Everyone in the Eurozone believes that the ECB is all-powerful, because to believe otherwise is unthinkable. This was also true of Banque Royale, until it faltered. It was not a loss of confidence in the bank that was responsible for the collapse, it happened as a result of the difficulties encountered in sustaining the bubble. The lesson is that it need not take a loss of confidence in the ECB to start its destruction.
Everything happening today is in some ways interconnected: popularity of ‘non-establishment’ political candidates; ineffectiveness of central bank policy in lifting inflation; economic pessimism; weak capital spending (from handcuffed capitalism); and angst due to perceptions of inequality. Let us explain...
The Federal Reserve is a key component of the American Transfer State. Under the guise of “macroeconomic management,” it redistributes vast amounts of wealth on an ongoing basis through inflation. The victims of these transfers are ordinary Americans. The beneficiaries are the government and its elite cronies. It’s all a con, and a cheap one at that. Unfortunately, sometimes the most successful con artists are the ones who keep it simple.
While much of the financial media and Wall Street analysts continue to ignore the risks of a recession, there are some important warning signs that suggest this might be a bad idea. As Charles Gave noted earlier, "We are swimming in an ocean of ignorance... It seems all the painful economics lessons learned over the last 300 years have been forgotten"
"What I find most hilarious is that some serious commentators have been pontificating at considerable length about what the market’s participants think. These days, some 70% of market orders are generated by computers, and many of the rest by indexers. And computers do not think... I cannot remember a time when less thinking has ever been done in the financial markets, which is why I find today’s financial markets infinitely boring."
Too much of the commentary about the Greek crisis has focused on whether or not Greece should drop the euro and not enough on the structural problems arising out of decades of socialism. Meanwhile, the Greek government has borrowed more money than the Greek people can possibly repay, and debased money will not make this fact disappear. On the contrary, more easy money will cause even more harm. The best thing that Europe and Greece can do for itself right now is to confront some of the economic fallacies that have long driven the debate over Greece, the euro, austerity, and debt.
The central bank-controlled 100% reserve system of sovereign money will indeed mitigate much of the fluctuations associated with modern day fractional-reserve banking. However, it is not a panacea against systemic distortions of economy. Centralizing any power, especially one as important as the creation of money, will inevitably lead to cronyism. And while perhaps less likely to occur than under the current system, there still will exist a risk government manipulation of credit markets which will lead to the business cycle.
Whether today’s most feted “intellectual leaders” and policy makers are correctly diagnosing problems or misdiagnosing them, their proposals are never anything but “viciously statist” to paraphrase Hans-Hermann Hoppe. They seemingly don’t realize that economic freedom is the sine qua non for personal freedom. One simply cannot have the latter without the former. None of them seem to believe that people can be trusted to be in charge of their own affairs. The debate over the “inequality problem” is an excellent case in point. It isn’t as if the knowledge required to understand the problem weren’t readily available. However, most of these people were educated in statist institutions, and have rarely been exposed to any non-statist ideological viewpoints. The possibilities offered by solutions that do not involve the State in every nook and cranny of the economy and our daily lives don’t even occur to them.And of course, the best social engineering plans are always their personal ones.
It will be even more disruptive if some among them decide that the only reason for the failure of their collective delusion of grandeur is that they have not been deluded enough and that even more wild-eyed palliatives are therefore needed. Disruption on such a scale is not what the budding entrepreneur wants to contend with as he contemplates whether to risk both his capital and his reputation in launching or expanding a business, in ordering new equipment, or hiring new staff and so fostering a meaningful recovery. Disruption on such a scale is not something we should wish to inflict upon a system we have been both unable and unwilling to fully repair.Either way – damned if they do, damned if they don’t – disruption seems to be what we will get in the months ahead.
"Just when did Central Bankers become world media superstars and when do we get to put them back in their box?" Strutting the world stage, flitting from press conference to rubber chicken dinner, dispensing what passes for wisdom and prognosis as if the court astrologers have toppled the mighty Nebuchadnezzar and now rule in his place. Whatever happened to discreetly overseeing the balance of payments and facelessly staunching the worst panics only when absolutely necessary? This is clearly Japan’s last stand and there is no real exit strategy except to explicitly default on its debt. But an economic collapse and a sovereign debt default on the world’s third largest economy will contain massive economic ramifications on a global scale.
"Get up! Get down! Fast-food workers run this town!" were the chants from fast-food workers in over 100 cities across America today, as empowered by President Obama's explanation of 'fairness', they demanded a $15-per-hour minimum wage amid strikes, rallies, and acts of civil disobedience. Many fast-food chains and independent restaurants have said that a $15 hourly wage would lead to big price increases on their menus or make it impossible to eke out a profit, adding that they "believe that any minimum wage increase should be implemented over time so that the impact on owners of small and medium-sized businesses." Police arrested 19 workers in NYC and several dozen were placed in handcuffs in Detroit and organizers strongly denied unconfirmed fast-food industry accusations that some workers were being paid $250 to $500 by the union to strike. While the economic reasoning for a minimum-wage hike has been dead-and-buried, we try one more time to explain the hidden costs of the minimum wage.