Debt Dynamite Dominoes: The Coming Financial Catastrophe

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by Andrew Gavin Marshall: A
New World War for a New World Order

 

 
 

Understanding
the Nature of the Global Economic Crisis

The people
have been lulled into a false sense of safety under the rouse of
a perceived “economic recovery.” Unfortunately, what the
majority of people think does not make it so, especially when the
people making the key decisions think and act to the contrary. The
sovereign debt crises that have been unfolding in the past couple
years and more recently in Greece, are canaries in the coal mine
for the rest of Western “civilization.” The crisis threatens
to spread to Spain, Portugal and Ireland; like dominoes, one country
after another will collapse into a debt and currency crisis, all
the way to America.

In October
2008, the mainstream media and politicians of the Western world
were warning of an impending depression if actions were not taken
to quickly prevent this. The problem was that this crisis had been
a long-time coming, and what’s worse, is that the actions governments
took did not address any of the core, systemic issues and problems
with the global economy; they merely set out to save the banking
industry from collapse. To do this, governments around the world
implemented massive “stimulus” and “bailout”
packages, plunging their countries deeper into debt to save the
banks from themselves, while charging it to people of the world.

Then an uproar
of stock market speculation followed, as money was pumped into the
stocks, but not the real economy. This recovery has been nothing
but a complete and utter illusion, and within the next two years,
the illusion will likely come to a complete collapse.

The governments
gave the banks a blank check, charged it to the public, and now
it’s time to pay; through drastic tax increases, social spending
cuts, privatization of state industries and services, dismantling
of any protective tariffs and trade regulations, and raising interest
rates. The effect that this will have is to rapidly accelerate,
both in the speed and volume, the unemployment rate, globally. The
stock market would crash to record lows, where governments would
be forced to freeze them altogether.

When the crisis
is over, the middle classes of the western world will have been
liquidated of their economic, political and social status. The global
economy will have gone through the greatest consolidation of industry
and banking in world history leading to a system in which only a
few corporations and banks control the global economy and its resources;
governments will have lost that right. The people of the western
world will be treated by the financial oligarchs as they have treated
the “global South” and in particular, Africa; they will
remove our social structures and foundations so that we become entirely
subservient to their dominance over the economic and political structures
of our society.

This is where
we stand today, and is the road on which we travel.

The western
world has been plundered into poverty, a process long underway,
but with the unfolding of the crisis, will be rapidly accelerated.
As our societies collapse in on themselves, the governments will
protect the banks and multinationals. When the people go out into
the streets, as they invariably do and will, the government will
not come to their aid, but will come with police and military forces
to crush the protests and oppress the people. The social foundations
will collapse with the economy, and the state will clamp down to
prevent the people from constructing a new one.

The road to
recovery is far from here. When the crisis has come to an end, the
world we know will have changed dramatically. No one ever grows
up in the world they were born into; everything is always changing.
Now is no exception. The only difference is, that we are about to
go through the most rapid changes the world has seen thus far.

Assessing
the Illusion of Recovery

In August of
2009, I wrote an article, Entering
the Greatest Depression in History
, in which I analyzed how
there is a deep systemic crisis in the Capitalist system in which
we have gone through merely one burst bubble thus far, the housing
bubble, but there remains a great many others.

There remains
as a significantly larger threat than the housing collapse, a commercial
real estate bubble. As the Deutsche Bank CEO said in May of 2009,
“It’s either the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning.”

Of even greater
significance is what has been termed the “bailout bubble”
in which governments have superficially inflated the economies through
massive debt-inducing bailout packages. As of July of 2009, the
government watchdog and investigator of the US bailout program stated
that the U.S. may have put itself at risk of up to $23.7 trillion
dollars.

[See: Andrew
Gavin Marshall, Entering the Greatest Depression in History. Global
Research: August 7, 2009
]

In October
of 2009, approximately one year following the “great panic”
of 2008, I wrote an article titled, The
Economic Recovery is an Illusion
, in which I analyzed what the
most prestigious and powerful financial institution in the world,
the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), had to say about the
crisis and “recovery.”

