comes to contemporary financial crimes. In fact, there have been few cases of prosecution in relation to the Global Financial fiasco. The race to the bottom regulatory environment of the last 30 years and the drive towards higher complexity seem to have conflated the ideas of liberty and amorality. In this parallell universe where failure of comprehension reigns supreme, there can be no punishment because there was no crime, there is no spirit, nor letter, of the law, only a porous and flexible boundary of legality. However, in the cases where regulators are pro-active, the market continually generates further complexity in a never-ending game of brinksmanship.
Even fantasies of a certain level of street justice, or poetic justice, are an illusion. When banks and banksters cheat and rob each other, this is a further re-distribution and concentration of resources and wealth within the 1%, any fallout is socialised. We have to remember that this is a system that rewards failure at the top end, so spare your tears for the downtrodden financier on the wrong end of the deal, his or her disappearance into a temporary obscurity is feathered with luxury.
In Chapter 1 of my drawings I show the antics of the Death Dollar Dealers (DDD) as they work within the moral vacuum, for profit and for fun. In the drawings, the DDD are often trying to capture some emotion, thought, impulse, sensation, bodily fluid, even death itself, for their algorithmic black box. They are trying to suck up the creative flows and energies of existence and turn them into quantifiable mathematical formuli, which is then turned into monetary capital and profit, or put to the service of the revivification of the rotting capitalist corpse. In the drawing above, they lay in wait for the CEO and CFO of Bank of Satan, who think that they’ve gotten away with the booty from their collapsing bank….he he he…..
or, The Golden trickle….
or, did that come out of Jackson Hole?
Well, whether Mr Bernanke did actually say it, or not, or maybe, the dear markets have been appeased again, the shit for shit deals are on, by gawd, by hook or by crook, we’re going to (try to) re-capitalise these banks, Draghi will of course mouth likewise. If rumours are anywhere approaching true, there may be a Bank that will soon need a shot, through the backdoor one would presume. But speculators take heart….one more shake of the cat.
Of course, the money will obviously fail to escape the event horizon of the financial black hole, nor the sticky fingers that it has to pass through. Ben and his ruffians are working at the wrong end of the debt problem. As Professor Steve Keen eloquently explains, this approach combined with austrerity is a misplacement of liquidity, debts need to be written off and the focus needs to be on the massive amounts of private debt. Public debt is of much less concern than private debt, which greatly outstretches it as a percentage of GDP. The servicing of the private debt load impacts consumption, which makes up c.70% of GDP… Keen is proposing a debt jubillee where the government would pay everyone a sum of money to retire their debt, or if debt free, spend into the economy. There are inflatonary issues there that need resolution and at the same time the debt deflation forces a deleveraging of the banks and probably some collapses (that’s where you’ve gotta get all Austrian and let them go.)
Prof Keen’s model applies particularly to the economies of the USA and Australia, but have an obvious global resonance. He was, by the way, one of the 12 economists identified by Dirk Bezemer who predicted the GFC and is much celebrated for his explanations and extensions of Hyman Minsky.
But nah, they’re not going to do that. A quick pump and dump before Armageddon?
A private island.
Chapter 4 of my drawing series is now on-line
They wont be coming back….
This year’s protest action has been a bit of a fizzer, the momentum seems to have gone out of the movement, leaving the system basically intact and unchallenged in any meaningful way. The one per-centers wear that tag as a badge of honour.
The most admirable aspects of the Occupy Wall Street movement were its rejection of hierarchical structures, its mutable agenda(s) and its rejection of co-opting by the mainstream left, that was all great, a kind of anarco-syndicalist counter foil to right libertarianism. But where is OWS? It seems that these traits that made it so revolutionary are hampering its evolution, protesters have become fatigued, the power of the idea (of equity, or even change, for example) has failed to go viral and the MSM fed masses have lost interest and returned to their diet of spoon-fed bipartisan politics. While right wing film makers and media portray it as a venomous rabble.
However, there are protests and events planned for September 15-17 in NYC. I’ve always found the media coverage, both left and right, to be pretty inadequate during these events, so I recommend the OWS site, Democracy Now! and Global revolution. Bloomberg (media) runs a flag by reporting the encirclement of Wall Street, blocking of roads and the desire to cause as much disruption as possible, perhaps even make citizen arrests of passing banksters. One protester, quoted in Bloomberg, cited chaos, chaos, chaos as the goal; curiously that behavior mimics the mantra of irrational markets : chaos provides profit opportunities in this terminal stage of financial capitalism. But I suppose the message is to expect the men with the big sticks.
In the meantime there are many direct demands that can be made. An enforcement of tax evasion would be a start and it’s already law. But to change or rewrite law is a different endeavor and an ignominious path at that. Many would agree (at both ends of the political spectrum incidentally) that one of the basic structural reforms needed is that of the monetary and banking systems on national and international levels.* There are a lot of interesting alternative ideas on how money should be produced into and managed within the economy, but that debate, beyond the lunatic fringe, is marginal to non-existent. It seems like the revolution must be eternal, but eternally obscure. All we are left with is the desire for dystopian collapse.
* We have repeatedly witnessed the fallacy of the argument that the private banking system is more efficient in the issuance of currency than governments. This has lead to unprecedented concentrations of wealth and, combined with promiscuous deregulation, the constant threat of systemic failure averted only by the deployment of more “public money”, that is, debt socialisation.