"Escaping The Clutches Of Financial Markets" - An Essay On Europe's Debt-For-Democracy Prepackaged Bankruptcy

Tyler Durden's picture

A must read essay from Dirk Kurbjuweit, posted earlier in Der Spiegel

Escaping the Clutches of the Financial Markets

In today's Europe, the people are no longer in
control. Instead, politicians have become slaves to financial
institutions and the markets. We are partly to blame -- and changes are
urgently needed to nurse European democracy back to health.

We are doing well. In fact, we're doing splendidly. The economy is
booming, with 1.5 percent growth in the first quarter. We are as
prosperous as we were before the crisis, which has finally been
overcome. Congratulations are in order for everyone.

The banks, Deutsche Bank above all, deserve particular congratulations.
In the first quarter, it earned €3.5 billion ($5.1 billion) in pretax
profits in its core business, and by the end of the year the bank will
likely report a record €10 billion in pretax profits, its best results
ever. That number is expected to rise to €11 billion or even €12 billion
in two or three years.

Less than three years after the peak of the crisis, it seems as if it
never happened. That is true of the economy, but it also true of us as
economic subjects. But is that all we are?

No, we are also citizens and participants in a democratic society. As
such, we have no reason to be celebrating. Instead, we ought to be sad
and outraged. Democracy, after all, is not doing splendidly, or even
well. It is gradually becoming a casualty of the financial crisis.

Rage Directed at Politicians

Trouble is brewing all over Europe. Young people with little hope for
the future are protesting in Spain. In France, 1.4 million copies were
sold of a manifesto titled "Be Outraged." Young Frenchmen and -women are
devising utopias that extend well beyond civil society because they no
longer expect anything from it. A deep depression has descended upon
Greece, combined with a rage directed at politicians and the rest of
Europe.

In Germany, this is what politicians are hearing from their citizens
today: "You spent billions to rescue the banks, and now I'm supposed to
be footing the bill? Forget it!" Hardly anyone is willing to put up with
their politicians any more. And German leaders have lost support -- and
some of their own legitimacy.

They seem helpless, unable to come to grips with the euro crisis.
They meet in Brussels, and they talk, argue and adopt resolutions, and
yet nothing improves. Greece isn't getting out of its hole, Ireland and
Portugal are teetering on the brink, and Spain and Italy are heavily
indebted to a dangerous degree. And no politician is providing
leadership.

And then there were the lies. Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister
of Luxembourg, had his spokesman deny that a meeting of European Union
finance ministers on the Greek crisis was taking place, even though that
meeting was in fact taking place. It wasn't the kind of lie that
frequently crops up in politics: the broken campaign promise. Rather, it
was more crass type of untruth: the denial of a reality. Juncker no
longer had the courage to speak the truth. He was guided by fear of the
financial markets. His lie was a capitulation of politics.

Things Will Have to Change

This is what is so disturbing about the current situation: the fact that
politicians seem so helpless and powerless. They have been given a new
master, and it's not us, the people, who tend to intervene in milder
ways. Rather, it's the ruthless financial markets. The markets drive
politicians even further into anxiety, weakness, incapacity and lies.
Those who govern us are now being governed by the banks. That's the
situation.

We could decide that we don't care because the economic figures are
so good. But that would mean we are happy to play the role of the
economic subject, to invest and spend money, all the while abandoning
the original promise of democracy. Or we can say: We refuse to
relinquish our role and political masters. But if that's our decision,
things will have to change.

How has this happened? What are the consequences? And how do we extricate ourselves from this situation?

 

The Reasons: Greed and a Dissolute Lifestyle

Would it be erroneous to say that those who are now at the top are the
ones who caused the whole disaster in the first place? That would
include Deutsche Bank, whose CEO, Josef Ackermann, has just announced
such magnificent financial figures. When Ackermann was asked how
concrete the bank's willingness is to contribute to solving the crisis, a
November article in the German financial daily Handelsblatt says
he replied by saying the issue is taking a "very unfortunate turn at
the moment." The markets, Ackermann added, have reacted negatively to
this debate. His remarks could be seen as a threat: Those who make
demands will quickly find themselves up against the banks.

At Deutsche Bank's annual meeting last Thursday, Ackermann crowed
that the bank was in the process of "bringing in the harvest." But the
harvest of what? And from what seed? Investment banking alone is
expected to contribute €6 billion to the anticipated €10 billion in
annual profits. Have we already forgotten that excessively greedy
investment banking triggered the financial crisis in the first place?