The BIS, as
well as its former chief economist, who had both correctly predicted
the crisis that unfolded in 2008, were warning of a future crisis
in the global economy, citing the fact that none of the key issues
and structural problems with the economy had been changed, and that
government bailouts may do more harm than good in the long run.

William White,
former Chief Economist of the BIS, warned:

The world has
not tackled the problems at the heart of the economic downturn and
is likely to slip back into recession. [He] warned that government
actions to help the economy in the short run may be sowing the seeds
for future crises.

[See: Andrew
Gavin Marshall, The Economic Recovery is an Illusion. Global Research:
October 3, 2009
]

Crying Wolf
or Castigating Cassandra?

While people
were being lulled into a false sense of security, prominent voices
warning of the harsh bite of reality to come were, instead of being
listened to, berated and pushed aside by the mainstream media. Gerald
Celente, who accurately predicted the economic crisis of 2008 and
who had been warning of a much larger crisis to come, had been accused
by the mainstream media of pushing “pessimism porn.”[1]
Celente’s response has been that he isn’t pushing “pessimism
porn,” but that he refuses to push “optimism opium”
of which the mainstream media does so outstandingly.

So, are these
voices of criticism merely “crying wolf” or is it that
the media is out to “castigate Cassandra”? Cassandra,
in Greek mythology, was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba
of Troy, who was granted by the God Apollo the gift of prophecy.
She prophesied and warned the Trojans of the Trojan Horse, the death
of Agamemnon and the destruction of Troy. When she warned the Trojans,
they simply cast her aside as “mad” and did not heed her
warnings.

While those
who warn of a future economic crisis may not have been granted the
gift of prophecy from Apollo, they certainly have the ability of
comprehension.

So what do
the Cassandras of the world have to say today? Should we listen?

Empire and
Economics

To understand
the global economic crisis, we must understand the global causes
of the economic crisis. We must first determine how we got to the
initial crisis, from there, we can critically assess how governments
responded to the outbreak of the crisis, and thus, we can determine
where we currently stand, and where we are likely headed.

Africa and
much of the developing world was released from the socio-political-economic
restraints of the European empires throughout the 1950s and into
the 60s. Africans began to try to take their nations into their
own hands. At the end of World War II, the United States was the
greatest power in the world. It had command of the United Nations,
the World Bank and the IMF, as well as setting up the NATO military
alliance. The US dollar reigned supreme, and its value was tied
to gold.

In 1954, Western
European elites worked together to form an international think tank
called the Bilderberg Group, which would seek to link the political
economies of Western Europe and North America. Every year, roughly
130 of the most powerful people in academia, media, military, industry,
banking, and politics would meet to debate and discuss key issues
related to the expansion of Western hegemony over the world and
the re-shaping of world order. They undertook, as one of their key
agendas, the formation of the European Union and the Euro currency
unit.

[See: Andrew
Gavin Marshall, Controlling the Global Economy: Bilderberg, the
Trilateral Commission and the Federal Reserve. Global Research:
August 3, 2009
]

In 1971, Nixon
abandoned the dollar’s link to gold, which meant that the dollar
no longer had a fixed exchange rate, but would change according
to the whims and choices of the Federal Reserve (the central bank
of the United States). One key individual that was responsible for
this choice was the third highest official in the U.S. Treasury
Department at the time, Paul Volcker.[2]

Volcker got
his start as a staff economist at the New York Federal Reserve Bank
in the early 50s. After five years there, “David Rockefeller’s
Chase Bank lured him away.”[3] So in 1957, Volcker went to
work at Chase, where Rockefeller “recruited him as his special
assistant on a congressional commission on money and credit in America
and for help, later, on an advisory commission to the Treasury Department.”[4]
In the early 60s, Volcker went to work in the Treasury Department,
and returned to Chase in 1965 “as an aide to Rockefeller, this
time as vice president dealing with international business.”
With Nixon entering the White House, Volcker got the third highest
job in the Treasury Department. This put him at the center of the
decision making process behind the dissolution of the Bretton Woods
agreement by abandoning the dollar’s link to gold in 1971.[5]

In 1973, David
Rockefeller, the then-Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank and President
of the Council on Foreign Relations, created the Trilateral Commission,
which sought to expand upon the Bilderberg Group. It was an international
think tank, which would include elites from Western Europe, North
America, and Japan, and was to align a “trilateral” political
economic partnership between these regions. It was to further the
interests and hegemony of the Western controlled world order.

