1945 Chinese yuan as hyperinflation began to take off
September 29, 2008
Elaine Meinel Supkis
Washington is basically owned by the banking gnomes. This is why the President snoozed and smoozed while thousands died in hurricane Katrina, for example. But when the banking gnomes wanted windows blasted in the walls of the US central bank so they could keep on looting everyone, they got it. And now they want a bail out now that the Fed has run out of reserves. The last point of power is the US government itself and it, too, is going bankrupt. Rapidly. Fixing this is not easy. We are all accustomed to living it up rather than being sober and careful. More banks in the G7 nations are going bankrupt or being quickly bought up by other dying banks, $1 a share. Wachovia has been eaten by Citigroup. And Citigroup is in trouble, too!
(Bloomberg) -- Embattled political leaders in Tokyo and London may end up coming to the aid of President George W. Bush in containing the economic fallout from the credit crisis as political self-preservation trumps nationalism.
Confronting a recession, Japan's new prime minister, Taro Aso, is likely to promise tax cuts and higher spending in a bid to win a parliamentary election as early as next month. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who faces unrest in his party over its and his sagging popularity, may also opt for budget-busting measures to turn around the weakest U.K. economy since the early 1990s.
That would be welcome news for Bush and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke because the U.S. has become so dependent on exports to generate growth -- gross domestic product, which expanded at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the second quarter, would have contracted were it not for trade -- that anything foreign governments do to stimulate their own economies is likely to help.
Aso is not a good choice for dictator of Japan. His predecessors were all driven from office as popular support of the LDP one-party rule collapses. Japan has enjoyed an amazing 6 years of growth of the top industrial powers in Japan. Exports boomed, money poured into Japan while the yen was kept tremendously cheap, falling nearly always against both the dollar and the euro for a long time. But starting last summer, on 7/17/7, this all changed. Other nations with sovereign wealth funds and huge FOREX reserves began to make the yen stronger.
China continues to evolve as an industrial power and a financial banking center. A terse message is issued by the Bank of Japan and the Bank of China. I try peering into the dark behind this message. The financial condition of the huge MITI entities in Japan, that is, Japan, Inc.---continue to grow ever more profitable and powerful while wages languish and purchasing collapses in Japan itself. Gold and commodities rise like crazy as the dollar continues its collapse against the euro and pound. The economic black hole of Japan is gradually pulling the US into a depression in several signficant ways.First, a message from our present bankers and future rulers:
Dr. ZHOU Xiaochuan, Governor of the People's Bank of China (PBC), and Mr. Toshihiko FUKUI, Governor of the Bank of Japan, signed the renewed Currency Swap Agreement in Tokyo on September 20, 2007. This Agreement, which was signed on March 28, 2002 between both central banks under the framework of the Chiang Mai Initiative, has greatly contributed to strengthening the financial cooperation in the East-Asia region, maintaining the stability of the regional financial market and promoting the economic development in East-Asia. The renewal of this Agreement is a reflection of strengthened mutual confidence between the two sides and enhanced regional cooperation on capacity building for financial risk prevention. Besides, Governor Zhou and Governor Fukui also exchanged views on recent economic and financial developments in the two countries as well as on global financial situation and other issues of mutual interests.
Oh, and what 'recent economic and financial developments' did they discuss? I will note here that the yen has been allowed to closely track the declining dollar again. This greatly pleases Japan. I will also note that Japan has stopped echoing US demands that the yuan rise rapidly against the dollar. I sense these two Asian powers have a gentleman's agreement under the table. This must be the 'mutal interests' part of their joint statement. Also, the Chinese featured this at Xinhua news which means they are pleased with the diplomatic and other arrangements made. The Japanese are silent about this. I believe this is because they figure, if the gaijin don't read about it, they won't notice it.
Japan has enjoyed one year of happiness thanks to this deal they made with the Chinese. But the need to keep the carry trade going had one element that is now giving Japan's leaders headaches: the 0.5% savings rate set arbitrarily by the Bank of Japan supports the carry trade. The carry trade floods the world with cheap, easy credit which has two advantages for Japan: it makes the yen very weak and it encourages customers overseas to go deep into debt and buy Japanese goods. This is why Japan has been intent on keeping this game going even as it fueled global inflation!
But inflation is now in Japan and this is screwing up everything. People there are now up in arms because they had 12 years of dropping wages and now are being ravaged by inflation. So of course, being right wingers, the government is offering tax cuts. Now, the UK, US and Japan have something in common: the governments have accumulated vast past debts. All three owe more than $10 trillion each. The idea that this can grow and grow forever is insanity.