Deutsche Bank played a key role in that process. The United States
government is suing a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, accusing it of
pursuing "reckless mortgage lending practices." Yet Ackermann continues
to shape policy worldwide. As one of the major players on the financial
markets, he is partly responsible for determining whether and under what
conditions nations can borrow money.

The rating agencies also continue to participate in world politics,
seemingly unperturbed as they issue credit ratings on which the fate of
entire nations hinge because they determine the interest rates for
government bonds. Belgium is in danger of losing its AA+ rating, and
Fitch Ratings has just revised its outlook on Belgium from "stable" to
"negative." Have we already forgotten that the big rating agencies were
partly responsible for the financial crisis because of their positive
valuations of bundles of assets that contained toxic securities?

Blame and Brazenness

So this is what the new masters look like. They were substantially to
blame for part one of the financial crisis and is being brazen in part
two. They are extremely jumpy, greedy and only interested in numbers.
Those numbers inform the way they control and drive politics.

But why do politicians allow themselves to be controlled and driven?
Why don't they simply shake off the unforgiving dominance of the
financial markets? The answer is that they can't because the political
world is dependent on the banks, and it has only itself to blame. Greece
would not have fallen into the maelstrom of the financial crisis if it
hadn't been deeply in debt. Greece has borrowed more money than it can
handle, and it constantly needs to borrow even more. It has become
addicted to credit because of its own dissolute lifestyle. As a result,
the country has become a pawn of rating agencies, interest rates and the
calculations of men like Ackermann.

In principle, this applies to all countries in the euro zone,
including Germany. Although the German finance minister can easily
service all loans, he too is dependent on ratings, interest rates and
Ackermann's calculations. Through the euro, Germany is entangled with
Greece, Ireland and Portugal, and its own financial situation isn't
spectacular enough to eliminate all concerns. The German government
cannot simply do what it thinks best. It must constantly take pains to
avoid being pulled into the maelstrom itself.

The Clutches of the Markets

Now, policies of immoderation -- the urge to impose as few burdens as
necessary on citizens while giving them as much as possible -- is
coming home to roost. Such policies gave us a high standard of living;
but now, partly as a result of the euro, it has delivered us into the
clutches of the financial markets.

As such, it isn't just the banks that are at fault for the current
disaster. Politicians also deserve their share of the blame. But that
isn't the whole story either. We, the citizens, are also culpable. Don't
we expect high returns from financial institutions, and don't we expect
a smaller tax burden from the government while receiving generous
subsidies and social benefits?

In other words, the financial and euro crisis are a reflection of our
own wishes. We play a role in the behavior of banks and politicians
because they also seek to fulfill our wishes so that they can win us
over as customers or voters.

 

Consequences: Dangers to Democracy

The public is becoming mistrustful of politicians. Citizens feel treated
unfairly when politicians fulfill the banks' wishes with billions in
bailouts while ignoring the wishes of citizens. Why does the German
government buy up 25 percent of ailing Commerzbank, but not 25 percent
of a struggling bakery around the corner or of that other cash-strapped
enterprise, the family with three children? One could say that it's
because Commerzbank is so large and important to the financial system --
too big to fail -- but that doesn't alleviate our discomfort with an
unfair situation.

The power of the executive in Germany, the Chancellery, is increasing
at the expense of the legislative, the Bundestag. Chancellor Angela
Merkel pushed the first bank bailout package through the country's two
houses of parliament, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, in only five
days. The chancellor is pursuing a policy she says is "without an
alternative," negotiating bailout packages with the other European Union
leaders that the Bundestag is expected to rubber-stamp.

But alternatives are vital to a democracy, as is discussion, correct
policy and a parliament that keeps the government in check. But all of
this is lost in the constant pursuit of new bailout packages.

Worse than Ever

Yet even as governments gain power relative to national parliaments,
they don't have the strength to stabilize the euro. After each meeting
in Brussels, the crisis takes a small break. But then it re-emerges,
worse than ever before.

One could see the whole thing as a duel between politicians and the
financial markets -- but if it is, the politicians aren't looking good.

The economy has all the advantages. Financial companies are not
obligated to serve the general good. They are under no pressure to
legitimize their actions, they operate in a secretive way, and they
pursue a clear goal that they are wildly determined to achieve: high
yields.

