Belgium versus Greece – decision time in Paris?

Here is a morning thought for you.

First the French and Belgians have apparently agreed to stump up the cash to nationalize Dexia in its various parts. A cost for both the French and Belgian tax payers that will definitely lead to a credit downgrade for Belgium and which will,  I think. also do the same for France and possibly for one or two of its most fragile banks as well, in due course.

Second there is the further Franco\German rescue plan for the rest of the Euro banking system which they claim to have have arrived at but the details of which are too secret to reveal.

And third there is the 0ver 10% crash this morning of the Greek banks. Both Alpha bank and EFG are down over 10% this morning.

These three things set me to thinking. France has wanted the Greek banks to be bailed out so that the bail out money can make its way to the French banks who would otherwise teeter on the brink of their own insolvency. Germany has seemed more inclined to let Greece default and ring-fence its own banks.  Now France has there was more immediate peril in Dexia’s demise.  The French have also talked about how nice it would be if the EFSF were to take some of the cost of Dexia.  

Could it be that Germany has said to France that they would countenance the EFSF or Germany directly helping with Dexia IF France agreed to let the Greek banks go? Basically saying to France you can have help with Belgium or Greece but not both.

If such a decision were put to France they would, I think, have to chose Belgium and Dexia simply because it is far, far bigger than the Greek losses and riek.

Just a thought.

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40 Responses to Belgium versus Greece – decision time in Paris?

  1. Pedronicus October 10, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    The last time I saw the French, the Germans and the Belgians slogging it out, it was hosted by Stuart Hall with Gennaro Olivieri judging. Anyone remember ‘Jeux Sans Frontieres.’?

  2. Hawkeye October 10, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    Perhaps the real faultline will open up between France & Germany. Long seen as a solid bond between two (almost) equals, it is often held up as an example of the new progressive European era.

    But the reality may be far from this “ideal”. If France has been reckless and (perhaps in comparison to German’s export industriousness) seen as feckless, too, then the tension will be harder to disguise.

    The key question is, can Germany better weather an economic battle with the US with or without France by its side?

  3. Charles Wheeler October 10, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    “Former Prime Minister Sir John Major has told the BBC that European banks need to recapitalise and ‘Greece needs to default’ on its debts, to help bring an end to the eurozone debt crisis.
    He said it would be “catastrophic” if the country defaulted before the banks had enough money to cover their losses.

    The former conservative PM said it was “desirable to get a Greek default out of the way”.

    A potential default was hanging over financial markets and was already expected by many investors, he said. However, it was imperative that banks were strong enough to withstand any default, he added: “If Greece defaulted and couldn’t pay its debts, all the Greek bonds that are held in other banking systems across Western Europe would suddenly have no value,” Sir John told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

    “You could as a knock on effect create a banking crisis in Western Europe… so that would be absolutely catastrophic if that happened.”

    Sir John said Greece could default and remain in the eurozone. This could be achieved by granting the bloc’s bailout fund – the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) – a banking licence.
    It could then borrow money from the European Central Bank to either buy Greek government bonds or recapitalise European banks, he said.”

    Which seems to translate as: keep Greece on life support until enough taxpayers’ money has been funnelled into the private banking system (i.e. the banks that took the ‘risk’ of lending to Greece) – then let Greece default.

    Hmmm…

    (I like the way cause and effect has been turned on its head: the sovereign debt crisis is now threatening to cause a banking crisis. That takes nerve.)

    • Neil October 10, 2011 at 11:21 am #

      Telegraph live coverage: “Greece’s central bank activated a bank rescue fund to save Proton Bank, effectively nationalising the small lender that is under investigation for possible violation of the country’s money-laundering laws.”

      “Dexia has global credit risk exposure of $700bn (£448bn) – more than twice Greece’s GDP”

  4. bill40 October 10, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    Hawkeye.

    Top question and the answer is no and it doesn’t matter how you phrase the question. America has bailed out many European banks to the tune of trillions of dollars. So not only does the US call the shots (ie no bank allowed to fail ever) any solution we suggest will have to please our American masters. How would you like to explain to the US you’re defaulting on them? Some blogger or other was going on about democracy and the banks can’t think who!!

    Don’t have the figures to hand but zerohedge seemed quite upset.

    • mvsjcl October 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

      America calls the shots? Really, you need to dig through a few more layers of the ownership onion to find out who owns who. Of course, you’ll be in tears by that time.