For the problem isn't interest rates, it is accumulations of debt! Even if interest is pathetic and even below the rate of inflation, debt climbs as fast as this differential so even a .5% debt payment is intolerable! Everyone on earth has been focused on keeping debt as cheap as possible. This created a mountain of debts that are utterly unsustainable. If credit was realistically priced by the US, UK and Japan, the flood of red ink would have ceased since repayment schedules would have inhibited wild overspending.
The concept that higher interest rates protect debtors and prevents them from unreasonable price inflation/debt accumulation is a key story here at Culture of Life News. I see many people wishing for a system that hands out loans at ridiculous rates so they can merrily buy, buy, buy. The US and UK are no longer major manufacturing economies. We are 'consumer economies.' And what we consume is our future credit. The cheaper Japan makes it carry trade, the worse it is on our end. Our debts soar. Whenever a central bank sees debt levels soaring and savings collapse, has to force interest rates up. This is what China did recently. The world is falling into a recession because of the Chinese raising their interest rates and choking off debt creation inside China.
This began last July and it utterly changed the flow of trade, finances and banking processes. The US is the consumer nation but China is the producer nation and so if China restricts business, it hits all the consumers of goods. Then there is oil: US warmongering coupled with excess consumption of imported oil has destroyed the US bottom line with trade. Today, thanks to the US unable to consume via cheap credit, our exports are rising and imports falling. But all our trade partners are working hard to re-establish the cheap credit/flood of exports to the US. So this is a very temporary condition.
In the last 35 years, the only times our trade deficit shrinks is during global recessions! This shows us clearly that the NATURAL reset system wants to work! But none of our trade rivals want it to work. So it is short-circuited before it fixes the mess here. And our cumulative debts grow.
Even if the US’s massive financial rescue operation succeeds, it should be followed by something even more far-reaching – the establishment of a Global Monetary Authority to oversee markets that have become borderless.
That vacuum at the centre is dangerous for everyone. The US’s dependence on massive inflows of foreign capital, roughly $3bn (€2bn, £1.6bn) a day, will surely increase now as Uncle Sam acquires $1,000bn in new obligations from current bail-outs. For years to come, Wall Street and Washington will be unable to manage without strong co-operation from other markets.
Beyond that, the international dimensions of finance are mind-boggling. Global assets have increased from $12,000bn in 1980 to nearly $200,000bn in 2007, far outstripping the growth of gross domestic product or the expansion of trade.
NEW WORLD ORDER ALERT!!! HAHAHA. Yes, there will be a Global Monetary Authority. Let's call it MAO for short. Heh. Monetary Authority Organization.
This is a typical, childish view of the world. Mr. Garten can't figure out that a group of G7 debtor nations cannot go to Japan and China and OPEC with an equal vote in such an organization. This is like having South America run the IMF! Impossible. The creditor nations will join with each other AGAINST the debtor nations. This is natural. Just like when the world went bankrupt and the US was solvent after WWI and then WWII. The US was the top voting entity in global trade and banking organizations.
The new MAO authority will be imposed on us when we finally go bankrupt. The passage of the TARP banking bail out will simply move us closer to bankruptcy. Just as the totally irresponsible war spending bill passed this week is bankrupting us. It appears that no one in control of things except for a very few, are able to see the obvious end result of all this over-spending.
Click here to see the wonderful Dennis Kucinich video of his one minute testimony in Congress on Sunday: Is this the U.S. Congress or the Board of Directors at Goldman Sachs! + Sounds Like Insider Trading To Me!
All of these considerations point to the eventual need for a new Global Monetary Authority. It would set the tone for capital markets in a way that would not be viscerally opposed to a strong public oversight function with rules for intervention, and would return to capital formation the goal of economic growth and development rather than trading for its own sake.
The GMA’s board would have to include central bankers not just from the US, UK, the eurozone and Japan, but also China, Saudi Arabia and Brazil. It would be financed by mandatory contributions from every capable country and from insurance-type premiums from global financial companies – publicly listed, government owned, and privately held alike.
Trade for its own sake? Gods! Talk about stupid. This is what happens when a culture becomes a consumer nation: people become as dumb as Thanksgiving turkeys on the last Wednesday of November! Capital formation is continuing....outside of the US and UK! And this 'trade' is our rivals selling us lots of stuff we want. If we didn't want it, we wouldn't buy it. Instead, we not only want it, we want to go into debt to these same 'trading for its own sake' entities in Asia so we can buy this trade stuff! Duh. This is the whole problem.