Politics, by contrast, particularly on the European level, is
cumbersome. National leaders must legitimize their actions and reconcile
conflicting interests and goals, and they must do so under the watchful
eye of the public. They grapple doggedly over the euro, and sometimes
things get ugly. But they are almost never successful.

Besides, democracy is based on the word. Without free speech and the
open exchange of views and ideas, democracy is impossible. Secrecy is
the domain of authoritarian states. But at the moment, European
politicians cannot speak openly about one of their most important
issues, the euro. All it takes is a few words uttered by a finance
minister for the banks to react with the extreme sensitivity. They
immediately shift billions in assets, often to the detriment of entire
nations. Words have become expensive, and that makes them dangerous.

Seeking Refuge in Lies

As a result, politicians are watching what they say. Pretty much
everyone recognizes that it would be fair to involve the banks in the
rehabilitation of Greece. But hardly any politicians dare to pursue such
a course with any consistency.

The banks and investment firms now play the role once held by the
gods. Hardly anyone dares to criticize them, and fear of their wrath
guides the behavior of politicians. Many are reluctant to speak frankly,
while others seek refuge in lies.

Under such conditions, democracy has lost its dignity. And that is
dangerous. The foundation of any dictatorship is the tacit or open
threat of violence against citizens. Their fear supports the system. The
basis of democracy is respect among citizens. Their approval supports
the system. If this approval disappears, democracy crumbles.

 

Solutions: Humility and Dignity

The task now is that of regaining the primacy of politics -- a job for everyone.

The banks have no reason to be boastful. They were saved, and they
owe their survival to politicians. If politicians had not acted in 2008,
possibly even more banks would have collapsed. Now the financial
industry must do its part to rescue endangered nations. A lender is
partly responsible for a borrower being too heavily in debt. If a debt
haircut becomes necessary, decency demands that the banks relinquish a
portion of their claims without complaint. Their role is that of
participants, not of supervisors and criminal judges. Humility is
required.

Politicians should impose tougher rules on the banks so that the
worst excesses of investment banking are no longer possible. Something
has already been done, but it isn't enough. The best solution would be
an international transaction tax.

Politicians should also liberate themselves from the embrace of the
banks. This is only possible if the practice of taking on massive debt
finally comes to an end. Only a largely debt-free nation is a sovereign
nation. The debt brake is a good instrument, but it would be even better
if it were supplemented by a general awareness that high government
debt is inappropriate -- because it undermines democracy and shifts the
economic burden to future generations.

As far as the euro is concerned, a two-pronged strategy is needed.
European governments should do what it takes to rescue the euro. They
should show solidarity with Greece and the other countries that are now
struggling. This costs money, and it requires a smarter,
better-coordinated and smoother approach than in the past.

How Do We See Ourselves?

At the same time, it's important to make it clear that Europe is more
than the euro. If Greece doesn't manage to stay in the euro zone, it
will not be the end of the European Union. The project is bigger than
money. It's also a political and cultural project, but unfortunately it
had an economic bias from the start. It's time for politicians to fix
that.

Which brings us to the citizens, to ourselves. How do we see
ourselves? Is it the image that the banks have: that our biggest concern
is achieving high returns on our investments? Is it the image of the
Free Democratic Party (FDP): that we want to pay as little tax as
possible? Is it the image of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the
Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens and the Left Party: that we
are happy with the greatest possible distribution of wealth? All of
these images portray the citizen as Homo oeconomicus, as economic
creatures first and foremost. Can this be true? Is that who we are? If
we were merely driven by money, we could just as well live in an
authoritarian state, as long as we were productive, a state that
guarantees our prosperity, like Singapore, the United Arab Emirates or
China.

Democracy was originally a project of the somewhat affluent who
wanted political influence so that they could shape their own lives.
That's why they made themselves into the sovereign power. This idea is
still seductive today. It removed people from the role of the economic
subject that strives for things and is productive, but has no say in the
way things are run. It was only when humankind took responsibility for
the whole that dignity and sovereignty were obtained. And to remain
sovereign -- or to become sovereign again -- we must consider our
responsibility for the whole when taking action and making demands.

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JW n FL's picture

JP Morgan’s “Jamie Dimon” says 100’s Municipalities in U.S. Won’t ‘Make It’ Out of Debt Crisis “Bloomberg” http://bloom.bg/gDo4Wb

******************************************************

Europe will as well be loaned against in a 1st position.. thusly foreclosed and sold off to the highest bidder!