  5. Charles Wheeler October 10, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    “This morning the 11 million people of Belgium have woken to find themselves the 100 percent owners of a bankrupt and unprofitable retail bank at a cost of 4 billion euros, and guarantors of a further joint 122 billion euros in liabilities with France and Luxembourg. The shareholders and bondholders will be grateful, and the markets are accordingly delighted, but pity the poor Belgian taxpayer. The CEO and Chairman of Dexia have admitted that the bank operated as a hedge fund, and yet they are given serial bailouts at the taxpayers’ expense. The Belgians have already thrown out their government, so now what do they do?”
    London Banker http://goo.gl/0v1gF

    • MrShigemitsu October 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

      Oooh look, another reverse bank robbery! This is turning into something of a crime wave.

      Just imagine if it were the other way round, eh?

    • Peter Whale October 10, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

      This happened all without an elected government. Who made that decision on behalf of the Belgium people?

      • Paulie Ire October 10, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

        @ Peter Whale

        It was Belgiums caretaker PM Yves Leterme who made the decision for the Belgian people according to an article I read earlier.

  6. gyges01 October 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Here’s a morning thought for you too.

    Back in the 1980s student grants came from Local Education Authorities (LEAs). Also during this period Liverpool council, under Derek Hatton, were trying to bankrupt the city. A couple of people who I new at the time, who were students, claimed and collected the same student grant, with the complicity of the council, about five times.

    If you look at the waste and excess of the last ten or more years: massively overpaid public sector workers, Wednesbury unreasonable contract terms (ie impossible to make redundant clauses, golden parachutes etc) and the lack of challenge to these terms. Expensively failures of computer data base projects, defence spending, bogus wars etc etc etc …

    Do you get the impression that, like in Liverpool in the 1980s, there is a determination to bankrupt the Western Nationstate?

    • Neil October 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

      “massively overpaid public sector workers”?

      That’s a bit of sweeping generalization, to put it mildly.

      What about massively overpaid bankers, fund managers, footballers, TV personalities, CEOs…?

    • bill40 October 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

      gyges01

      I do not like to critise my fellow posters but tedious fact free rants backed up with an anectotal story is the standard of arguement to be found in places like the Mail and other MSM propaganda outlets, so;

      1. Can you link me to a report on fraud in Liverpool during hattons tenure.
      2. Can you supply evidence that public sector workers are @massively overpaid@?
      3. Can you refute the evidence from the OECD that Britain has some of the laxest employment protection in the G20?
      3.Did Liverpool go bankrupt and when?

      I hope you come on this forum with an open mind to debate. Left or right, public or private, I care not about the description, only what is right.

  7. Prometheuswrites October 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    I’ve noticed fairly innocuous news items about big issues being dropped into the daily news – Mervyn King’s QE, John Major’s ‘Greece must default’ and a couple of weeks ago on ‘Hard talk’ (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/hardtalk/9600833.stm) Kenneth Rogoff, a former chief economist at the IMF, saying (much like Major) that he doesn’t believe Greece will be able to stay in the eurozone and that a managed default should have happened a long time ago,
    What’s interesting is that when pressed for solutions he (Rogoff) takes the inflationary line (10% inflation for 4 or five years – to devalue the debt).

    3 years back I said the printing presses would eventually be going flat out and that hyper-inflation was going to be the way the financial system tried to stay afloat.

    The trouble is of course, as many point out here, is it’s ‘same old, same old’ – the real problem for the moneymen is how to get new neural pathways flowing in those ossified brains in the Fed/Treasury/IMF without a clean sweep-out of the discredited and a complete restructuring of the system?

    Maybe once savings, pensions and house prices evaporate in an inflationary environment then that will provide the internal leverage to shift the immovable mindset.

  8. Neil October 10, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Keynesian Robert Skidelsky’s review of a new book by Jeffrey Sachs on the GFC (global financial crisis):

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/oct/06/price-civilization-jeffrey-sachs-review

    The same Sachs who was responsible for economic “shock therapy” in Bolivia, Poland and Russia back in the 80s and 90s… (See Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine). But he seems to have changed his mind, on some things at least.

