The Market has a Name. It is Goldman Sachs
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A few months ago Ken Clarke, the justice secretary and former chancellor, said that it would take two to three years for Britain to get out of the recession.
“People have got to understand it is going to be a long haul,” he said. “We have got ourselves into a real mess.”
Meanwhile Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, has warned that UK take-home pay will continue to be squeezed.
You get the feeling we may be being softened up by statements such as these: that we are being prepared for a permanent reduction in our living standards rather than a temporary one.
A pay freeze alongside rising inflation means an effective pay-cut. We are seeing massive cuts in our public services and large scale redundancies. Restructuring of the NHS means privatisation by the back door. Libraries are closing. The lift on the cap on council house rents will lead to a form of social cleansing, as poorer people in wealthy areas are forced to leave.
Bankers bonuses, on the other hand, continue to rise. CEOs of large corporations continue to receive the kind of pay and benefits that would keep whole nations afloat.
The narrative being used to justify all of this is one of economic competence. There is a massive black hole in our budget which needs to be filled. At the same time, the government’s economic advisors – the ones who are prescribing these austerity measures – are also the same people who entirely failed to predict the financial crisis in the first place.
Worse: they are the very people whose economic theories brought the financial system to the brink of collapse. Remember, it was these same “experts” who argued for bank deregulation and a liberalisation of the markets. Wherever these policies have been instituted they have lead to financial chaos and a break down in the social order, as wealth flows upward, from the poor to the rich.
Is this deliberate? Are we seeing the creation of a form of corporate feudalism in which a capitalist aristocracy – a corporatocracy – lords it over the rest of us, with democracy as a convenient front?
In an interview on BBC News 24 on the 26th of September 2011, Alessio Rastani, an independent trader, made certain predictions about the economy.
He said that the euro will crash. “Markets are ruled by fear,” he said. “The big funds don’t buy this rescue plan. They know the market is toast. The stock market is finished. They’re moving their money away to other, safer, assets.”
The interviewer asked him if there’s anything that governments can do to prevent it? “I don’t care,” he said. “If I see an opportunity to make money, I go with that. People don’t remember, but the 30s depression wasn’t just about the market crash. There were some people who were prepared to make money off that crash. It’s not a time right now for wishful thinking hoping that the government is going to sort things out. Governments don’t rule the world. Goldman Sachs rules the world.”
Goldman Sachs, in case you don’t know, is the world’s most powerful investment bank.
Some of you may remember an interview in the Times two years ago with Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs. In it he said that he was “doing God’s work.” That interview came out as a response to an article in Rolling Stone magazine by Matt Taibbi, which accused Goldman Sachs of being like “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”
The article was called The Great American Bubble Machine. I recommend you read it.
Taibbi was very clear. Not only did Goldman Sachs make money from the depression, but it engineered it as well. In fact Taibbi goes on to list a whole series of economic crises that Goldman Sachs specifically engineered in order to make money from them, including the sub-prime crisis which brought about the financial collapse of 2008.
It’s a measure of the veracity of the information in the article that Goldman Sachs never sued him over it.
So the next time you hear someone on the TV telling you what “the market” demands, you should remember this.
The market has a name. It is Goldman Sachs.