 

Privatize the World Bitchez!!

Alcoholic Native American's picture

Time to start selling off public lands and infrastructure.  Bring the mercs back home for Operation Austerity.

 

Privatize the world indeed.  

 

Dan The Man's picture

 

Didn't Thomas Jefferson predict all this?

btw...great man

ihedgemyhedges's picture

Jefferson was a little late.  It's long been known that the pursuit and worship of money and riches run counter to the benefit of mankind.  I present Matthew 6:24:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

asdasmos's picture

Excellent. More scripture from nomadic, hallucinogenic drifters of the ancients.

JW n FL's picture

if you liked him you will love this!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPWH5TlbloU

 

how about some love for the literary license taken? in the name of "We the People"? Please? Pretty Please?? Against the Bankers??? Please?

ihedgemyhedges's picture

Junk me if you want, but the point is simple: Politicians and bankers both worship money.  Mankind is an afterthought.  You're seeing the results.  So go junk yourself................

JPG101's picture

I didn't junk you but am sick of this religious stuff...

iNull's picture

Isn't obeissance to the Fed a form of religion? And a denominational one at that?

Michael's picture

The kickoff to the downward slide of America really began in earnest with the Act of 1871 when the people became vassals and serfs for the corporation known as THE FEDERAL United States CORPORATION.

"With no constitutional authority to do so, Congress creates a separate form of government for the District of Columbia, a ten mile square parcel of land (see, Acts of the Forty-first Congress," Section 34, Session III, chapters 61 and 62). 

The act -- passed when the country was weakened and financially depleted in the aftermath of the Civil War -- was a strategic move by foreign interests (international bankers) who were intent upon gaining a stranglehold on the coffers and neck of America. 

Congress cut a deal with the international bankers (specifically Rothschilds of London) to incur a DEBT to said bankers. Because the bankers were not about to lend money to a floundering nation without serious stipulations, they devised a way to get their foot in the door of the United States.

The Act of 1871 formed a corporation called THE UNITED STATES. The corporation, OWNED by foreign interests, moved in and shoved the original Constitution into a dustbin. With the Act of 1871, the organic Constitution was defaced -- in effect vandalized and sabotage -- when the title was capitalized and the word "for" was changed to "of" in the title."

"THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is the constitution of the incorporated UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

It operates in an economic capacity and has been used to fool the People into thinking it governs the Republic. It does is not! 

Capitalization is NOT insignificant when one is referring to a legal document. This seemingly "minor" alteration has had a major impact on every subsequent generation of Americans. 

What Congress did by passing the Act of 1871 was create an entirely new document, a constitution for the government of the District of Columbia, an INCORPORATED government. This newly altered Constitution was not intended to benefit the Republic. It benefits only the corporation of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and operates entirely outside the original (organic) Constitution.

Instead of having absolute and unalienable rights guaranteed under the organic Constitution, we the people now have "relative" rights or privileges. One example is the Sovereign's right to travel, which has now been transformed (under corporate government policy) into a "privilege" that requires citizens to be licensed. 

By passing the Act of 1871, Congress committed TREASON against the People who were Sovereign under the grants and decrees of the Declaration of Independence and the organic Constitution."

UNITED STATES is a Corporation - There are Two Constitutions - Sovereignty

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVsMUpPgdT0 

Milestones's picture

Thanks for the interesting post!         Milestones

JW n FL's picture

if you search here in zerohedge, the search engine here.. you will find stories from last year on the FED Corporation.. the interesting part was that the earnings of land sales and leases is not shown anywhere on any report that the Government puts out for public consumption.

 

the reality that even Tyler would not touch that one even though I posted it over and over again.. made me think amybe I should shut my big mouth!

 

but the Corporation that is the United States of America shows no P&L for land leases / sales / mineral rights and anything you can think of.. oil leases? gold leases? participation agreements? NOTHING!

 

so this Corp that is the U.S. is the tip of a very large, profitable iceberg that no one ever gets to see.

 

Kind of like the FED's Gold being worth $42 dollars an oz.!

iNull's picture

The Bayreuthian fat lady is about to sing as this epic Capitalist Ring Cycle draws to a close. Any bets on whether the bratwurst and pilsner-bloated audience has the common courtesy to wait for the curtain call or storms the exits for the nearest vomitorium as soon as the house lights come up?