    • richard in norway October 10, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

      From what I’ve heard he has a road to damsacus type conversion

  9. Neil October 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    Staving off a eurozone crisis could cost €3tn

    10 October 2011
    By JÜRGEN BAETZ
    in BERLIN
    FINANCIAL experts have claimed Europe needs to commit more than €3 trillion (£2.6tn) to averting further crises in the region’s markets.
    The current €440 billion (£378bn) made available to the European Financial Stability Facility (SFSF) needs to be increased seven-fold to prevent gross domestic product across the region falling next year, according to Ernst & Young.

    The claim came last night as Germany and France agreed a deal to help strengthen Europe’s fragile banking system in the face of the Greek debt crisis and problem in the Belgian banking sector.

    GDP across the region could fall by as much as 2 per cent next year if “decisive” action is not taken, followed by a further 1 per cent drop in 2013.

    In addition, banks could reduce their lending by as much as 6 per cent next year, followed by a further 2 per cent in 2013, if adequate steps are not taken to deal with the crisis.

    The chances of a government default are as high as one in five, the group said.”

    Full article at http://www.scotsman.com/news/Staving-off-a-eurozone-crisis.6850536.jp?articlepage=1

  10. Sean October 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    “My central thesis is that the ERM and EMU are not only inefficient but also undemocratic: a danger not only to our wealth but to our freedoms and ultimately, our peace. The villains of the story – some more culpable than others – are bureaucrats and self-aggrandizing politicians. The ERM is a mechanism for subordinating the economic welfare, democratic rights and national freedom of citizens of the European countries to the will of political and bureaucratic elites whose power-lust, cynicism and delusions underlie the actions of the vast majority of those who now strive to create a European superstate. The ERM has been their chosen instrument, and they have used it cleverly.”

    The Rotten Heart of Europe: Dirty War for Europe’s Money,
    Bernard Connolly (1995)

    Welcome my Lefty friends to the future.

    • Neil October 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

      (Posted in wrong place – reposted below)

  11. Golem XIV October 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    Sean,

    I think Mr Connolly has a lot of very good things to say. BUT it seems to me he sketches out only half of the dark future and seems blind to the rest. He sees a dark agenda in Europe – a desire to over-run sovereignty and do so by economic crisis. Thus doing through crisis what could not be done through the ballot box. I agree taht thst desire has wormed itself to the heart of as it now is.

    What I wonder at with people like Mr Connolly is how they they aparently see so clearly the threat to soverienty and democracy posed by one version of Europe (the corporate financial version) but refuse to see almost the exact same dark agenda in the Anglo-Saxon, Free Market desire for the WTO and its rules.

    They shriek about the dangers of the one but cannot wait to sign up to the latter.

    I have always been intesly suspicious of those little englanders who bleated the loudest about Europe and yet were so keen to sign the GATT agreement that they did so without even a parliamentary debate.

    Now I don’t know Mr Connolly, though he was Global Strategist at AIG. This one fact casts a deep shadow for me over his work, his views, his abilites and even his probity. Sorry – a case of guilty by association until proven innocent.

    The heart of my objection to Mr COnnolly and many of those who complain the loudest about the undemocratic nature of the EU project (And I share this much of their thinking) is that they say nothing about the even more undemocratic and nation subjugating nature of the WTO and the global economic order it works for.

    The answer to this aparent conundrum in Mr Connolly’s work comes from his own pen. He says of the EU that it was set up to be a political opposition to the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ free market hegemony. In this I think he is correct. It seems to me that it also his main and ideological objection to the EU. He does not like it for this reason not becuae it is undemocratic. He is happy with an end to sovereignty – no matter what he may profess – he just wants it to be a Free Market, Anglo-Saxon defined non-democratic fufute.

    So as always it seems to me we partly agree and partly fundamentally disagree.

    Good to hear from you as always Sean.

  12. John Souter October 10, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    I’ve had enough of this – it’s a boring post mortem on a cadaver that had no right to exist in the first place, was fundamentally flawed and toxically contagious during its existence to both the planet and all sentient life that relied on it yet, and this is more dangerous, we seem content to analyse the sequence of flaws and then the possible permutations which may have lead to a ‘better’ ending.

    It doesn’t matter what happens to Dexia – Bank of America -The Popes Piggy-Bank (or the COE’s for that matter) – or the Cleethorpe Building Society, they’re fiddling financial composers and they can grab from the air any amount of any notes they can think of. The subject has no substance other than the pictures the notes induce, it has no restrictions -yesterdays was discordant we’ll try a different mix today…… and another tomorrow; this is definitely better……

    Not until this discordant cacophony invades the ears and distracts the minds of the ordinary people does it serve a purpose and that is to serve false promises as a blind to real misery.