That same year,
the Petri-dish experiment of neoliberalism was undertaken in Chile.
While a leftist government was coming to power in Chile, threatening
the economic interests of not only David Rockefeller’s bank,
but a number of American corporations, David Rockefeller set up
meetings between Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s National Security
Adviser, and a number of leading corporate industrialists. Kissinger
in turn, set up meetings between these individuals and the CIA chief
and Nixon himself. Within a short while, the CIA had begun an operation
to topple the government of Chile.

On September
11, 1973, a Chilean General, with the help of the CIA, overthrew
the government of Chile and installed a military dictatorship that
killed thousands. The day following the coup, a plan for an economic
restructuring of Chile was on the president’s desk. The economic
advisers from the University of Chicago, where the ideas of Milton
Freidman poured out, designed the restructuring of Chile along neoliberal
lines.

Neoliberalism
was thus born in violence.

In 1973, a
global oil crisis hit the world. This was the result of the Yom
Kippur War, which took place in the Middle East in 1973. However,
much more covertly, it was an American strategem. Right when the
US dropped the dollar’s peg to gold, the State Department had
quietly begun pressuring Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations to
increase the price of oil. At the 1973 Bilderberg meeting, held
six months before the oil price rises, a 400% increase in the price
of oil was discussed. The discussion was over what to do with the
large influx of what would come to be called “petrodollars,”
the oil revenues of the OPEC nations.

Henry Kissinger
worked behind the scenes in 1973 to ensure a war would take place
in the Middle East, which happened in October. Then, the OPEC nations
drastically increased the price of oil. Many newly industrializing
nations of the developing world, free from the shackles of overt
political and economic imperialism, suddenly faced a problem: oil
is the lifeblood of an industrial society and it is imperative in
the process of development and industrialization. If they were to
continue to develop and industrialize, they would need the money
to afford to do so.

Concurrently,
the oil producing nations of the world were awash with petrodollars,
bringing in record surpluses. However, to make a profit, the money
would need to be invested. This is where the Western banking system
came to the scene. With the loss of the dollar’s link to cold,
the US currency could flow around the world at a much faster rate.
The price of oil was tied to the price of the US dollar, and so
oil was traded in US dollars. OPEC nations thus invested their oil
money into Western banks, which in turn, would “recycle”
that money by loaning it to the developing nations of the world
in need of financing industrialization. It seemed like a win-win
situation: the oil nations make money, invest it in the West, which
loans it to the South, to be able to develop and build “western”
societies.

However, all
things do not end as fairy tales, especially when those in power
are threatened. An industrialized and developed “Global South”
(Latin America, Africa, and parts of Asia) would not be a good thing
for the established Western elites. If they wanted to maintain their
hegemony over the world, they must prevent the rise of potential
rivals, especially in regions so rich in natural resources and the
global supplies of energy.

It was at this
time that the United States initiated talks with China. The “opening”
of China was to be a Western project of expanding Western capital
into China. China will be allowed to rise only so much as the West
allows it. The Chinese elite were happy to oblige with the prospect
of their own growth in political and economic power. India and Brazil
also followed suit, but to a smaller degree than that of China.
China and India were to brought within the framework of the Trilateral
partnership, and in time, both China and India would have officials
attending meetings of the Trilateral Commission.

So money flowed
around the world, primarily in the form of the US dollar. Foreign
central banks would buy US Treasuries (debts) as an investment,
which would also show faith in the strength of the US dollar and
economy. The hegemony of the US dollar reached around the world.