Conrad Murray's picture

Spiegel is really stirring the shit lately, I like it.

This is what is so disturbing about the current situation: the fact that politicians seem so helpless and powerless. They have been given a new master, and it's not us, the people, who tend to intervene in milder ways. Rather, it's the ruthless financial markets.

Might have to be a little careful though, as this seems familiar Germany. Where have I heard this before?

Anyhow, this is an excellent article overall. Starting to touch on some of the concepts that really matter at the end of it. Hope to see more. Name more names, and expand on the cornerstones of classical liberalism.

P.S. - This article is going to drive the left-leaning statists crazy. The second section screams "Glenn Beck was right". Someone should make a YouTube video of that.

Fix It Again Timmy's picture

It seems that everyone is falling for the "easy sell" and "what's in it for me."  The reason may be that from your local, small town police department purchasing the latest SWAT tactical gear to the United States Congress throwing billions at dubious weapons systems, people making budget decisions on how tax dollars are spent are relentlessly pressured and REWARDED to buy these gadgets.  It's time for these yokels to say "F" it, we're spending money on healthcare, education and infrastructure improvements, take these gadgets and shove them up your ass and get the hell out of my office.  Boy, am I ever dreaming or what?

I am Jobe's picture

Agreed. Govt is getting ready as they know the future which is bleak and want to ensure they are in control. As for the crappy IPHONES and crap, screw the crap and start building and creating value and bring back manufacturing.

CH1's picture

screw the crap and start building and creating value

THAT is the right answer.

Michael Victory's picture

Democracy.

Where everyone has been bought.

On the grill tonight..

 

AgShaman's picture

Time to construct some floats for a parade to be driven into Washington D.C.

All of the floats should have the same structures built and fixed upon them....a little hint for the traitors serving in our Legislative Branch of govt....in case they are curious to know what they are deserving in the near future.

Here's a hint of what the themes of each float would be:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kBX0K9nxPc&feature=related

 

Onohymagin's picture

Plus Guillotines, Gas chambers, maybe a nice electric chair.

Actually, would send a challenge to the banksters in a very public way.

AgShaman's picture

Good Idea.....thanks

Guillotines, Gas Chambers, and Gallows

Call it a "G-3 Summit" for Banksters and Politicos

(ie: Do the right thing or not....the hour is already too late....some choices should have consequences)

Raymond K Hessel's picture

I say it's time to reverse the flow of power from the federal govts of the world and have it start with local governments.  The politicians and the banksters have been able to wreak all this havoc because so much power is concentrated in national govt.  This guy is right about how all this could end in some Cultural Revolution like in China or Reign of Terror in France.  It's time for a change and I think what I've come to call the Home Rule Amendment is a way out.

A homerule amendment, making municipal govts more relevant than state governments, and state governments the back stop. No federal intervention on domestic issues.  Call it Tenth Amendment on Steroids.  Basically the idea is to reduce the federal government's influence from domestic policy as much as possible.

With a homerule amendment, municipal laws supercede state laws.

The problem includes the federal income tax.  No matter where you go, there it is.  Limit the income tax with a homerule amendment.

Here's the Tenth Amendment:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Here's the Homerule Amendment:
*       Section 1. The tenth article of the amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
*       Section 2. The sixteenth article of the amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
*       Section 3. The fourth clause of paragraph nine of Article 1 is hereby repealed.
*       Section 4. No direct tax on income shall be collected from the people by the United States, or by States individually.  Municipalities may levy direct taxes on income from the people.
*       Section 5. Municipalities may reserve powers to themselves not prohibited by the Constitution, superceding federal and state powers.  Remaining powers not delegated to individual States, are reserved to the United States, or to the people.

Comments:
*       Section 1 repeals the tenth amendment since the homerule amendment is meant to improve it.
*       Section 2 repeals the income tax amendment
*       Section 3 repeals the direct tax prohibition
*       Section 4 limits income tax authority to municipalities
*       Section 5 is the meat of the homerule amendment intended to give municipalities power over the state government and state govt power over the federal govt.

++++ If you agree, please forward to your friends. ++++

++++ If you can, please try to improve it.  I don't pretend to be a lawyer. ++++

 

Mr.Kowalski's picture

Hessel: I'll go ya one further. How about dividing the nation into 435 states (now called Congressional Districts) and give them very wide authority-- all things save the currency,war powers, foreign policy and trade agreements. Instead of having too many layers of goverment, how about just federal and state ? 

