Guest Post: 500 Million Debt-Serfs: The European Union Is A Neo-Feudal Kleptocracy

Tyler Durden's picture

From Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

500 Million Debt-Serfs: The European Union Is a Neo-Feudal Kleptocracy  

The banks of Europe are the new Feudal Manors and Masters. All Europeans now serve them as debt-serfs in one way or another.

If we knock down all the flimsy screens of artifice and obscuring complexity, what we see in Europe is a continent of debt-serfs, indentured to the banks under the whip of the European Union and its secular religion, the euro.

I know this isn't the pretty picture presented by the EU Overlords, of a prosperity built not just on debt, but on resolving the problem of debt with more debt, but it is the reality behind the eurozone's phony facade of economic "freedom."

What else can we call the stark domination of the big banks other than Neo-Feudalism? In one way or another, every one of the 27-member nations' citizens are indentured to the big international banks at risk in Europe, most of which are based in Europe.

Amidst the confusing overlay of voices and agendas, there is really only one agenda item: save the big European banks. Everything else is just mechanics. The banks are the new feudal manor houses, the bankers are the new feudal lords, and the politicians of the EU and its influential member nations are the servile vassals who enforce the "rule of law" on the serfs.

Here is the fundamental fact: there are trillions of euros of debt which can never be paid back. In a non-feudal system, one in which the banks were not the Masters, then this fact would be recognized and acted upon: something like 50% of the debt would be written off in one fell swoop, all the banks whose assets had just been wiped out would be declared insolvent and liquidated, the remaining debt would be sized to the economic surplus of each debtor nation, and a new, decentralized banking sector of dozens of strictly limited, smaller banks would be established.

To the degree that is "impossible," Europe is nothing but a Neo-Feudal Kleptocracy serving its Banker Lords.

The Greek worker whose pay has been slashed in the "austerity" demanded by the banks serves the Banker Lords, as does the German worker who will be paying higher taxes to bail out Germany and France's Banker Lords. Though the German is constantly told he is bailing out Greece, the truth is Greece is just the conduit: he's actually bailing out the EU's Banker Lords.

We can clear up much of the purposeful obfuscation by asking: exactly what tragedy befalls Europe if all the sovereign debt in the EU was wiped off the books? The one and only "tragedy" would be the destruction of the "too big to fail" banks, not just in Europe but around the world. As the big European banks imploded, then their inability to service their counterparty obligations on various derivatives to other big banks would topple those lenders.

While the political vassals call that possibility a catastrophe, it would actually spell freedom for Europe's 500 million debt serfs. From the lofty heights of the Manor House, then the loss of enormously concentrated power and wealth is indeed a catastrophe for the Lords and their political lackeys. But for the debt-serfs facing generations of servitude for nothing, then the destruction of the banks would be the glorious lifting of tyranny.

Just as a refresher, here is a definition of kleptocracy:

Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, from the Ancient Greek for "thief" and "rule," is a term applied to a government subject to control fraud that takes advantage of governmental corruption to extend the personal wealth and political power of government officials and the ruling class (collectively, kleptocrats), via the embezzlement of state funds at the expense of the wider population, sometimes without even the pretense of honest service. The term means "rule by thieves".

Extracting the wealth of 500 million people via the EU's central governance machinery to serve a handful of big banks is definitely a form of systemic embezzlement. As for corruption: where are the politicians who speak to the enormous benefits of writing off these debts and destroying the power of the big banks, utterly and completely, as the only way to free the people from debt-serfdom?

While the European Central Bank (ECB) and the vassals' favorite form of oppression, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), print or borrow more euros into existence to fund the illusion of solvency, the cold reality is that the only way to service these trillions in impaired debt is to skim the surplus from the labor of the debt-serfs.

Since the political vassals control the means of taxation, then it is their job to squeeze hundreds of billions of euros out of the labor of their nation's debt-serfs.

There is a fatal weakness in the Grand Scheme of European Neo-Feudalism, and the lackeys in the EU are desperately trying to fix it under the banner of "integration." The fatal flaw is that the political union of the EU vassal states did not include fiscal union in which the EU could impose and control taxation within all member states.

This flaw means that the Banker Lords lack the necessary means to impose serfdom directly through the "laws" of the EU itself; instead, they must coerce the vassal political class within each member state to impose debt-serfdom on its citizenry.

This has proven cumbersome, as some nation's debt-serfs are threatening to refuse to submit to serfdom. Such a rebellion would of course bring down the entire house of cards that is Neo-Feudal Europe, and so the lackeys in Brussels and elsewhere are frantically trying to sell "fiscal integration" as the "necessary step" to centralizing the power of the banker Lords over the citizenry of all 27 EU member states.

The euro was intended to be the enforcement mechanism, but alas, voluntary agreement is not a solid foundation for neo-feudalism. At its heart, the euro currency was ultimately a Grand Arbitrage for the big European banks: they could loan essentially unlimited sums to citizens and sovereign member-states in a stable currency, and be guaranteed that they would be repaid in that same currency regardless of the weaknesses of the debtors.

