Mubarak Exits, the People Rejoice

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The Financial Crisis: Waiting to Avoid

According to the latest federal inquiry [1], the financial crisis of 2008- still festering unabated- was “an avoidable ‘disaster’ caused by widespread failures in government regulation, corporate mismanagement and heedless risk-taking by Wall Street…,” etc. and, for that reason, “The greatest tragedy would be to accept the refrain that no one could have seen this coming and thus nothing could have been done…” so we are assured. However, if truth were told, the real tragedy lies in the realization that although the majority of the population may have seen it coming, most would not have been politically empowered and ill-suited to avert it or avoid it, for that matter, since these tools would have been essential to effectively thwart its sudden unraveling. As has already been well documented, this casino [2] way of maximizing profits at the expense of the poor and the working class is the main culprit precisely because it emanates from a capitalist culture
embraced, defended, and propagated with adamant zeal and enthusiasm by those in Washington purportedly looking for ways “to stabilize the market”.

Needless to say, the so-called “credit default swaps,” “derivatives,” “collateral debt obligations,” “sub-prime mortgages,” and other obscure and deceptive [3] lending practices in the financial and housing sectors have indeed had such a decidedly negative impact on the day-to-day survival and subsistence of most people. The consequences of such exotic, corrosive and conniving ventures, all tearing at the heart of large segments of the population, have been such that the majority affected has been driven to bankruptcy, foreclosure, unemployment and abject economic despair in general. [4] For obvious reasons, no watchful eyes on the part of the federal government or the agencies in charge of protecting the public from such predatory practices ever screamed foul or even bothered to take notice since it would have interfered with the bottom line, the meat and potato of the ruling elite, their financial brokers and cohorts on Wall Street. [5] The so-called Main Street does not fare the same and must pay for sin of not having been born with enough clout and privilege to game the system to their own benefit.

Insofar as the targeted financial irregularities is concerned, the writing has been on the wall since the early 1970s, [6] as capitalism began its breakneck trajectory from investment in machinery and production into the volatile and exotic outlet yielding the most profit: the financial system, which we’ve consequently inherited and which has ultimately triggered the crisis we find ourselves in today. We’ve been down the road of self accountability and corrections: [7] when the chips are down and votes are needed to secure political positions and appease the people, something has to be done to atone for the sin of letting down the country and its citizenry. The poor and the working class must be made to see that there are individuals responsible enough to look deep into their own wretched past and reach a consensus that yes, something did go wrong but that all the necessary steps are been taken to address the malaise and put in place strict regulations and oversight to help the economy recover and move right along. It was not too far back when Obama himself joined the chorus of the indignant [8] over the immoral and outrageous demeanor assumed by AIG in assigning themselves large bonuses for a job well done. Needless to say, theater has always been part of the bag of tricks utilized by the Washington elite to feign outrage and disbelief at the sight of thievery and corruption, just as Alan Greenspan was ” ‘shocked’ at the breakdown in U.S. credit markets…” [9]

We’ve been foolishly led to believe that what happened was just an aberration and that all will be well and that the proverbial “hidden hand” of late capitalism will take care of things. To the extent that the crisis represents the unmitigated modus operandi of US capitalism, the latest assessment of what went wrong in the financial sector can be seen as mere window dressing, a suspiciously ostentatious display of mea culpa as a way of demonstrating that those in charge are sincerely getting to the root cause of the systemic maladies affecting the economy. Surely the sages and gurus of Wall Street embedded deep in the halls of Washington with their fellow economists-in-chief, and a president who’ll stop at nothing to please his benefactors, will most certainly make certain that the right individuals will benefit from their socialized distribution of wealth, as long as they are able to make everyone believe that bailing out big business [10] and Wall Street is a civil duty. It would be an attribute to all of us if we could start seeing folly for what it is, and not fall for it again.

Notes

  1. The New York Times, January 25, 2011
  2. The Real News Network, November 11, 2009
  3. Bloomberg, November 6, 2008
  4. The Washington Post, May 29, 2009
  5. The Washington Independent, 07.02.09
  6. The Monthly Review, October 2004
  7. Investors.com, September 18, 2008
  8. Youtube, March 16, 2009
  9. Reuters, Thu Oct 23, 2008
  10. The World Socialist Website, July 22, 2009

Francisco
— February 6, 2011