    Enough of the navel gazing analysis – time to construct strategies towards solutions.

    Somehow this coming winter doesn’t conjure up visions of roasting chestnuts and blazing fires for most of us.

    • Neil October 10, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

      Austrian bank Erste reveals billions of sovereign credit default swaps:

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/erste-group-reveals-stunner-reports-billions-previously-undisclosed-underwater-sovereign-cds-wh .

    • Golem XIV October 10, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

      John,

      I think I share your frustrations and your anger. But I don’t think our attempts to understand not just the fundamentals, which are not that complicated, but the very complicated way they are playing out, is just navel gazing.

      I think constructing strategioes towards solutions is what we are doing.

      But on that score it isn’t enough to simply say MMT is the way forward, or to put a tax on property is the key or any of the other solutoins that have been advocated here at one time or another.

      Any and all of the above may be ‘the’ or part of ‘the’ solution. But that doesn’t address how we get there from here. How do we get understand where ‘here’ is or how we get those who still believe the mainstream to see what we can see.

      Getting to the point where you want to shout ‘To the baracades!’ feels decisive but it doesn’t take anyone with you.

      I hope we are doing many things here. First and foremost is providing a first step for those who are just poking their heads out of the sand for the first time. We have to be here for them just as others were there for us.

      We have to be willing to explain what is happening on that day and on the next so they can see beyond the lies.

      We have to understand wheere we are, the nature of the bomb we are strapped to. We have to understand not just what a possible ‘better way’ is, but how we can get to it in the face of oposition.

      We have to think about what would happen if one country adopted the better solution while the rest of the world did not.

      We have to find way s of talking across language barriers and forging a power at the level of people that works against forces which operate internationally.

      None of it may be glamorous or feel like full blooded revolution because it isn’t. It is the hard work that lays the ground upon which a revolution can take root.

      Don’t give up on us now. We need every good mind we can get.

      • richard in norway October 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

        I think that if one country adopted the right solutions it would still go under because the world is so interconnected but also it might provoke an adverse reaction from TPTB. If there are countries that can pursue an independent solution Britain is definitely not one of them, our reliance on the financial services industry makes that impossible. In fact we are in big trouble and another round of global financial meltdown will sink us. I think we will be hearing a lot about “the balance of payments” in the years to come

      • richard in norway October 10, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

        What we need is

        “the global financial crisis for dummies handbook” at least I do, I feel like my head is exploding with so much information which is badly organised

      • John Souter October 11, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

        David -I’ve struggled with this since the mid eighties (“This” is the money thing -everything priced and nothing valued) And I’m knocking nobody, for the simple but sound reason that we, the bewildered herd, have stumbled into the quagmire of idiocy at different times and for different reasons.

        In essence -there are far too many examples to isolate any of them – we have allowed peace to be distorted into a misery of greed. To aspire to greed is a corruption of the human psyche and as such it threatens our species and the world -the only bloody world – and the one life we have to live on it.

        Now I think you know that as do most of the contributors to the blog so I won’t harp on about it. But I will repeat a question i have previously posited -If a development does not benefit the species has it any legitimate purpose?

        And as a rider to that; has the distortion of money beyond a simple means of exchange had a negative or positive effect on our lives?

        You pose the question whether I’m advocating we should man the barricades.
        Metaphorically I suppose I am, though not in the way you suppose.

        In an earlier response to Mr Shigemitsu I suggested we should instigate a bank withdrawal day. I don’t think for a moment such action would cause a further melt-down nor anything more than a minor glitch for the administrators. But if actioned it would draw a line in the sand. A direct connection between the exploiters and the exploited with the exploited telling them their intrusion into our lives has gone too far.

        Enough numbers and it would be a demonstration by queues forming to go about their legitimate business of drawing money from their banks and as such there would be no need to seek permission from the authorities nor attract the herding or brutality usually adopted by the authorities in order to marginalise and frighten those participating.

        Others may have better ideas and strategies but to probably paraphrase a man of wisdom – Good Generals win the war before they fight – in the absence of competent generals either within the governments or the institutions we have to consider our armoury.