[See: Andrew
Gavin Marshall, Controlling the Global Economy: Bilderberg, the
Trilateral Commission and the Federal Reserve. Global Research:
August 3, 2009
]

The Hegemony
of Neoliberalism

In 1977, however,
a new US administration came to power under the Presidency of Jimmy
Carter, who was himself a member of the Trilateral Commission. With
his administration, came another roughly two-dozen members of the
Trilateral Commission to fill key positions within his government.
In 1973, Paul Volcker, the rising star through Chase Manhattan and
the Treasury Department became a member of the Trilateral Commission.
In 1975, he was made President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New
York, the most powerful of the 12 regional Fed banks. In 1979, Jimmy
Carter gave the job of Treasury Secretary to the former Governor
of the Federal Reserve System, and in turn, David Rockefeller recommended
Jimmy Carter appoint Paul Volcker as Governor of the Federal Reserve
Board, which Carter quickly did.[6]

In 1979, the
price of oil skyrocketed again. This time, Paul Volcker at the Fed
was to take a different approach. His response was to drastically
increase interest rates. Interest rates went from 2% in the late
70s to 18% in the early 1980s. The effect this had was that the
US economy went into recession, and greatly reduced its imports
from developing nations. A the same time, developing nations, who
had taken on heavy debt burdens to finance industrialization, suddenly
found themselves having to pay 18% interest payments on their loans.
The idea that they could borrow heavily to build an industrial society,
which would in turn pay off their loans, had suddenly come to a
halt. As the US dollar had spread around the world in the forms
of petrodollars and loans, the decisions that the Fed made would
affect the entire world. In 1982, Mexico announced that it could
no longer service its debt, and defaulted on its loans. This marked
the spread of the 1980s debt crisis, which spread throughout Latin
America and across the continent of Africa.

Suddenly, much
of the developing world was plunged into crisis. Thus, the IMF and
World Bank entered the scene with their newly developed “Structural
Adjustment Programs” (SAPs), which would encompass a country
in need signing an agreement, the SAP, which would provide the country
with a loan from the IMF, as well as “development” projects
by the World Bank. In turn, the country would have to undergo a
neoliberal restructuring of its country.

Neoliberalism
spread out of America and Britain in the 1980s; through their financial
empires and instruments – including the World Bank and IMF
– they spread the neoliberal ideology around the globe. Countries
that resisted neoliberalism were subjected to “regime change.”
This would occur through financial manipulation, via currency speculation
or the hegemonic monetary policies of the Western nations, primarily
the United States; economic sanctions, via the United Nations or
simply done on a bilateral basis; covert regime change, through
“colour revolutions” or coups, assassinations; and sometimes
overt military campaigns and war.

The neoliberal
ideology consisted in what has often been termed “free market
fundamentalism.” This would entail a massive wave of privatization,
in which state assets and industries are privatized in order to
become economically “more productive and efficient.” This
would have the social effect of leading to the firing of entire
areas of the public sector, especially health and education as well
as any specially protected national industries, which for many poor
nations meant vital natural resources.

Then, the market
would be “liberalized” which meant that restrictions and
impediments to foreign investments in the nation would diminish
by reducing or eliminating trade barriers and tariffs (taxes), and
thus foreign capital (Western corporations and banks) would be able
to invest in the country easily, while national industries that
grow and “compete” would be able to more easily invest
in other nations and industries around the world. The Central Bank
of the nation would then keep interest rates artificially low, to
allow for the easier movement of money in and out of the country.
The effect of this would be that foreign multinational corporations
and international banks would be able to easily buy up the privatized
industries, and thus, buy up the national economy. Simultaneously
major national industries may be allowed to grow and work with the
global banks and corporations. This would essentially oligopolize
the national economy, and bring it within the sphere of influence
of the “global economy” controlled by and for the Western
elites.

The European
empires had imposed upon Africa and many other colonized peoples
around the world a system of “indirect rule,” in which
local governance structures were restructured and reorganized into
a system where the local population is governed by locals, but for
the western colonial powers. Thus, a local elite is created, and
they enrich themselves through the colonial system, so they have
no interest in challenging the colonial powers, but instead seek
to protect their own interests, which happen to be the interests
of the empire.

In the era
of globalization, the leaders of the “Third World” have
been co-opted and their societies reorganized by and for the interests
of the globalized elites. This is a system of indirect rule, and
the local elites becoming “indirect globalists”; they
have been brought within the global system and structures of empire.

Following a
Structural Adjustment Program, masses of people would be left unemployed;
the prices of essential commodities such as food and fuel would
increase, sometimes by hundreds of percentiles, while the currency
lost its value. Poverty would spread and entire sectors of the economy
would be shut down. In the “developing” world of Asia,
Latin America and Africa, these policies were especially damaging.
With no social safety nets to fall into, the people would go hungry;
the public state was dismantled.