This Brit also wants a global tax. Not on ourselves, we will be the debtor/consumers! No, the sovereign wealth funds, the successful manufacturers and traders will be taxed...so we can consume. This is so stupid, I am not speechless. Heh. Try selling this idea to China!
They will want MAO only if they have veto power. Then they will be happy to lend to us as we consume.
By MICHAEL HUDSON
The real mad money
This is not what the magic of compound interest promised. But it is where it had to end up, with mathematical inevitability. It was an advertising come-on for Wall Street money managers and promoters of “pension-fund capitalism” (or “peoples’ capitalism” as it was called in Chile by the Chicago Boys working for General Pinochet’s murderous regime, and Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives in England). The promise is that if people consign these funds to individuals who make much, much more than they do but have the survival-of-the-fittest advantage of being much, much more greedy, they will receive a perpetual doubling of interest. That is how retirements for American workers are still supposed to be paid – by magic, not by direct investment. Prospective retirees are supposed to ensure a good life by investing savings in loans to corporate raiders who fire, lay off, downsize and outsource these very workers. The trick is to persuade employees to hand retirement funding over to financial managers whose idea was to make money off the economy by extracting interest and dividends off workers, homeowners and companies being bought on debt leverage. In the final analysis it is debt leverage by itself that is supposed to fuel capital gains.
So here’s where the cognitive dissonance comes in: It is necessary, even inevitable, for the volume of debt to come down – not up – to restore equilibrium. The economy was well on its way to preparing the ground for this last week. As Alan Meltzer of the American Enterprise Institute (of all places!) explained on McNeill-Lehrer, Merrill Lynch was able to be sold at 22 cents on the dollar; and the economy survived Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns being wiped out.
Such debt writes-offs are a precondition for writing down America’s mortgage debts to levels that are affordable. But Mr. Paulson’s plan is to fight against this tide. He wants the Wall Street to keep on raking in money at the expense of the economy at large. These are the big banks who lobbied Congress to appoint de-regulators, the banks whose officers paid themselves enormous bonuses and gave themselves enormous golden parachutes. They were the leaders in the great disinformation campaign about the magic of compound interest. And now they are to get their payoff.
The “magic of compound interest” refers to the tendency of savings to double and redouble exponentially, with a matching rise in what debtors owe on the other side of the balance sheet. These mathematics have been operated throughout history, ever since the charging of interest was invented in Sumer some time around 2750 BC. In every known society, the effect has been to concentrate wealth in the hands of people with money. In recent years, one’s own money is not even necessary to do this. The power to indebt others to oneself can be achieved by free credit creation. However, the resulting mushrooming exponential growth in indebtedness must collapse at the point where its interest and other carrying charges (now augmented by exorbitant late fees, bounced-check fees, credit-card costs and other penalties) absorb the entire economic surplus.
This long screed against compound interest ending with a call for all of society to have debt forgiveness periods is a sign of how desperate our collective debt-raddled society has become! Back when interest rates were raised rapidly above the rate of inflation, a flood of savings poured into the banking system. And banks ceased dying. Banks paying interest on savings, call this 'debits'. And loans are 'assets'. But without the 'debits' there can be no lending. This forces banks to curb lending. No need for savings leads to wild lending which leads to too much cheap debt.
The desire to go deep in debt and then smirk as it is all erased is very enduring. For thousands of years, this has been the ideal. It also leads to no banking! Who, in their right mind, would save money, lend it out so it 'grows' only to see the person who borrows it skip off with not only not paying for the risks of lending but also, keeping the principal? Impossible. This is why we still dig up money across the planet. Whenever a culture follows this solution, savers cease lending and bury their money. We saw this in the Great Depression, for example.
Savings vanish. And since interest rates don't give much return at all in the US, few people are saving. Everyone is rushing to build up debt. This is now collapsing because too much debt was poured on top of things, thus leading to the temptation of shirking paying loans. We already have a mechanism: bankruptcy. But people bought houses at inflated prices, for example, thanks to cheap lending. Now, they want to still live there...gratis. There would be no 30 year loans for houses if we had jubilees that eliminated debt. No one would lend if such a day were approaching. How obvious is this, anyway?
Just days after Washington brokered the sale of Washington Mutual, the largest American savings and loan, regulators in Britain and Belgium swooped in to engineer rescues of two leading banks with heavy exposure to soured mortgages.
