Sunday, August 2, 2015

Money Power

Shortly after I began this blog the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) dramatically changed and narrowed my focus. My early posts were about the incipient shifts in geopolitics that were surfacing in the superficially unipolar world the collapse of the Soviet system had bequeathed us. Systems as expressed in geopolitics and the tectonics of socio-political infrastructures had always been my framework for trying to sort out world events, but the GFC underscored the power of a particular system. It may be the deepest extant system and is itself coterminous with civilization: it is money. I've devoted a series of posts to what money is and a few more to how it works. And I've quoted Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild, whether apocryphally or not I don't really care: "permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws" because it captures the megalomania of those charmed by the devils legerdemain with the invisible, insidious, enervating and up to the point of physical violence, omnipotent power of money.

These posts again and again I fear have failed to impress people with the dangerousness of money power to anywhere near the degree they should distrust it. The weaponization of finance as deployed by the US in the "Global War On Terror" (GWOT), first against the failing states where Al Qaeda festered, then against Iran and Venezuela and now against Russia, has evolved since 2001 into a bold and entirely unselfconscious financial imperialism that struts and pontificates a hollow morality in the absence of similarly lethal opposing alternatives, alternatives it systematically undermines wherever it divines their bloom. Is it any wonder the Pope himself has weighed in against it? While the Bretton Woods system which underpinned the prosperity both here  and abroad in the years 1946 to 1971 was subtlety transformed with Nixons shift to fiat money, the politics of the system retained it's New Deal ethos until the Supreme Court threw the 2000 election and Imperialism finally came home to roost. The decomposing residue of prestige earned with the post war global roll out of the New Deal, an effort sustained mostly in resistance to the totalitarian perversion Stalin imposed on juvenile communism in Russia, is now sloughing off, revealing the reptile skin of the anti-humanist leviathan Western Capitalism has become.

Without the Soviet sustenance of its better angles this system has proven incapable of containing the psychotic avarice of those who lust for power through money. Let's take this moment to build a new mythology from the tragedy Greece has become. Through this clear manifestation of the money psychosis, where the lethal power of money is on full display, let the liquidated cradle of democracy stand as a parable on the evils of money power: the democratically elected government of a supposedly sovereign European nation, which nation first practiced representative government, has been publicly, deliberately and humiliatingly enslaved by a claque of unelected bankers subject to an assortment of socio-pathologies that assuage their consciences for what may turn out to be genocidal acts: at a minimum they are political acts, which to achieve results, casually threaten a Greek genocide. This is precisely the banal evil of which Hanna Arendt warned: collective rectitude in adherence to an ideology physically and temporally removed from its deadly consequences leaving those consequences conveniently and willfully ignored.

By denying liquidity to a modern industrial society, these bankers have threatened that population with extermination by starvation and in so
doing blackmailed Greek politicians into abandoning their mandate and the very principal of consent of the governed. While the betrayal by these politicians is reprehensible, the extortion by the Troika is in fact a genocidal threat: no one knows what the final implications for 10 million people are of the sudden suspension of the monetary system, but without money and the trade it causes, distribution and survival come quickly into question. It can be a matter of weeks or months, no one really knows, let us hope we do not find out. That no one in the Troika can see the existential implications for millions of actual people, or worse, that they see it and don't care, testifies to the socio-pathology of Western banking institutions: the reification of the entry on the debit ledger has more reality to these sociopaths than the populations who will starve without access to markets. If this does not pique their conscience, one hopes some future judgement along the lines of Arendt's on Eichman will.

In the context of a continent with an ongoing refugee problem, itself the result of an internal American perversion of money power (see below), a refugee problem that deeply implicates Greece who's disproportionately long shore line mops up more than its fair share of water borne refugees, the ECB, IMF and EC have decided it is appropriate to threaten to deprive the 10 million people already at the center of this disaster and the brink of starvation with the suspension of the very means of subsistence. Because previous Greek governments known the world over for corruption took on debts from the banks of other European governments not yet so recognized (though thoroughly exposed by events now), these EU institutions think it is appropriate to impoverish the citizens of Greece knowing full well this will solve nothing and in solving nothing institutionalize moral hazard at the core of the Euro: Greece is being destroyed to shelter failed bond investors from losses, nothing less and nothing more. One can only conclude that a coup by the monetary authorities has taken place with the intent of governing through financial extortion. The point is to intimidate the French, the Italians and Spaniards, to impress upon them that Euro debt is more sacred than sovereignty, liberty or life itself. Ideology prevents the ability to even imagine that others might glean a different lesson, that policy induced famine might not be good politics.

