Guest Post: The Global Economy Burns, While its Leaders Fiddle

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Nomi Prins

The Global Economy Burns, While its Leaders Fiddle

China is by no means a panacea of
economic equality or perfect policy. It has a fast growing portion of
billionaires and accounts for nearly a third of the world’s luxury goods
consumption, while its per capita GDP ranks 125th globally, and 2.8% of Chinese live below the poverty line (according to ‘official’ stats).

In contrast, the US has an official
poverty rate of 14%, though think tanks like the Economic Policy
Institute, consider this estimate low. Still, in its latest 5-year economic plan,
the Chinese government at least gave lip service to how to deal with
its growing inequality - by increasing certain wages by 40%, decreasing
taxes on the poor and increasing them on the rich.

The US government has no such strategy,
except in campaign speeches, as reflected by our anemic economy.
Instead, we witness inane partisan prattling over the deficit and what
mini-budget modifications are needed to bring it into line, most of
which would disproportionately detract from the people that had the
least to do with inflating it. (i.e. anyone not running a bank or hedge

Yet, like our own, inequality figures
will worsen for China, which will ultimately destabilize its economy.
The result of attracting that menacing, mercurial entity called ‘global
capital’ is inflated growth figures predicated on bulging service
sectors and population wealth gaps. The more capital sloshing around a
country, the more destabilized it becomes, and the more its leaders
pretend that’s not the case. 

Global speculative capital (the kind
flowing through any major financial entity) is cunning, aggressive,
greedy, shortsighted, and yes, cowardly (it doesn’t stick around when
things get shaky.) If it were a person, it would smack down minions of
grandmothers and infants to get to the door of a fiery building first,
and then deny burn victims healthcare. It hates rules, which is why it
likes promoting the notion of markets free of them.

Individual investors in silver are the
latest casualties of speculative capital’s fickleness. People that
invested their own money in silver were snuffed by the entities that
borrowed or invested other people’s money to do the same. The COMEX
found the anti-speculation religion it never sought during run-ups of
commodities prices for items like food and fuel, and raised silver
trading margins.  Though those hikes were the prevalent reason for
silver’s price plummet, all they really did was give fast capital a
chance to book profits and alter course.

Any investment is subject to fundamental
forces, like supply and demand or how much US economic policy is
devaluing its currency. But, it’s more subject to speculative whims,
like who's in and out, by how much and how fast, whether its a fund or
an entire nation.

The time-honored scheme in which
controlling capital cons ordinary people (or governments) to join it
before crashing or heading for the hills has devastated many individuals
and economies. That ploy ran rampant during the crash of 1929. Banks
put up their ‘own’ capital, which was really borrowed capital, to spur
individuals to do the same with their savings. When banks pulled out,
people were hosed thrice – through the loss of their savings, the
decimation of their bank accounts that the powerhouses used for
speculative purposes  -  under the guise of – serving their clients, and
by a raging Depression that killed jobs and hopes.

Not much has changed. Matt Taibbi’s recent excoriation of Goldman Sachs reveals
how gray the line is between screwing and screwing, one’s clients. Only
now, when banks lose money, governments and central banks reward them
with trillions of dollars of subsidies, using the excuse of aiding the
population and avoiding larger catastrophe. They say things like - it
takes time to increase employment, but we can waste no time in propping
up our financial system. Or - pensions and teachers caused budget
failures, but we’ll keep holding excess reserves, borne of debt, for
banks in case they need it, and pay interest on it.

We are in an ongoing global economic
depression. The signs are everywhere, even as they are lost on economic
leaders that put private banks and short-term speculative capital before
citizens and long-term working capital. Central banks use other
people’s future money in the form of debt to do this. No central bank
holds, and thus enables, more national debt than the Federal Reserve.

