19 September 2008

One law for the rich

There is so much to learn from the present tumult on world financial markets - make sure that you are saying clearly what you know and think on the bus and in the local shop. This is a great opportunity for radicalisation that should not be missed. It must be increasingly obvious to those who do not usually share our scepticism about the way our economy is organised that, far from being a uniquely powerful and 'efficient' system, capitalism is in fact an impressively attired version of various low-level financial scams.

A question that is being asked increasingly is: where can the governments get the money from to 'inject' into the financial markets? There are two possible answers to this question. The first is that they put it onto the national debt, leaving it to be paid back by ourselves and our children through losing a share of the value we create via taxation.

The other is that they simply make it up. This is fraud on an epic scale - but if it is in the national interest why should we worry? I think the answer is that we will still have to pay. Just like the national debt, it is a way of forcing the poor to subsidise the rich. The debt created while the banks were booming may not be real money but it was still used to buy real stuff. So by creating non-existent money and swapping it for worthless assets the government is colluding in this fraudulent creation of value by the rich.

Another question I would like to add is: do we need stock markets? What function do they actually serve? Is the buying and selling of bits of companies of any real value? It is now generally known that stocks and shares are actually just alternative vehicles for gambling to horses or dogs. How about serious financial regulation that required investors to stay with the company they had chosen for a minimum time period of, say, a year. That might lead to stock markets that supported rather than undermined the real economy.

As Evan Davies rightly stated on Today this morning, capitalism is a roller-coaster, but one that, rather than choosing to ride, we are born onto. For those who are beginning to grow a little sick and tired might I suggest moving your assets and consumption into the alternative, mutual parts of the economy?


  1. Hi Molly,

    Good morning.

    Our head continues to spin at the events in the capital markets.

    I agree that adding the cost of the bailout to the national debt is an unfair burden that we are placing on future generations. It is particularly onerous because we are doing it without their knowledge or consent. Americans waged a revolution over the issue of taxation without representation.

    Free and open access to equity markets are an important component of democratic society. Centralized soviet style approaches to capital allocation decisions lead to economic stasis.

    I like your idea of a one year lock-up for equity investments. This encourages investment to create long term shareholder value not speculation for private enrichment.

    have a nice weekend.


  2. suppose it is like gambling on the dogs ( i have never) but there is a little bit more to it (fractionally) in that one deliberates if a business is gonna sell some stock and be successful, business does need shareholders to release equity, if not the banks would have even more power and they would screw business over.