    • Paulie Ire October 10, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

      @ John

      I think you are right John, the time for talking is gone, by blogging about the goings on of these merchant bankers we are just kicking the can further down the road same as them. We could sit around and talk for years about it but the only way to change things is action, on this I share your frustrations. As I had said in a previous posted reply to you you have a great ability to step outside the situation and view it with fresh eyes whereas for myself, when I look at what’s going on the complexities of the situation put my head in a spin. I took up reading about this situation about a year ago and before that I had absolutely no clue or interest in politics, government policies, banking or stocks and shares. Do you have any ideas on how this situation can be addressed on a local/national level which is where I presume we are best starting to deal with. The occupy wall street campaign seems to be gaining a bit of support and I saw today that it started 3 days ago at the central bank in Dublin but one problem is the so called free press which should be writing about this and talking of it on radio shows etc have for the most part ignored these protests but then we have only to look at the money behind these to understand why exactly this is the case!
      I’m sure any suggestions that you might have would be at least considered, everything starts from an idea that somebody had in their head at one time!

      • Paulie Ire October 10, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

        Great minds anyone…..!
        Richard, if you get that handbook do share ;-)
        David, every day now it looks like that bomb is going to go off and then someone changes the timer on it! Very frustrating.. You are right though that we need a place to get the most up to date information regularly and for that I thank you

        • Mike Hall October 10, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

          I think we’re still at an early stage yet. The systems of politics, democracy, economics and media are all so badly corrupted, intellectually & otherwise, that they all need to be radically changed.

          This is only going to happen when a critical mass are prepared to call a general strike, get out on the streets (non violently) & stay there until the demand is met for a credible process leading to binding reform, agreed by national/international referendum.

          A decent effort at prescribing that process of achieving radical reform for Ireland has begun here:

          http://www.2nd-republic.ie/site/

          In my view, this site is an important part of getting that critical mass of understanding the determination, need & extent of change. Occupy Wall Street & associated efforts are others are excellent developments. Opposition is growing. If we can all keep up some momentum, it will continue to do so until we succeed.

          • richard in norway October 10, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

            Great campaign

          • richard in norway October 10, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

            I’m reminded of a line in one of terry prattchet books

            Something along the lines of “revolutionaries start off by thinking we have the wrong type of govt but end up realising we have the wrong type of people” I should go and look it up, he is far more elegant than me. But I can’t help but think that the neocons and the MSM are creating the right type of people for their ends, that society has changed over the last 30 years and is still changing and that change is being directed. Any attempt to change the system will fail unless the people are changed or change themselves, this is why I’m so interested in direct democracy because I really believe that having more decision making power and responsibility will change society. I refuse to believe that most of our fellow citizens are too stupid to engage actively with politics after all most bloke can talk for hours about the intricacies of football and that is way more complicated than politics. Sorry I’ve lost my thread now, ill come back to it another time

      • richard in norway October 10, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

        Facebook and Twitter, the Arabs didn’t need MSM

      • John Souter October 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

        Paulie -I’ve replied to David, which may be, or may not be of interest to you.

        One of the major problems facing us is we do not know exactly who or where our enemies are. We have names of banks, businesses and institutions but they’re only sepulchres, who is in real control of the inner temple (if anybody) we don’t know.

        As a people or a nation I believe we should aim our scorn at our governments. It is they who have failed in their responsibilities and pawned our futures.

        We gave them stewardship of vast resources and by dint of mediocrity they’ve squandered them – or and this is even more bewildering – they seem happy to accept they have when in fact nothing has moved or changed in any substantial way other tha chattering zeros on computer screens.

        Problem with these people is the haven’t the wit to master progress. Technology lessens – and it always will – the need for work to be drudgery. Their answer to that is to increase the retirement age and add costs to the potentials and enjoyment of education. They advocate consumption and worship growth for the sake of profit when we should be practising sustainability. But most of all they’ve backed the myth of acting sensible will create misery when in fact the opposite is true.

        Have a go at them Paulie – they have no legitimate authority over you.

  13. 46Martman October 10, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    Interesting article by George Monbiot here

    Reporting on a lecture by Professor Steve Keen who basically says.

    A failure to address these problems will ensure that this crisis will run and run.

    George Monbiot goes on to say

    “But, as Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy demonstrated over the weekend, governments have learnt nothing from this failure, and seek only to repeat it.”

    He goes on to say

    Instead, Keen says, the key to averting or curtailing a second Great Depression is to reduce the levels of private debt, through a unilateral write-off, or jubilee

    This is something that I’ve heard David suggest in previous bloggs.

