In today’s looming confrontation the ratings agencies are playing the political role of “enforcer” as the gatekeepers to credit, to put pressure on Iceland, Greece and even the United States to pursue creditor-oriented policies that lead inevitably to financial crises. These crises in turn force debtor governments to sell off their assets under distress conditions. In pursuing this guard-dog service to the world’s bankers, the ratings agencies are escalating a political strategy they have long been refined over a generation in the corrupt arena of local U.S. politics.
What just happened in the stock market? Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose or fell by at least 400 points for four straight days, a stock market first.
The worst drop was on Monday, 8-8-11, when the Dow plunged 624 points. Monday was the first day of trading after US Treasury bonds were downgraded from AAA to AA+ by Standard and Poor’s.