CH1's picture

A step in the right direction.

How about 310 million jurisdictions?

Imminent Collapse's picture

Der Spiegel has been frontrunning the European reporting.  Finally, a magazine with balls.

Pure Evil's picture

This smells of UN Agenda 21 urine reeked lavatories. "An international transaction tax"?

So, who exactly gets to collect and then ultimately spend this international transaction tax, and on what?

The UN has been proffering up this garbage for the past few years as a way of garnering an income stream for its delusional utopian fantasies.

I'm amazed how he threw that little diddy out there about international transaction taxes, but did little to expound on how the tax monies would be used or by whom.

Of course, as we all know, taxes on corporations, even international banks, are heaped upon the taxpayes to pay. What a way to stealthly steal one's sovereignty and give it to the Internationals.

And, by the way, we're supposed to be a representative government, and not a democray.

Raymond K Hessel's picture

Exactly, I've been saying to my friends that we are not in a democracy.  They look at me like I'm nuts.  There should be a test for citizenship.

Pure Evil's picture

From Wiki:

"direct democracy where the people do not elect representatives to vote on their behalf but vote on legislation and executive bills in their own right."

But, of course, our system of a central government is more based upon the Roman model of governance, namely a representative government.

To put it more succinctly, a representative government allows the governed to remain ignorant of the political class' shenanigans.

dolly madison's picture

I have been thinking lately that it might be worth a try to do direct democracy for awhile.  I have never seen an initiative in California go wrong.

StychoKiller's picture

Bwahahahaha!  Guess someone poked out your eyes! :>D

topcallingtroll's picture

America will never allow an international tax. Even obamao, our most socialist president in history, would never dare propose it.

Even a semi disguised private version called carbon credits is dead now.

baby_BLYTHE's picture

He is a fascist, not a socialist. Just like Bush and every president since Kennedy.

Diogenes's picture

A Fascist is a socialist. Fascism = national socialism. Communism = international socialism. I thought everybody knew that.

AnAnonymous's picture

America will never allow an international tax.

 

Yep. It explains why the US will never let the USD achieve world reserve currency status as it would mean it to become an international tax.

US citizens, redefining meanings of words every day, when slavery is freedom and never is already. So fine.

The US citizen nature is eternal.

Atomizer's picture

Codex alimentarius. Achoo. I must contact the CDC. Think I'm coming down with the NDM-1 E-Coli strain. I've got to log off now, if I sneeze again, might shit my pants. LOL

See everyone tomorrow. Good night.

topcallingtroll's picture

He had one important sentence in that article when he said that people and countries with large debts lose their freedom.

Dont deficit finance on a sovereign level. Governments are too stupid to be trusted with deficit spending, even if in theory countercyclical spending is a good idea.

Mr.Kowalski's picture

The "End Game" for Greece will come when there are enough protests, riots and strikes so as to make the place essentially ungovernable-- at which point the Greek Army steps in and tells foreign creditors that the needs of the Greek people come first. 

Learn more and know less's picture

I hope we don't end up with armies back on the streets in Athens, and other southern European capitals. 

There must be a more strategic way to protest than standing in squares shouting slogans, refusing to pay on public transport etc.

In the UK truckers were able to bring the country to it's knees in less than a week, forcing the government to give into their demands, (lower fuel tax), just by blockading the largest fuel terminal for the country.

Is there any similar way for a popular movement of citizens to hit the TBTF banksters where it hurts? 

 

steve from virginia's picture

Once a few politicians and bankers are hanged from lampposts ... problem solved!

:)

Position alert: long pitchforks and brands.

JW n FL's picture

Long; Rope!

 

Long; Tar and Feathers!

 

Long; Duct Tape!

Mr.Kowalski's picture

One of the problems of a Greek "debt exchange" would be the effect this has on the ECB itself, which holds tens of billions in both Greek bonds and Greek bank debt. It might also trigger credit default swaps, lthough it does look like this would be a "voluntary" program. But who could volunteer for that-- unless there are German (or ECB) guarantees on the new bonds ? 

topcallingtroll's picture

It is interesting that europeans who blamed the debt crises on the usa are finding out about incredible levels of corruption, waste, hidden debt, fraud, and a debt problem much bigger than in the usa.