That was a very sweet deal, an essentially risk-free license to generate monumental profits, all backstopped/guaranteed by the EU and ECB.

In the old, horribly risky system of independent states and currencies, any bank foolish enough to loan vast sums to weak states and its citizenry would soon find the currency in which their loans were paid would weaken to the point that even if the loans were repaid in full, their losses would be crushing.

For example, say a bank loaned Greece 1 billion drachma when the drachma was equal in value to the U.S. dollar. The loan would thus be worth $1 billion. But let's say that by the time the loan was repaid, the drachma had fallen to 50 cents. Measured in dollars, the bank suffered a loss of 50%, even when the loan was paid in full.

The euro removed all that nasty risk, and created a massive vassal class of EU bureaucrats to enforce the rules and make good any defaulted debt via the European Central Bank (ECB), the supra-national lender that served the big banks as guarantor. Ultimately, the ECB was funded by the member states' taxpayers, which spread the costs of the arbitrage over such a large number of citizens that it seemed impossible that the guarantee could be broken.

But the Banker Lords got greedy, and they overshot the carrying capacity of the EU's economy by a trillion euros; the debt loads are now so enormous that the surplus skimmed from the debt-serfs isn't enough.

That is the core dilemma of the Banker Lords and their political vassals. Since the Banker Lords lack the legal mechanism to impose new taxes via the EU itself, they must rely on the cumbersome processes of illusion and propaganda, of "extend and pretend" extensions of debt and harsh "austerity" to skim as much cream as possible.

The cloak has been removed, and the bloodied whip is now visibly in hand. In a household analogy: your mortgage has been rolled over into a new form of servitude, and your wages have been cut even as your taxes have been raised to service your debt to the Banker Lords. The vassals are bowing and scraping before their Lords, promising deeper cuts and higher taxes; yes, Master, we will obey.

But this isn't enough, of course; the Lords are demanding the rings off the fingers of the debt-serfs, and the rights to sovereign assets; they are casting a covetous eye on the comely daughter as well, and we can fully expect a discreet demand to exercise droit du seigneur, a right befitting the Lords of the new Feudalism.

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Ancona's picture

Pretty soon we're all going to end up on the slave ship. It really is only a matter of time. that is of course, unless the entire house of cards implodes in to a smoking pile of ruin.

In that case, we will all be characters in a worldwide Mad Max movie.

dlmaniac's picture

The other day I was reading FOFOA where he claimed ECB is a better monetary authority so Dollar should merge into that system, which is like suggesting jumping from one frying pan into another and just goes to show you how outta touch these self-claimed monetary "experts" really are.

Hook Line and Sphincter's picture

Are you inferring that FOFOA is a limited hangout operation targeted at students of monetary theory, and angled at manipulating their perception?

The nerve!!!  ; )

The_Euro_Sucks's picture

Lol, ''FOFOA is a limited hangout operation targeted at students of monetary theory''. As Another stated, its (freegold) a way to move away from the dollar without starting a war. Its more a political blog about the new monetary world order once the dollar is gone. If u hate this system you will not like the next (Another)


dlmaniac's picture

Yeah I've actually read those "separating medium of exchange from store of value" theories as they were recommended to me with such buzz. Plain moon talking. Just a few hours of my life I cannot get back.

The_Euro_Sucks's picture

My reply wasn't to u but for Hook Line and S... as the quote showes. U still holding fiatdigits and no physical I assume?

dlmaniac's picture

I've been accumulating metals before ever hearing names such as "Another" and "freegold", which is why I can easily identify the fallacies of these non-solutions bankers proposed.

TruthInSunshine's picture

The EU, if Merkel & Sarkozy are to be believed, has decided to allow the ECB to follow in nearly the identical footprints of the Bernank circa-2008 to present.

In other words, they are going to print lots of euros, buy massive amounts of spoiled assets from troubled european banks, make whole holders of toxic sovereign bonds (Merkel, Sarkozy & Bernuslconi all said NO defaults will be allowed), and they are going to backstop the toxic loans, debt and derivatives exposure (apparently) that haven't yet blown up, but that is still coursing through the veins and arteries of Europe's public and private sectors.

And some claim, with a straight face, that this is EUR positive?

This is taking the TARP/TALF/QE play out of the playbook, and running with it, but they are adding a reverse 'Plaza Accord' type deal to the mix, whereby they are going to knowingly depreciate the EUR against most other major currencies (and I'd be surprised if foreign central banks didn't sign off on this so as to not interfere and run resistance to the end result).

Finally, this is not just PIIGS, as bad and as large as PIIGS is. The UKs economy is sucking wind, France's economy is in big trouble (and they're going to be one of the big donor states under a EU rescue plan?) and even Germany's economy is beginning to show signs of cracks - and this EU rescue plan hasn't even begun yet, which will involve a process whereby the 'haves' EU member states essentially tax their citizens more to donate to the 'have not' EU member states.

This plan would be hard enough to implement if the global economy were booming, and 75% of the EU member states had healthy, robust rates of economic growth. Under current conditions, it's a purely insane idea.