I hate to keep repeating this, but until
someone of some ability to do anything gets it, I’m going to keep
going. Last week, Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, co-enabler with Treasury
Secretary, Tim Geithner (among others) of our ballooning debt and
mis-prioritized economic policy, urged Congress for another debt cap
increase, or else.  The guy holds about  $2.5 trillion of debt on his books,
being used for – nothing helpful to the general economy. A simple
transfer would solve the debt cap problem in a nanosecond. Going a step
further, a simple exchange of any of the $1.5 trillion of excess bank
reserves receiving interest from the Fed, would do the same.  Instead of
defaulting on, how about retiring, some debt? Thinking outside the box.

All around the world, the bodies and
countries with the most power keep screwing people (some like IMF
head, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, literally) and entire nations, while
supporting their banking systems.  Last week, S&P announced it would
downgrade Portugal if it didn’t play ball with the IMF and EU over its 4-year 78E billion-bailout program in return for hacking public programs.

Echoing our own Congressional goons
spewing spending cuts in the face of inadequate revenues and
for-bank-manufactured mega-debt, the S&P noted, “Two-thirds of the
projected savings in [Portugal’s] 2012 budget will likely come from
spending cuts.”

On a roll, the IMF also declared Italy
needs ‘structural reform’, meaning labor market reform, less public
ownership and more private investment to “unlock its growth potential.”
(aka invite more speculative capital at its earliest convenience.)

Meanwhile, thousands of people are again striking in Greece,
as the IMF and EU discuss more austerity measures, following the bank
bailout that provoked public outrage a year ago, and a rating downgrade
by S&P. The EU remains more concerned with investors regaining
confidence in Greece than economic stability of its citizens. Then,
there’s Ireland, for whom its last bailout didn’t dent its 14.5% unemployment rate, or fill in the gaping holes its banks dug.

In short, the global ‘remedy’ for
depressed economies and debt-bloated banking sectors remains to do  –
more of the same - and pretend  this will beget a different outcome.
Yet, there is no way this strategy will result in more stable
economies.  What we can expect instead is further widespread

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Temporalist's picture

Nomi I hope you start waking some people up sooner than later.

oh_bama's picture


What is he talking about?

  • DID HE KNow THAT more american retired early than any other time in HISTORY?
HRH Gearoid's picture

Beware Ireland! Socialist Bankers MAY rape you in the ass!


Alpine's picture

The Godfather of the Financial Terrorists may meet his waterloo.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Up, up and away on the weirdness scale the world goes. Alice is alive and well in her wonderland while the king was in the counting house...etc.
And then DSK maid a mis-take. Or so they say.

Mammon, it's got two edges.


DoChenRollingBearing's picture

"Up, up and away on the weirdness scale the world goes."

You got that right ORI.

Maybe should add "at an ever increasing rate."

Oh regional Indian's picture

Indeed DoChen. Geometric rate to boot, no less.



Gully Foyle's picture

Oh regional Indian

Recently I was in a discussion regarding the treatment of the Dalits. My opinion is they are still discriminated against, the other guy thought they had it fairly well.

What's your take?

nah's picture

I cant belive the cops are allowing banks to charge taxpayers for a cover up that has lasted 3 years... way to go cops stupid rules

silberblick's picture

You shouldn't be fiddling though .... here is a funny animation telling you what you can do to counter your inept government and the banksters:

slewie the pi-rat's picture

yup!  the banksters who just printed the money to buy this debt could give the iou's back to the Treasury. 

good thing they own the politicians!  

RobotTrader's picture

Nothing's changed, Alpha Thugs are still in charge
Rasputin - Sun, May 15, 2011 - 01:23 PM

Anyway, please forgive a bitter, cynical and defeated Mad Monk if he doesn't subscribe to the theory that just because another PigMan got caught with his pants down (literally, in this case), that the sheeple of the world are going to suddenly, collectively, gain fifty I.Q. points, strap on a spine and demand change to the Ponzi Monetary Scheme.

Do YOU see a trend here among the power seekers in terms of having a little too much testosterone?

Or, why they will ALWAYS rule over the masses?