In the latest sign of trouble to hit Europe from the global credit crisis, the Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg governments announced Sunday a partial nationalization of the Belgian-Dutch financial conglomerate Fortis, involving a combined injection of 11.2 billion euros, or $16.1 billion, from the three governments, which took a 49 percent stake.
Prime Minister Yves Leterme of Belgium, who was joined Sunday by the European Central Bank president, Jean-Claude Trichet, in an unprecedented appearance, announced the accord after a weekend of emergency talks in which the governments had tried to broker a whole or partial sale of the bank to private bidders.
All the G7 nations but Japan are nationalizing all their banking systems. This wave of nationalization sweeping the top financial banking systems is a sign that all are overexposed and all lent far beyond their means. And the era of cheap interest lending was FAKE. I remember how everyone was marveling at the miracle of no inflation. Even as oil prices began their historic, relentless climb and gold shot upwards, everyone at the helm of the G7 nations were smug about cheap lending. Indeed, the US rashly dropped rates to 1% when oil and gold were rapidly climbing!
Instead of being arrested for fraud, reckless endangerment and theft, these same banking gnomes that flooded the world with easy credit right when inflation was certainly taking off are now taking over our governments. For these nationalizations are basically all political coups. Only if the bankers are arrested, will this be seen as a change in power. Instead, they now are gaining a tighter grip on us all. And they intend to MAKE LENDING CHEAP AGAIN. They are killing bears, stripping savers, crushing investors all, while dropping interest rates to borrowers. This is very wrong.
Citigrouphas agreed to buy Wachovia’s banking operations for $1 a share, a move that that would concentrate power within the nation’s banking industry in the hands of a few giant lenders, The New York Times’s Eric Dash and Andrew Ross Sorkin reported Monday morning.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said in a statement on Monday that Citigroup will assume Wachovia’s senior subordinated debt, and emphasized that Wachovia did not fail.
Although the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department were pushing for a sale, the government was resisting pressure to provide financial guarantees to the buyer, which both Citigroup and Wells Fargo had sought.
The sale to Citigroup further concentrates Americans’ bank deposits in the hands of just three banks: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup would control more than 30 percent of the industry’s deposits.
Look at the graphs: last Friday, Wachovia was $10 a share, not $1. Wachovia's stock history:
The hockey stick graph is obvious, leading up to the 2000 stock market crash. But the second hump is the result of the 1% rescue of the spendthrifts by Greenspan. So there was a fake, shadow bubble which finally burst, killing the bank. The entities buying up Wachovia, Countrywide, etc are all in deep trouble. All of these remaining players on this Hamlet death duel are all equally exposed. Indeed, the derivatives exposure is in the hundreds of trillions of dollars. This is why these rescues are happening simultaneous with frantic law making. The screams we hear are the bankers opening their safes to find the Derivatives Beast inside, munching up all their wealth.
THIS election means that the circle is now complete. And the question at this time is: what are the aims of this opposition and its leaders?
It is a fight for an idea - a Weltanschanung: and in the forefront stands a fundamental principle: Men do not exist for the State, the State exists for men. First and far above all else stands the idea of the people: the State is a form of organization of this people, and the meaning and the purpose of the State are through this form of organization to assure the life of the people. And from this there arises a new mode of thought and thus necessarily a new political method.
We say: a new mode of thought. Today our whole official political outlook is rooted in the view that the State must be maintained because the State in itself is the essential thing; we, on the other hand, maintain that the State in its form has a definite purpose to fulfill and the moment that it fails to fulfill its purpose the form stands condemned. Above everything stands the purpose to maintain the nation's life - that is the essential thing and one should not speak of a law for the protection of the State but for the protection of the nation: it is of this protection that one must think.... In the place of this rigid formal organization - the State - must be set the living organism - the people. Then all action is given a new untrammelled freedom: all the formal fetters which can today be imposed on men become immoral directly they fail to maintain the people, because that is the highest purpose in life and the aim of all reasonable thought and action.
Germany didn't want to pay its debts. It threw in the towel. In September, 1930, the US banking system was still operational. When the Germans went bankrupt, the waves sloshed over to here and triggered the second panic of 1931-1933 as everything collapsed. The systems set up back then were nearly all discarded except for government insurance of bank accounts of savers. The FDIC was deliberately starved of money so it, too, might fail. Thus, the panic.
A spendthrift nation can't fix itself by declaring bankruptcy. If this hurts China, it will destroy us as surely as the same wild behavior in Germany, 1930 led to its nearly total destruction a mere 15 years later. The US was made stronger by WWII even though its banking system collapsed. This was because our government was solvent and it moved rapidly to protect itself from a flood of cheap imports.