    So David once again you are ahead of the curve.

    • Mike Hall October 10, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

      A very welcome article by Monbiot & he deserves credit also for recognising & venturing into a topic which must be very much outside his comfort zone.

      The extent of debt & credit in the economy & by extension the size of the casino is something, incredibly, entirely missing from the models of all the key international economic forecasting and advice institutions – the IMF, Washington, OECD, BIS etc. – ALL of them, no exceptions. And the same is true of 99% of the academic edifice too. It really is that bad. This why the mainstream had no clue of impending crisis & with breathtaking hubris have ignored this fact entirely in f*&^ing up any notion of solutions to the recession & onging crisis.

      Interestingly, in his latest blog, Bill Mitchell, advocate of MMT economics, which also foresaw the crisis because it uses precisely the same methodology & knowledge of actual monetary/central bank operations as Keen, has noted, finally, a vague aknowledgement of failure in the work of two BIS economists. Tho’ as they’ve still no clue how, or much inclination, to proceed from there, BIS are determined to continue with the neoliberal script, whilst admitting its ‘theoretical’ (really ideological) basis is deeply flawed to the point of being useless.

      Bill’s blog is here:

      “We will not pay for your crisis”

      http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=16436

      Monbiot also mentions Keen’s debunking of the ‘money multiplier’ myth of M0 base money supply. Precisely what Bill Mitchell & MMT says – bank lending is not reserve constrained, nor do additional reserves figure in banks’ decisions to lend more. It comes down to creditworthy & interested customers. With plunging aggregate demand & all de-leveraging, the only sure fix is to restore growth, ideally targeting money toward consumers directly. And the ones who will most immediately up their spending are the unemployed if restored to employment. As MMT states this is a no cost, no/low inflation no brainer in a massive recession.

      I think a banks’ debt jubilee is likely a good & practical idea & would remove a lot of debt (& debt service) from the system. But a widespread cancellation of most? all? private sector debt is surely a daunting undertaking, practically & politically?

      I think the restoration of growth via a steep reduction of unemployment is a much better short term strategy, together with Marshal Auerback’s ECB ‘financed’ per capita write down of large amounts of eurozone public debt. Once stabilised, banking needs then to be properly reformed, regulated & executives removed, preferably prosecuted.

  14. Neil October 10, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    The George Washington blog has two complementary articles on a possible way ahead, bypassing banks and politicians respectively:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/do-we-need-politicians-or-can-we-cut-out-middleman

    http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/do-we-need-politicians-or-can-we-cut-out-middleman-0 .

    And here’s a reminder of what Iceland achieved:

    http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2011/08/25/why-iceland-shold-be-in-the-news-but-is-not/

  15. Patrick Donnelly October 11, 2011 at 5:34 am #

    Ha! Funny commentators!

    The only way to fix …. is growth! HA!

    Banks depend upon the illusion of growth caused by expansion in credit. We have a far too big FIRE sector! Those jobs must go! The pension theft must stop!

    All the kleptocracy has to go before this will be solved.

    Then we must be careful not to all fictional reserve banking to start again, unless I get massive access to loans…… Or does Golem think there will be growth in this economy????

  16. Sean October 11, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Free Market, now that would be a nice idea, with the rule of law/democracy acting as the anti-trust, but what we are really talking about is free-er markets, no market is without rules, that is the very caricature so often misused. On the whole I dont think its a very good idea to distort prices in anyway whatsoever, be it banks using a feedback loop to generate false property prices or politicians clipping the coins, thus its free markets for me. Not that I dont think they can get it wrong they can but on the whole markets point you in the direction of the truth, the politicos dont.

    It seems to me the left on the whole believe in human perfection, abolish greed, perfect the rules, think progress, history is generally a tragedy I am afraid and so the future will be too. ouch theres that nasty Conservative pessimism again.

    And those evil anglo-saxons hey! the ones who had more a sense of democracy for their time that what had come before, I am sure they would have something to say about Leopold Kohrs cult of bigness, be it a big bank or a big state.

    Sorry not big on the guilt by associations its a very dangerous route to take, be it with Connolly or krugman at Enron, deeds and words need to be judged on their individual merit, on that basis I should ignore him for working for the EU in the first place. I have to fess up I once sat on a plane next to nick leeson.

    If you go to work for the police then you can expect to do police work, so too AIG.

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