13 January 2012

All Quiet on the Euro Front

Am I the only person who is so cynical as to think that 'no news' rather than being 'good news' is actually an indication that the news hasn't quite been prepared for public consumption yet? It was probably the 20 years I spent campaigning about climate change, which only became a news story once it had been turned into a profitable business opportunity, that first put me onto this. But can we assume that something similar is now happening with the euro story, of which we have heard precious little since Christmas? Post-festive queasiness aside, how can the most serious financial crisis in 70 years have disappeared like so many unnecessary mince pies?

A while back I floated the idea that the reason the finance markets were speculating against the euro was that, unlike its counterparts in the US and UK, the European Central Bank had not engaged in a policy of creating money to be hoovered up by the financial institutions and transformed into bonuses. The news now is that they are doing just that, making 'cheap' money available to financial institutions, who are then depositing it right back with them, but in their own accounts. This is the outcome of the silent coup - the transfer of power to unelected bankers in Italy and Greece, backed up by Mario Draghi at the ECB. The last vestige of politicians protecting the people of Europe was removed, with nothing now constraining the power of the financiers to extract obscene amounts of value from the European economy, destroying public services and undermining investment in the real economy.

How else are we to interpret the shift in policy towards the making available of cheap money? The ECB money has a limited life of three years, presumably to keep the inflation-averse Germans happy, but it is free money none the less. In similar vein, Merkel's insistence that the pain of the Greek default should be shared by the creditors as well as the debtors, the so-called 'hair cut', has been removed from phase two of Greek refinancing - another indication that financiers have beaten back even minimum political demands, and in response are reducing the pressure they are putting on European finance ministers.

This is, of course, a self-limiting and ultimately self-defeating response to financial pressure. Once the banks have hoovered up the latest round of newly minted money they must, like the debt addicts they are, find ways of exercising their power to extract more. Meanwhile the public and private sectors alike, which actually circulate money and thus energise rather than stifling economic activity, are starved of funds.

1 comment:

  1. You wasted 20 years campaigning in favour of climate change,or against it,or trying to get people to notice.At least you got wiser.The Greens have allowed themselves to be coopted,like women feminists,like labour/the unions,like 'opposition' parties.Now you've cottoned on to high finance.Your next realisation will be natural democracy.We are living down the negative karma built up by those in Western Europe whose issue we are and whose issues we inherited.The majority,despite professing otherwise,have never had any intention of doing other than looking after number one,living it up and leaving the pieces to posterity.People are automatons.Almost everyone who is in a position to influence events politically and /or economically chooses to pay lipservice to whatever it is politically correct so to do.They are serving the hierarchy to serve their own short term interests.Open debate is a waste of time,philosophy is a waste of time,psychology is a waste of time.People are impervious to any logic,reason or argument which threatens their personal,socio-political and economic house of cards.The most one can do,it seems,is to confront people with their hypocrisy from time to time.Though even then,it makes people switch off.But they will remember again when things go topsy-turvy.That is natural justice.People who insist on running society into the ground get plenty of warning by Jeremiahs,people who are prompted to be alarmists-A variation on millennarianism.
    Jacob Jonker.