Of course we have kalifornia and illinois. Our shit is just a tiny bit less stinky.

Looks like we are going to make it after all! Obamao is a one term president and the tea party will kill entitlements. We can be reborn as the hardworking productive nation we used to be.

I so miss the early 20th century, except the botulism. It was truly the spirit of america.

serotonindumptruck's picture

"I so miss the early 20th century, except the botulism."

Damn, bro. You must be really old. :-)

Regardless, it's not cool taking cheap shots at the anaerobic bacteria like that. Those nasty critters have been around for a few billion years. Maybe they have more of a right to be here than we do.

Xavier Doe's picture

Other than the sour note about an "international transaction tax" - which was thrown in hastily and without buildup - thumbs-up to another great article from the Spiegel.

Seems they are at their best when articulating a problem, rather than proposing solutions.

Pure Evil's picture

Sorry, but the devil is in the details. Nothing is ever "hastily and without buildup" thrown into an article.

Throwing in feel good snippits about "international transaction taxes" for bad ole transnational banks is the same as flashing brief frames of "go to the snack counter" at movie theatres. It's subliminal propaganda aimed at getting you to agree with their agenda. Which is namely the globalist agenda.

The globalist agenda involves the loss of national sovereignty with the development of supra-regional governments without the pesky representative governments.

Or, exactly what is happening to formerly sovereign nations on the European continent? They're slowly giving up their sovereignty to the Euro-crats which rule from Brussles.

The same is happening to the US, Canada and Mexico with the formation of the North American Union.

The whole "international transaction tax" is just a ploy to provide the UN with an income stream to further the globalist agenda, namely Agenda 21.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agenda_21

Agenda 21 is really a goal of the global financial elite to push forward their plan of world financial dominance, wrapped in the loving embrace of the environment, global warming and that feminist squishy, sustainable development.

And, don't think the banks, international or otherwise, will be against this agenda since all transaction taxes will be passed on to account holders in the form of fees.

The rest of the squishy article is just pure tripe used to pull at your basic mothering instincts.

The whole article, in my opinion, was written to get you to agree with this basic premise, namely that banks are bad, politicians are spineless and, don't start laughing out load, that the only way to control these monsters, the banks, is through an international transaction tax.

That's like trying to tell my pecker not to get a woody everytime my eyeballs sight a hot naked chick. The only way that would happen is if she said she was a lesbian and showed me a picture of her ugly mannish dyke girlfriend.

The politicians are no more afraid of the banks and their CEO's than the banks and the CEO's are afraid of the politicians.

Politicians and CEO's are like turds and assholes, you won't get one without the other.

zippy_uk's picture

The western world has been caught knapping by globalisation:

 

* Failure to deal with trade imbalance over sustained period of time

 

* Failure to keep intergenerational wealth transferance in check

 

* Failure to secure sustained fiscal and monetary discipline

 

* Failure to anticipate and react to technology distruption (internet) when we were at the forefront of developing it

 

* Failure to ensure fair and transparent financial practice. Covering up for corrupt practice due to arrogance over western democracy

 

* Failure to control non-governmental forces (global companies, private individuals) from unduely influencing politics

 

* Failure to prevent wasteful economics - the throw away society. We have yet to encounter "peak waste" - yet this is a major drain on the real economy.

 

This needs major policy to address each:

* Hypothication of benefit entitlement. Per generation, what you get is what you paid in.

 

* The de-monetisation of politics. Politics should be low cost by law. In the age of the internet and mobile communications, where is the justification for muti-billion dollar/pound politics ?

 

* Taxes on consumption, polution and resources, not savings, income or corporate turn overs. These taxes will be easy to collect, simple and flat

 

* "Balance the buget" laws with teeth. In the UK, Gordon Brown introduced the golder rules only to then wreck them with the golden scam.

 

* In affairs of state, unless ultra-national security, all information is published within a short time frame. Information to be independently gathered and assed always.

 

* Some sort of national frame work to ensure debt does not get out of hand. Why have control of the cost of debt (interest rates) at a national level without having some sort of control of overall national indebtedness (private as well as public). Debt is a major factor in the crisis and a reason for national uncompetativeness.

As for Europe, it became too socialist under the EU, and has no democratic mandate. Hence the mess the EU is in. There needs to be a structured default for the PIIGS. Then they should leave the Euro. They will need to face life with their own currencies, and with a reduced govenment and more privatised economy under firm national regulation.