Smiddywesson's picture

No it's not an insane idea if you view it from the perspective of the banksters.  They know the system is doomed.  They will do anything to buy time, anything at all

TruthInSunshine's picture

But Trichet is personally vouching for the strength, unity, solidarity of the 'common union & currency.'

And he's smart like Bernank.

newworldorder's picture

They will sell this as the continuation of the European Union dream. The average European will buy it for the time being.

Not much more to say really.

dracos_ghost's picture

Just remember, "there is no spoon.". It feels like we are in the Matrix.

These numbnuts are in "make the sell to the sheeple mode".  I've given up trying to plumb the logic of this shit. This stuff is textbook definition of psychotic narcissism -- sociopathic is too tame a description. These guys think they are sooooo smart that whatever ejaculate oozes from their mouths is equivalent to manna from heaven and everyone needs to be pliant and eat their peas.

The sheeple need to go feral at this point. Or BTFD. I have a gut feeling it's going to be the latter.

slewie the pi-rat's picture

slewie voted for nader in '08

on the peace and freedom ticket, no less!

Incubus's picture

Pretty soon we're all going to end up on the slave ship.

They're just getting us prepped for ET.

When the ships come, we're goin' across the galaxy to work on alien plantations. And the cotton'll pick you.

midtowng's picture

There are two alternatives: 1) we keep protecting this fiction of a "free market" and "job creators" or 2) we recognize that we are undergoing a class war and recognize that your pittance in your 401k does not make you part of the upper-class.

SheepDog-One's picture

European Neo-Feudal Kleptocracy under the whip of the wheres the difference from the US?

wsmith's picture

Well, most of us are serfs.

We like to pretend we aren't.  But we really are.

I kiss my boss's ass all the time.

What's a boy to do these days?

Times are hard.

jmcadg's picture

Mad Max 4 - Beyond Eurozone

scratch_and_sniff's picture

this is some naive shit. 

rwe2late's picture

Debt-based money issued from central banks on which interest accrues is the basis of capitalist economies. In capitalist economies, central banks are engines of credit which emit debt just as internal combustion engines emit carbon dioxide.

Debt accruing from money issued by central banks constantly compounds and unless capitalist economies also constantly expand, constantly compounding debt eventually overwhelms all economic activity, resulting in ’parcus nex’, i.e. economic death.

It is the charging of interest on money issued as loans from a central bank that is the foundation of capitalism.

The powers of financial capitalism had another far reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements, arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the worlds' central banks which were themselves private corporations. The growth of financial capitalism made possible a centralization of world economic control and use of this power for the direct benefit of financiers and the indirect injury of all other economic groups.

The global economic collapse is perhaps humanity’s greatest hope for escaping the debt slavery the world’s financiers and bankers have planned for the world. However, to escape slavery one must first know he is a slave.

jdrose1985's picture

The engine/carbon dioxide illustration is awesome.

The interesting thing is that the so-called consumer who demands a loan is in effect contributing the gasoline and gets stuck with the emissions once the "engine" has leached the energy.

This whole fucking notion that banks loan anything is a sad joke. Its simply the extension of liability made possible by the theft of credit and there are a number of ways to hold the banksters feet to the fire on an individual level if one is determined enough and on the right "level".

GoinFawr's picture

Thin end of the wedge for privatizing breathable air?

Tense INDIAN's picture

Oh mY ...i ssoooo much wanna get out of the system

wsmith's picture

I think I'm going to watch and play with myself.

We're in a depression.

But who gives a shit?

Life will continue to go on.

Anway, so long.

And God bless all you Marxist cocksuckers.

magis00's picture

This second comment of yours in this thread causes me to question whether the "I kiss my boss's ass all the time" comment in your first was not actually a figure of speech.  Gross.

wsmith's picture

That was actually funny.

God bless you, brother.

My smile is wider than the crack of my ass.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

I hope you do not think you are doing gentleman Gerald any favors.

wsmith's picture

Fuck you right in the ass!

Nevertheless, you made me laugh.

So God bless.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

You are out of character.  He was not crass, nor was he belligerent.

ManufacturedOpinion's picture


Why do you let this faggot keep pumping the celente boards?

Just stick a boot in his ass (and a dick in his mouth) and shut him the fuck up !!!

ManufacturedOpinion's picture


Why do you let this faggot keep pumping the celente boards?

Just stick a boot in his ass (and a dick in his mouth) and shut him the fuck up !!!

Hedgetard55's picture

I'm guessing the purpose of your trolling is to make the average
ZH commenter look like a putz, to discourage new readers and lower the reputation of the site. Correct?

dwdollar's picture

With that in mind, we have a clue who his real employer is...

wsmith's picture

Are you fucking stupid?

There's not a bigger fan of zerohedge than me.

I was here back when it was site.

Brother, I'm vanilla.

I live in Asia and do a vanilla job.

I love zerohedge because the boys believe in freedom.

I don't horde gold and silver.  But nobody's perfect.

I've been at zerohedge since the beginning.

There's never been a better website in all of human history.

I love this fucking place.