S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

As bad as 1929?

The global economic crisis is being compared to the "Crash of 1929," that began the Great Depression.  But soon after this comparison is made the experts hasten to add that it is not the same. They say we have more laws and safeguards in place now.  They say we have the wisdom and experience that President Franklin Roosevelt modeled for us back then.

Stock markets around the world have dropped precipitously, fearing a world-wide recession. We do not know if it is a panic but thousands are running towards U.S. treasury notes as the only safe bet. That is because people with money around the world remain willing to lend it to us.  Because they have confidence in the full faith and credit capacity of the U.S. dollar, unlike the Euro, that enjoys much less confidence .  And that gives us what seems like limitless money to throw at failing big financial institutions, the ones chosen by our government as worth saving.

And we want to understand what is going on and why.  For that I turned today to a couple of resources that increased my understanding a bit.  I share them in today's post.

"What now?" To quote from this wonderful writer, Jim Kuntsler# (written 10/10/08, it has  generated over 300 comments to date): 

All nations that have reached the fork-and-spoon level of civilization are now engineering a vast network of cyber-cables that lead directly from their central bank computers to the Death Star that is hovering above world financial affairs like a giant cosmic vacuum cleaner, sucking up dollars, euros, zlotys, forints, krona, what-have-you. As fast as the keystrokes create currency-pixels, the little electron-denominated units of exchange are sucked out of the terrestrial economies into the black hole of money death. That's what the $700-billion bail-out (excuse me, "rescue plan") and all its associated ventures are about.

To switch metaphors, let's say that we are witnessing the two stages of a tsunami. The current disappearance of wealth in the form of debts repudiated, bets welshed on, contracts canceled, and Lehman Brothers-style sob stories played out is like the withdrawal of the sea. The poor curious little monkey-humans stand on the beach transfixed by the strangeness of the event as the water recedes and the sea floor is exposed and all kinds of exotic creatures are seen thrashing in the mud, while the skeletons of historic wrecks are exposed to view, and a great stench of organic decay wafts toward the strand. Then comes the second stage, the tidal wave itself -- which in this case will be horrific monetary inflation -- roaring back over the mud flats toward the land mass, crashing over the beach, and ripping apart all the hotels and houses and infrastructure there while it drowns the poor curious monkey-humans who were too enthralled by the weird spectacle to make for higher ground. The killer tidal wave washes away all the things they have labored to build for decades, all their poignant little effects and chattels, and the survivors are left keening amidst the wreckage as the sea once again returns to normal in its eternal cradle.

"Strange Liberators* Militarism, Mayhem, and the Pursuit of Profit," is a review of Gregory Elich's Book at Global Research (10/3/08) This excellent review concludes with the following:

As the U.S. loses its luster as the great democratic liberator, like Russia was once the great communist savior, the new country with the influence and clout is mainland China. Flush with cash, minimizing its former communist rhetoric, growing a red-hot economy, and maintaining a population of 1.5 billion that supplies both cheap labor and high consumerism, China is courting the Middle East, South America, and Africa. It is approaching regions often ignored by the west. China has built new alliances in the Pacific rim with South Korea and Japan. The combined alliance of China and Russia still holds sway, enough to keep the U.S. at bay. Gregory Elich’s book is provocative, accusatory, inflammatory, thoughtful and dead serious. This is sober reading. It shows the reader a very big picture of global cause-and-effect. What happens ten thousand miles away does impact us.

‘Strange Liberators’ is a disturbing read. It can be interpreted as a lengthy indictment of what U.S. policies on national interest have done to developing countries. He has solid evidence to back his claims, by research, public information, and from personal experiences in Africa, Yugoslavia, and Korea.

Gregory Elich,
Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem, and the Pursuit of Profit, Llumina Press, Coral Springs (FL), 2006  ISBN # 1-59526-5708

Now in my seventh decade of life, I am still shaking my head in disbelief that my country is doing these things.  And I lay blame at the feet of these gods: militarism, corporatocracy, and greed.  I also blame us because we neglected holding our public servants accountable for ineptitude, laxity and corruption along the way.  

In ten days we have another chance.  If you have not voted yet, do so that day.  Vote Democratic for a better shot at economic survival, but even then it will be a tough slog for Obama and the best people he can gather about himself.  I will remain mad at Bush for the remainder of my years.  And I do not welcome him back into my neighborhood.

Hat Tip Key: Regular contributors of links to leads are "betmo*" and Jon#.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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