by J. R. Nyquist
Aug. 10, 2007
A financial crash is more than an economic glitch. It leads into dangerous political territory. It can trigger revolutions. Financial distress in the 1780s led to the French Revolution. Financial distress brought the Nazis and Japanese militarists to power before World War II. A financial earthquake may cause a political earthquake. A political earthquake, in turn, can set off a revolution, civil war, or even a world war. This is what history teaches.
It is economic distress that drives the average man to despair. Financial calamity changes his political outlook from cool detachment to naked fear. This signals opportunity to the political opportunist, the fanatic and the demagogue. These will always play on fear. America is a country that has enjoyed prosperity, and this has contributed to political moderation. The center holds as long as the economy runs smoothly. We do not know, however, what the effect of a major crash would have on an ethnically divided welfare society with an aging population supplemented by a rapidly growing foreign work force.
Then there are international and geopolitical consequences: Europe is economically tied to America. Money flows from one country to another, and so does financial trouble. This week the European Central Bank reached for $130 billion in emergency funds. The markets are jittery. Europe is nervous. American real estate prices are falling. There are growing losses connected with U.S. mortgages. The solution of lower U.S. interest rates is not an option because of Chinese threats to sink the dollar.
h/t: Speaking Truth to Power
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