How about socialism for the rest of us By William Bowles

By William Bowles
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

15 October, 2008

“Come back Michael Foot, all is forgiven, could be the cry from the (old) Left as – who’d have thought it – the British state seizes the Queen’s overdraft or the state seizes the Queen’s bank account… (yes, Coutts bank, her bank, is part of RBS)” — Channel 4 Email, 13 October, 2008

If it wasn’t so tragic for so many millions of ordinary working folk, it would be laughable to read the corporate press as it pees into its corporate pants. So now we’re reminded endlessly, that ‘we’ own a fair chunk of global finance capital, or at least what’s left of it. Ah- if only that were true, for as we don’t own the state, then these broke-down engines are still in the hands of the political class that rules us and screwed things up in the first place, and who, in their wisdom [sic] have decided to bailout, rescue the banks from the crooks and criminals international (remember BCCI?).

Yet of course, what should be at stake here is whether or not banking, indeed finances in general, should be run purely in the interests of the shareholders or, in the interests of the public, for clearly as the events of the past couple of years demonstrate, when run purely as money-making machines, they screwed up really big time this time. Inevitably, greed gets the better of them, ‘investing’ is after all, nothing but institutionalized gambling with other people’s money. Worse, the ‘money’ they play with ain’t even theirs in the first place.

The con being played out by the ‘lords of the universe’ is doubly insulting to our intelligence; firstly, because the ‘lords’ set it up to play out this way in the first place (and did it right in front of us) and because it reveals so clearly how the con-game works:

The government has a monopoly on the production of money and in turn it hands it out to the crooks who played with funny money with all their weird and wonderful ‘instruments’ until it went belly-up and in the process, walked away oodles of real money. But this real money was actually stolen. It’s like playing Monopoly, winning, then taking the Monopoly money to the bank and exchanging it for real money! and it’s perfectly legal!! You try and do it though…

Meanwhile, because the government has a monopoly on the production of money, ultimately the money has to have some connection to the real economy the rest of us live in. So the massive debts left behind by the crooks and criminals get to be paid with real money, courtesy of us and our future generations, so great is the real debt that’s been run up in our name for chrissakes!

The connection between money and real production is surely obvious: the money in circulation that you and me use, represents wealth created by us, money is a mere convenience, a means of exchanging the products of our labour.

But sitting literally on top of us, are the financial sector of the capitalist class, who have all the rules that govern how the economic system works, rigged to work in their favour.

And because they are playing with such vast sums of money and doing it globally, the impact is correspondingly vast in in its effects. Great when it works, but what a bummer when it doesn’t. All that’s changed is scale of the bust because of how they’ve set it up by globalizing the financial system.

So what we have is a global pyramid scam, with billions of ‘members’ who are now collectively paying for it once the criminals literally fled the scene with the loot. And we’re talking about tens of trillions of dollars that have been stolen from the real economy by the Banks of Crooks and Criminals International (BCCI, one figure puts it at $312 trillion!)

So they screw up and we pay for it until (hopefully) it’s working again and then we give it back to them! Free, gratis and for nothing! What a brilliant system! But then the political class and the capitalist class literally sit down together every day and agree on how to screw the rest of us.

This just in:

Interestingly, he [Gordon Brown] has left behind an evolving discussion over his bank bailout proposals — part of which was not to have any dividends paid until the taxpayer had been paid off.

“It now seems that this is so crippling to the institutions that are being bailed out that the treasury is to make an assessment at the end of each year as to whether dividends should be paid or not.” — Snowmail News, Ch.4 News, 15 October, 2008

Dividend? There you have it, “crippling” but crippling who? Screw the shareholders, in any case, aren’t we the shareholders now? The point is, regardless of who the shareholder is, the financial system is necessary even if only some kind of glorified accounting system. But what we’re witnessing here is the apparently vain struggle on the part of the respective political classes to shore up a system merely to preserve the element that fucked it up in the first place, the capitalists! So the crisis is essentially not a financial crisis but a political one.

But the nerve of it, now the shareholders in all the government-owned institutions are threatening to sell their shares unless they get to keep their dividends!

Rational thought at this point would say, okay, if the state owns the financial system, the banks, insurance and so forth, they can effectively regulate how the system of value creation works. Moreover, we can decide how it works. It’s actually NOT rocket science, in spite of all the politicians flailing about and recognizing finally, that capitalism just can’t hack it and taking it all over.

And just how serious the situation is we need only note that there has been nare a bleat from the ‘usual suspects’ perhaps because of the ‘socialism for the rich’ jibe that has caught on, but then although it isn’t socialism, as we had no say in it, it illustrates the fact that when the shit hits the fan, the capitalist class always runs to its state for assistance.

But the ‘debate’ taking place in public, ignores this fundamental reality. Instead, the media participates in an elaborate charade constructed by the servants of international capital, about ‘rescueing’ the economy.

Of course, the media goes on endlessly about the greed of the traders but conveniently forget that it’s been a succession of governments since those of Reagan and Thatcher that have unleashed this madness on us in the first place, it’s what’s made so few so even richer, and so many even poorer. The stats are all there for anyone to see, not only the growing gap between rich and poor but the sheer numbers whose incomes have fallen drastically over the past thirty years.

“Gap between rich and poor ‘widest in 40 years’
Briton is becoming a segregated society with the gap between rich and poor reaching its highest level for more than 40 years, a report showed today.” — The Independent, Tuesday, 17 July 2007

The ‘crisis’ therefore is a crisis of the capitalist and political classes legitimacy, wholy self-made with ‘eyes wide open’. Compare how they have been forced to deal with the ‘crisis’ this time round. For the fact is, they already had a crisis of political legitimacy to which is now added a crisis of economic legitimacy, thus they are vulnerable and they know it. It’s why the US have a black man running for prez[1]. As I’ve said before it’s a desperate grab to try to regain some legitimacy.

What needs to be made is a concerted effort by the left, indeed by everybody, to force the debate about who owns the economy into the public domain.


1. See Glen Ford: Obama and the Derivatives Merchants


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Capitalism Hits the Fan

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Does the bailout pass the smell test? By Paul Craig Roberts

Ralph Nader to Paulson: Bail out your buddies + Rally & Protest NYC

Marc Faber: US will go bankrupt

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse