Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Newsnight: Liam Halligan mentions the elephant in the room

There was an interesting interview on Newsnight (here, about 1/3 through) with Paxman J. conducting Ken Clarke (who played a disappointingly hackneyed series of political point scoring riffs on his Hush Puppies), Ruth Kelly (impossible to tell if she was wearing barbed wire, so probably not) Linda Yueh from Oxford University (who got interrupted for being a polite lady, so impossible to get what she was saying), and one Liam Halligan, Chief Economist at Prosperity Capital Management, who, despite clearly being One of Them, made some good points about the toxic assets. Like Willem Buiter, and Hernando do Soto, and this blog, among others, he is calling for a firewall to be set between the investment banking casino and real world banking.

Five months have passed since the wave of financial destruction broke, and still the Government has done nothing to isolate the psychotic nightmare of financial instruments.

This is a scandal that puts the Home Secretary's hubby's grubby £10 of porn films, embarassing though that was, completely in the shade. The acres and hours of media space given to this, compared to the complete ignoral of the real issue of separating taxpayers' money from the derivatives timebomb is an indication of how useless the media have become. It shows that the Government is still bowing and scraping to the banksters. "Lord" Mandelson's recent comments that now we have given the banksters a good kicking we should leave them alone to continue business as usual is a symptom of this serious deviation from economic reality.

Halligan also suggested that the Government's game is to create hyperinflation with its Quantitiative Easy Money (or should that be Easement?), said inflation intended to shrink the value of the debts before they come home to roost in the banks. He is probably being conspiratorial here: it is much more likely that the AlisGord Brownling plan is the result of simply not understanding what they are supposed to be doing.

Greens should be all for QE, but only if it is invested directly into the real green economy. Brown and Darling are living in la-la land if they think they can match the massive bubble of debt that the casino banksters have created.

All together now:

What do we want?
A fresh embodiment of the Glass-Steagall Act, with toxic derivatives neutralised in the bankrupcies of the CEOs responsible for their purchase!!
When do we want it?
As soon as Parliamentary time can be found for it, given that a lot of time is going to be devoted to debating the ethics of putting porn films on MPs' expenses!!

That should do the trick.


Anonymous said...

A good article. You are right i suspect - on the broadest sense - but I suspect you make things too simplistic. Can we really comment if we hav'nt properly grasped the problem?

DocRichard said...

Thanks for commenting, Anonymous.

There's simplistic, and there's simple.

I do not claim to be an expert, but Halligan is, as are the other economists mentioned in the blog. Time will show who is right; but when the time comes, we may all wish that Brown &c had listened to the economists who are calling for the Toxic Assets to be corralled up and accounted for. The trouble is that Brown is still in awe of the authority of the bankers, who do not relish the idea of opening their books.