After its judicial coup in 2000, when attacked by terrorists the American "deep state" recognized an opportunity to create self justifying and potentially infinite revenue streams for its constituency, the now mature and metastasized Military Industrial Complex Eisenhower warned of sixty years ago.  Understanding the nature of fiat money within the armature of the Bretton Woods system, a policy of continuous and unlimited low level warfare through proxies and contractors was conceived and implemented. It was rationalized politically by the GWOT, a so called "war" against a tactic rather than a definable enemy, making a beginning and end impossible to identify, and thus supporting a permanent revenue stream of lucrative government spending channeled to involved multinationals, most in some way affiliated with Dick Cheney. Fiat money was thus re-channeled from its flows as a public good for public purpose into perpetual profit streams from "war". With the subsequent onset of the GFC the payments system itself was re-conceived, first as a tool to reify the US debit ledger where no creditor would ever need fear a loss again (so long as they were TBTF) and then as a tool of political coercion. Tools developed to pressure states that sponsored or tolerated anti-American terror organizations were re-deployed against our major geo-political competitors, Russia and Iran and lesser interests like Peru and Venezuela where real alternatives were being considered.

These tools the US developed for the GWOT have been deployed by the Troika on a constituent government. It is a government the Troika supposedly, and by treaty, represents and because of that "representation" has been able to treat vastly more brutally than anything the US could muster towards its sworn adversaries. Greece, a constituent nation of the EU, has been attacked financially with exponentially greater viciousness than any we've mustered for our geopolitical enemies with whom we are at actual war through proxies in Ukraine and the Middle East.  Before the last months drama, Greece already suffered 25% unemployment, which condition has only worsened, and those Greeks who do work, work longer hours than anyone in Europe, a great deal more than Germans, the citizens of a nation that has had it's debt forgiven twice in the last hundred years and forms the epicenter of malice towards Greece and its debts. With the actions of the Troika, its withdrawing liquidity support in the payments system, Greece is now in collapse from a staggeringly depressed starting point, an outcome US authorities can only envy as compared to their own weaponized finance failures in Russia and Iran.

The willingness of unelected European authorities to use the liquidity of a subject region as a baldly political tool to punish political ideas there at odds with those of banking authorities is as naked and brutal an act of power as anything the world has witnessed since Mao's Great Leap Forward. It is so extreme as to fairly be compared to shutting off the water system while embargoing the delivery of water: Greece is a modern, urban industrial civilization, its people lack direct access to the means of subsistence and gather their subsistence through the monetary system by purchasing what they need to live, much of it imported: without the liquidity Mario Draigi has decided to withhold the entire system stops. Deprived of access to the Euro through its banks, the water could just as well have been cut off: deprived of the liquidity support, Greek banks lose the ability to finance exports who's revenue is the necessary condition for funding imports, effectively embargoing the nation. In the absence of money there are no markets and production and distribution come to a stop. Human need is not so easily shut down, but famine worked in Ireland and India for Great Brittan, apparently Merkel and Schaubel think it can work for Germany now in Greece.

I compare this to the Great Leap Forward because it is the kind of devastatingly arrogant application of power that can only be countenanced within states: any external state so treated would consider it an act of war and respond accordingly as Russia has. The tardy sniping at the Troika coming now from Washington does at least suggest that dismantling a government in the crossed threads of a refugee crisis, an Orthodox religious affiliation with Russia, a key transhipment and port in the Mediterranean, an historical smuggling route at the tip of the Balkan peninsula who's main modern export has been European wars (and not all that far from Ukraine), may not be such a great idea. Let us hope that if the Germans achieve their punitive aim the US Sixth Fleet will provide Greek disaster relief: this would clarify to everyone what the respective roles of the units of the American Empire actually are. While it is churlish to criticize German bankers for their moral failures as compared to the self licking death flavored ice cream cone that is the US occupation of Iraq and the GWOT, American bankers have as yet been prevented by decorum in DC from inducing famines here, though not from lack of trying.

The new Greek mythology, that debts must be paid, is at the point of fouling the foundational Western mythology that we are the defenders of Freedom: how exactly does reducing a 3,000 year old nation and the founder of Western Democracy to slavery for the crimes of corrupt politicians and corrupt or incompetent (or both) foreign bankers constitute a defense of freedom? Remember, for every bad debt, there was ipso facto bad prior underwriting and bond investors set the rate they are willing to pay in their bids to purchase bonds, that rate being the premium they demand to accept RISK. The Greek myth is that money is neutral, a falsehood that cannot be sustained in the face of the German enslavement of Greece through pure money power. Hence my hope for the Sixth Fleet. Will the West insist on its foundational myth of Freedom? It remains to be seen. If it does then the new Greek mythology will be that Western institutions remain capable of addressing crisis to restore the feedbacks between politics and economics and sustain their Capitalist system. If it does not the new Greek myth will be that Money Power is the new Chronos of the West that like his ancient Greek predecessor will begin devouring his children. For better or worse, myths organize our moral heuristics to address an incomprehensible world. Let us hope the myth of freedom prevails.

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