Sunday, October 05, 2008

Just been reading Walden Bello
's Primer on Wall St breakdown. Nice clear ananlysis. His conclusions:

"We can safely say, then, that there will be more bankruptcies and government takeovers, with foreign banks and institutions joining their US counterparts; that Wall Street's collapse will deepen and prolong the US recession; and that in Asia and elsewhere, a US recession will translate into a recession, if not worse.

The reason for that last point is that China's main foreign market is the US and China in turn imports raw materials and intermediate goods that it uses for its exports to the US from Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia. Globalization has made "decoupling" impossible. The US, China, and East Asia are like three prisoners bound together in a chain gang.

In a nutshell. . .?

The Wall Street meltdown is due not only to greed and the lack of government regulation of a hyperactive sector. It stems ultimately from the crisis of overproduction that has plagued global capitalism since the mid-1970s.

Financialization of investment activity has been one of the escape routes from stagnation, the other two being neoliberal restructuring and globalization. With neoliberal restructuring and globalization providing limited relief, financialization became attractive as a mechanism to shore up profitability. But financialization has proven to be a dangerous road, leading to speculative bubbles that lead to the temporary prosperity of a few but which ultimately end up in corporate collapse and in recession in the real economy.

The key questions now are: How deep and long will this recession be? Does the US economy need another speculative bubble to drag itself out of this recession? And if it does, where will the next bubble form? Some people say the military-industrial complex, or the "disaster capitalism complex" that Naomi Klein writes about, is the next one, but that's another story."

My response to "Does the US economy need another speculative bubble to drag itself out of this recession?" is this: We need another speculative bubble like we need a hole in the head emanating from a Smith and Wesson Jumbo-sized handgun. What we need to emerge from this recession is an entirely new form of currency, based on Real Value. Not Gold (as pre-1971), not greed (as 1971 to 2009) but based on the value that exists in nature, both physical values such as wind, tide, wave, and solar inputs, and also human capital such as imagination, innovation, creativity, ability to organise, ability to work constructively. We need to work intensively on assessing the many suggestions that are being put forward, and to select the most viable. I suspect that rather than designing a single Big Bang world currency, there will be a number of pilots run, from LETS, local currencies, and innovations centred around International Carbon Units, which are defined as the GHGE - GreenHouse Gas Effect (of the Carbon Dioxide) produced by burning 100ml of n-octane - the volume of n-octane measure at 20 Centigrade.

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