In fact, the Mad Monk was hopeful that after the "Great Disintegration" that began to take place in 2008, the F12-monkeys in the stock casinos would have learned their lesson and we would be well on our way to financial sobriety by now.

Instead, to his shock, horror and dismay, what Ras witnessed was the most staggering display of Alpha Thug and Pigmen power-grabbing this side of Hitler and Mussolini in the 1930s--and a concomitant re-skying off ALL markets, casinos, gambling fever and speculative mania.

And to this day we still have:

- Fractional Reserve-Based Central Banking

- Towering Pyramids of Ponzi Derivatives

- Fiat currency with no gold backing

For proof of Rasptuin's assertion, please allow him to share tonight's schedule of Prime Time TV, courtesy of Google Reader:

Here's tonight's lineup of new shows and events (all times Eastern).

7:00 to 8:00
ABC: 'America's Funniest Home Videos'
CBS: '60 Minutes'
FOX: 'American Dad!' -- 7:30 start
NBC: 'Dateline'
Animal Planet: 'Wild Kingdom'
Style: 'Jerseylicious: Wild and Untamed'

8:00 to 9:00
ABC: 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition'**
CBS: 'Survivor: Redemption Island'** -- (120 minutes)
FOX: 'The Simpsons' and 'Bob's Burgers'
NBC: 'Minute to Win It'
PBS: 'Nature'
BET: 'The Family Crews'**
CNN: 'Education in America: Don't Fail Me'
Discovery: 'Wild Animal Repo'
Disney Channel: 'Good Luck Charlie'
ESPN: 'Sunday Night Baseball' -- Another match up between the Red Sox and the Yankees
Food Network: 'Food Network Challenge'
NatGeo: 'X-Ray Earth' -- (120 minutes)
OWN: 'Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes'
Spike: 'Coal'
Style: 'Jerseylicious'*
TNT: 'NBA Playoffs' -- The third round of playoffs begins with game 1 between the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls
Travel: 'Bert the Conqueror'
Versus: 'NHL Playoffs' -- Game 1 between the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks
VH1: 'Mob Wives' 

Gordon Freeman's picture

Good reminder, RT.  There isn't even a new boss to meet--it's still the old boss!

Gully Foyle's picture


Dude, you missed

Law and order CI

King (Canuck show)


 American Dad!      Apprentice, The   Desperate Housewives      Family Guy      Cleveland Show, The      In Plain Sight      Bobs Burgers      Treme      Breakout kings      Borgias, The      The Killing   Game of Thrones      Simpsons, The
Amish Hacker's picture

And I think on Channel 5 Charlie Sheen and the Octomom are going to be discussing how to have the sex life of a Kennedy without dieting.

dick cheneys ghost's picture

Rape is an apt metaphor

apberusdisvet's picture

In the short term, this article is material.  In the long term, not so much.  The radiation spewing from Fukushima will eventually infect 2/3 of the North American population leading to a drop in life expectancy by at least 20 years over the next decade.  Within 6 months, all food domestically grown will cause a geiger counter to register unhealthy levels.  The Chernobyl coverup obfuscated the fact that over 20 million Europeans have died, with many more to come.  Fukushima is at least 10X worse.

blunderdog's picture

Ever the optimist, eh? 

I get it, but it's unrealistic hope.  Killing and/or decreasing the lifespan of most of the N. American population would solve our Medicare funding problem, sure, but it's not going to work out that way.

No, sorry to say, the Fukushima disaster will not have any perceptible long-term health effects on Americans.  We're stuck with this mess.  Wishful thinking notwithstanding, there's no easy out.

