Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Guest Post: The Staus Quo is Intellectually, Financially and Morally Bankrupt

From Charles Hughes Smith at Of Two Minds blog:

"The financial storm clouds are gathering, ominously darkening the horizon. Though the financial media and the organs of state propaganda continue forecasting blue skies of recovery and rising corporate profits, the factual evidence belies this rosy forecast: internal measures of financial and economic activity are weakening across the globe as the state-central bank solutions to all ills--massive increases in credit creation, leverage and deficit spending--have failed to address any of the structural causes of the 2008 Global Financial Meltdown.

This failure to address the causes of 2008 Global Financial Meltdown is disastrous in and of itself--but the status quo has magnified the coming disaster by scaling up the very causes of the 2008 Global Financial Meltdown: excessive credit expansion, misallocation of capital on a grand scale, an opaque shadow banking system constructed of excessive leverage and a dependence on phantom collateral, i.e. risks and assets that are systemically mispriced to skim stupendous profits for financiers, bankers and their political enablers.

This is what I have called doing more of what has failed spectacularly...

Doing more of what has failed spectacularly--inflating new asset bubbles in housing, stocks and bonds via quantitative easing, obfuscating financial skimming operations with thousands of pages of new regulations, and so on--is the equivalent of pushing an obese, unfit person to run uphill. Rather than repair the system, doing more of what has failed further stresses the system.

But even if the financial system were cleansed of bad debt and phantom collateral, the status quo would remain only partially repaired. For it's not just the financial system that has reached the point of negative return: the entire economic foundation of the developed world--credit-dependent consumerism--is as bankrupt and broken as the financial system that fuels it.

The state's response to this economic endgame is de-personalized welfare, both corporate and individual. When favored sectors can't succeed in the open market, the state enforces cartel-capitalism that enriches the corporations at the expense of the citizenry. When the cartel-state economy no longer creates paying work for the citizenry, the state issues social welfare benefits, in effect paying people to stay home and amuse themselves.

This destroys both free enterprise on the corporate level and the source of individual and social meaning, i.e. the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to one's community, family and trade/skill.

The status quo is thus not just financially bankrupt--it is morally bankrupt as well.

The status quo is as intellectually bankrupt as it is financially bankrupt. Our leadership cannot conceive of any course of action other than central bank credit creation and expanding state control of the economy and social benefits, paid for with money borrowed from future generations."

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