Every now and again, in every society, the relations of who has what power and over whom, alter. At first all the same players are still in the game and it may look, for a while at least, even to those involved. that nothing has changed. Only that the outcomes of actions seem erratic and unpredictable. The world seems to become turbulent and strange.
For a while no one, or few, understand that the waywardness of events is simply because the rules of the game have changed or are changing. Actions taken to produce one outcome, create, instead, quite another. To those who still think the old rules ascendent, or more fatally, who presume the old rules are infallable and immutable, the world seems to lose its bearing and its logic. Think of John Donne’s, The Anatomy of the World, ” at the very end of the Feudal Age and dawn of the Modern, “‘Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone,…”
I believe we are in such a moment.
The relations of power which created the modern Nation State are altering and destroyng them. Just as, out of the rules of Feudal allegience, incubated and hatched the Nation State – first with King as head and later without, so now from within the body of those nation states, has come a new form of power, not tied to the nations which incubated it. That power is Global Finance and it knows no allegence to nations or those who inhabit them.
The incubation is not yet complete and like those famous aliens that grow inside the bodies of the victims, to erupt bloodily from their chests, our new order is not yet able to exist outside its incubating body, but is already powerful and potent enough to kill the host should it try to eject or kill the maturing parasite.
The new relations of power began to take shape when the banks created and issued in earnest, their own privately created currency. That currrency was and is, debt-backed securities. It is a currency not under the control of any nation. The Banks created it and issued it and have over the last decade flooded the world with it.
If this idea seems strange, just think for a moment. A national currency is a promisary note, whose promise is the ‘pay the bearer’. Any debt backed security says the same. The only difference is what backs up that promise. For a traditional national currency the promise is backed up by the ability to raise taxes. For a Debt -backed security it is that a mortgage will be paid or a business make a profit from which it will pay back a loan.
Banks have created these promisary notes and used them as money. Counting them as capital, buying and selling them, speculating on their worth as it rises and falls. BUT the banks also debased their currency. They issued more and more of it with less and less reliable promises underlying it. Today we are in the midst of the collapse of that currency. That collapse in their currency IS our financial crisis. All other descriptions of the crisis, I argue, are merely the confusion which results when you try to label and describe events in the new game, using the old rules.
The politicians and central bankers think they still live in the old order described by the rules of Fiat currency. Where governments create, issue and control the currency. They are helped in this blindness by the bankers who tell them every day that salvation for all, lies in the creation of more liquidity. But in reality the total amount of the Banks new debt-backed currency (now becoming worthless), issued in securities, and all the derivatives based on them (including Credit Default Swaps and the like), dwarf by orders of magnitude the money controlled by nations. Nations have not controlled for some time the real flow or velocity of money.
They do so only in narrow confines, within nations, and only then, in certain circumscribed kinds of transactions. Outside those confines, in the flows of money between banks in global finance, nations have had little real control. The global supply of debt-backed money has grown beyond all national control. And so now is its collpase.
It is only now, in a moment of crisis, brought on by bankers greed and stupidity, that suddenly they need nations once again to print old money, backed by the old promise of taxes and people’s labour, to replace the lost value of the debts and their currency based on those debts. The banks need to re-inflate their own currency by sucking the worth from the old currencies. This policy may or may not (‘not’, in my opinion) rescue the debased and collpapsed debt-backed currency upon which the banks are choking. But it will certainly lead to the collapse of the old currencies if the policy of, ‘hide the bank debts and print, borrow and bail-out’ is continued.
But this is precisely what our politicians are bent on doing. And they are being ably advised in this folly of blindeness, by the Financial Class, who do see and understand what is really going on and have a distinct advantage in keeping that clarity to themselves. Our policical class, like the powdered and whigged aristocracy of a collapsing order, have neither the strength of mind, nor the desire, to see past their own selfishness. All they want is to cling to power and privaledge and if that means serving those who seem now to own it, so be it. But, they are being used. And once the need for them is past, they will cease even to be what they are now, the necessary window dressing to preserve the appearance of the old order.
A single measure of the change maturing around us, is how ‘National Security’ is becoming confused with ‘Financial Security’. The meaning of the former was a fixture of the old order. We each of us know what it meant. I think each of us by now also has sensed how the Banks and the Financial class has begun to try to have Financial Security take its place. If Financial Security can be manoevered-in, to assume the same place in our world view, that National Security once had, then what powers will not be deployed in service of protecting the Financial Order that is made of the interests of the banks and the class who profit by them?
The era which we could loosely begin with the “Wealth of Nations” is ending with The Rape of Nations.