Landrew's picture

Sorry, I had to junk you. Very little of what you wrote can come to pass. Power on criticality as in Chernobyl very unlikely at this point. A slow burn releasing high levels of iodine 131 global yes, cesium 137/strontium 90 locally yes global no.Plutonium 239 locally yes, global no. We are still talking about very very low levels. I would be more worried about the new scanners in the airports that they still don't know what the upper level doses are. After they get over their we need to hide our embarrassment for building nukes on fault lines (like we do) they will bury the piles bottom to top. Siphon the water for disposal costing billions. There will not be a nuke built for a generation now. Sadly we need them more than ever as we run out of crap pre-coal oil mined out of Canada. Funny O'Bummer thinks drilling 150$ barrel of oil in the Arctic (less than one year of world use) is going to save his rear now. Do you think California or Florida, for that matter Alaska will allow BP drilling their tourist beaches now?

I only kill chickens and wheat's picture

Don't be sorry, You saved me from having to start digging a root cellar today. Right on about the TSA scans. People don't realize how many rads you get from a average CT scan compared to regular Diagnostic Xray, like a chest xray, ankle. Anyone who's had a CT Angiogram, has gotten a nice fat dose of Xray rads. Not that the TSA scanners even approach a CT scan dose, TSA hits soft tissue a lot, bad for us guys and anyone with corneas.

farmer1's picture

Traitors to America! How can we have defeated the evil Soviet Empire and now be so in debt and weak? It's because the America I love has been replaced by one that fell for the predatory lending by the banksters. Go back and re-read history based on what you know about financial markets, lending, derivatives, etc. You’ll see at least as far back as the French Revolution that it was backroom financial deals that got one party in trouble and enriched another. When the first went to collect and were told to back off it lead to war. Or the indebted party had to cut its standard of living so far that its own people revolted.

JW n FL's picture

the Traitors to America voted for Bush twice.. pray for the rapture every night.. and ignore the facts, thusly not using the Brain that God gave them!


the Traitors are the people who listened to "Less Taxes and Less Government", "Drill Baby Drill" all those catch phrases that tested well nation wide.. wwhich brought the sheep together to vote on thier own massacre!


"We the Sheepeople" Voted on and Passed en'masse the Death of American Values! the strong out wit the weak and thusly benefit more so.. over and over again.. while test groups feed the ignorant phrases that tested well to thier own detriment, to all of our detriment.


you wanted less taxes! you got them! for the top 1%.. the largest lobby got them by tricking the idiot masses!


Thusly we can NOT afford to piss and flush the toilet.


heres a song for you and your kind!

zippy_uk's picture

The war on terror has being going on for more than 10 years. Wars have to be paid for - so governments turn a blind eye to property bubbles etc. as the transaction taxes make up the short fall.

Afgan probably had to be done, but Iraq was a costly error. Now that O-B/L has been banged off, Obama has a chance to zap a few more Al/Qiada heads before shutting the war down.

In the UK Cameron is keen to get out and is talking about troop reductions this year.


French historic example is spot on, and explains why the French have an "anti capitalist perception" - not true actually French international companies are good to work for and globally competative.

Lilguy's picture

"fiddling"--so THAT's what you call what DSK was doing!

I was thinking of another "f" word myself.

Landrew's picture

My first thought, wow, what a beautiful woman who was a Goldman Sucks employee. Then I remembered Nomi wrote a piece not long ago here where she was anti-worker, anti-teacher. This seems to be written by another person. Or, did Nomi feel the heat of writing against the 90% of us as Bung Kastner did? I just don't understand how working people can hate other working people over a few dollars difference, rather than apply the wrath to the top 1% like the Cock brothers of the tea party.

zippy_uk's picture

Some other groups are putting out the real message:


If you want to see why the UK is desperate to cut seriously before anyone else:-


And once again, THANKS A BUNCH GORDON!!!

Landrew's picture

Thanks for the reading. They are on my to read list. To survive the next wave is my goal. I buy put options C was nice for the split. Now INTC back to the 50 dmv. Just for .10 hoping to be holding when the guillotine falls. I was lucky holding Lehman puts when that blade struck:) I had never been paid full option price before. I didn't even know how to sell the close on that ha!

zippy_uk's picture

In my view, the economic "conspiracy" is as old as time itself. Namely a bunch of near retirement failed has beens who none the less have enough knowledge to pull a few levers a few more times. There are two key goals a) Get over the retirement line b) One last big rape of the system to cover their own foolishness in believing their own hype. The trick the pull is always the same no matter what the form - distort the true underlying value of what is on offer.

When I went contracting as a 25 year old 12 years ago, I met an accountant who was desperate to sell me a pension. I could not understand why an accountant, by any measure a well paying job in the UK was so keen to sell me a pension - until I saw the deal. Basically a huge "upfront" grab of my contributions until year 5, then the fund was left to its own devices. When I said "NO" he could not believe it, the look on his face was I can't believe I wasted my time on this. Then again - he was a Boomer and I am gen/X.


Same situation with UK under last government, Blair / Brown who bought elections for their own tribe. Brown deliberately extended the housing past due because he wanted to take over as PM with out having to be elected.


Same situation when I worked for Lehman - big corporate indoctrination about "values, company loyalty this that and the other" - when the bust came, the COO in the corporate video jumped ship 1 month before - all very hush, hush as you would expect. Then there is  Amani Attia who worked for Lehman, and now runs the notorious capstone mortgages - . NJ residents from what I understand face "additional charges" on their power bills due to one of her deals for Lehman laying off currency swap risk against their billing.

Finally there is the central banking clique - all boomers naturally who are falsfying the value of the money in your pocket.

There can be NO REPAIR OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY untill all these people are REMOVED FROM POWER.

One of zerohedges strengths is its manefesto which effectively declares a set of values. We need our VALUES to defend our societies against basically a bunch of frausters. 

For trading perspectives, I think the implication of this is to bet against "false" and invest in "real". PMs vs Dollar is the much discussed example, but going further I would blow out (in the western world) retail / finance / services on account of margin compression and back productive industries in stead as the long term trend.

tony bonn's picture

no - the national leaders are not fiddling while rome burns....they are actively and tenacaciously raping and pillaging their subjects until they become impoverished serfs.....

the proper solution to the debt problem is massive liquidation...not only should bailouts be terminated but all bailout money should be demanded for repayment with interest....

JR's picture

Excellent post, Nomi.  Too bad you got sandbagged by the Strauss-Kahn story. As Jim Hightower says: “Nomi Prins knows the mind-set, knows how to read spreadsheets, knows the people, and knows Wall Street’s games. Nomi knows and now Nomi tells.”

As for calling these people “leaders” though, as I recall, Nero might have played his violin while Rome burned, but didn’t he also set fire to it?

The concept of a leader is someone out in front with people following.  Would you say Simon Legree was the leader of the plantation workers?  I don’t think so.  No, these are the people with a gun in their hands and a mask over their faces – like Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger… or Hank “The Weeper” Paulson.  Were these leaders of men? Huh-uh.

We need a Congress to represent the people. If these congresspersons won’t represent the people, we need to pull these congresspersons out of office and if elections don’t work we need to go to their houses and pull them out.  This is a life and death matter for the majority of Americans – people losing their jobs, people losing their homes and small businesses, people losing their savings and pensions and investments…

It’s one thing to have crooks in charge, another thing to have no one in charge;  the latter means that the different levels of criminals – at the high level, the street level – are allowed to function because nobody’s there.

The common crooks ruining our lives just put on a white shirt and a Satya Paul Design Studio necktie and, voila, you’ve got a Dominique Strauss-Kahn – just a smash and grab kind of mugger.  He and they deserve to be on the streets of New York.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Paul Krugman is out with his latest hit piece on anyone who dares insist that we take our bitter medicine in the form of at least some authentic austerity today, so that there can be at least some hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Krugman wants more heroin or at least methadone, and now.

He wants that old Keynesian remedy of keep printing-stagflate-think about the consequences later, and he wants it now, even though the results have been dreadful so far (again, as if history couldn't have predicted our current predicament).

Krugman is a relic and a symbol of everything wrong with conventional economic theory in the U.S. and Europe.