When it came
to Africa, the continent so rapidly de-industrialized throughout
the 1980s and into the 1990s that poverty increased by incredible
degrees. With that, conflict would spread. In the 1990s, as the
harsh effects of neoliberal policies were easily and quickly seen
on the African continent, the main notion pushed through academia,
the media, and policy circles was that the state of Africa was due
to the “mismanagement” by Africans. The blame was put
solely on the national governments. While national political and
economic elites did become complicit in the problems, the problems
were imposed from beyond the continent, not from within.

Thus, in the
1990s, the notion of “good governance” became prominent.
This was the idea that in return for loans and “help”
from the IMF and World Bank, nations would need to undertake reforms
not only of the economic sector, but also to create the conditions
of what the west perceived as “good governance.” However,
in neoliberal parlance, “good governance” implies “minimal
governance,” and governments still had to dismantle their public
sectors. They simply had to begin applying the illusion of democracy,
through the holding of elections and allowing for the formation
of a civil society. “Freedom” however, was still to maintain
simply an economic concept, in that the nation would be “free”
for Western capital to enter into.

While massive
poverty and violence spread across the continent, people were given
the “gift” of elections. They would elect one leader,
who would then be locked into an already pre-determined economic
and political structure. The political leaders would enrich themselves
at the expense of others, and then be thrown out at the next election,
or simply fix the elections. This would continue, back and forth,
all the while no real change would be allowed to take place. Western
imposed “democracy” had thus failed.

An article
in a 2002 edition of International Affairs, the journal of
the Royal Institute of International Affairs (the British counter-part
to the Council on Foreign Relations), wrote that:

In 1960 the
average income of the top 20 per cent of the world’s population
was 30 times that of the bottom 20 per cent. By 1990 it was 60
times, ad by 1997, 74 times that of the lowest fifth. Today the
assets of the top three billionaires are more than the combined
GNP [Gross National Product] of all least developed countries
and their 600 million people.

This has
been the context in which there has been an explosive growth in
the presence of Western as well as local non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) in Africa. NGOs today form a prominent part of the “development
machine,” a vast institutional and disciplinary nexus of
official agencies, practitioners, consultants, scholars and other
miscellaneous experts producing and consuming knowledge about
the “developing world.”

[. . . ]
Aid (in which NGOs have come to play a significant role) is frequently
portrayed as a form of altruism, a charitable act that enables
wealth to flow from rich to poor, poverty to be reduced and the
poor to be empowered.[7]

The authors
then explained that NGOs have a peculiar evolution in Africa:

[T[heir role
in “development” represents a continuity of the work
of their precursors, the missionaries and voluntary organizations
that cooperated in Europe’s colonization and control of Africa.
Today their work contributes marginally to the relief of poverty,
but significantly to undermining the struggle of African people
to emancipate themselves from economic, social and political oppression.[8]

The authors
examined how with the spread of neoliberalism, the notion of a “minimalist
state” spread across the world and across Africa. Thus, they
explain, the IMF and World Bank “became the new commanders
of post-colonial economies.” However, these efforts were not
imposed without resistance, as, “Between 1976 and 1992 there
were 146 protests against IMF-supported austerity measures [SAPs]
in 39 countries around the world.” Usually, however, governments
responded with brute force, violently oppressing demonstrations.
However, the widespread opposition to these “reforms”
needed to be addressed by major organizations and “aid”
agencies in re-evaluating their approach to “development”:[9]

The outcome
of these deliberations was the “good governance” agenda
in the 1990s and the decision to co-opt NGOs and other civil society
organizations to a repackaged programme of welfare provision,
a social initiative that could be more accurately described as
a programme of social control.

The result
was to implement the notion of “pluralism” in the form
of “multipartyism,” which only ended up in bringing “into
the public domain the seething divisions between sections of the
ruling class competing for control of the state.” As for the
“welfare initiatives,” the bilateral and multilateral
aid agencies set aside significant funds for addressing the “social
dimensions of adjustment,” which would “minimize the more
glaring inequalities that their policies perpetuated.” This
is where the growth of NGOs in Africa rapidly accelerated.[10]

Africa had
again, become firmly enraptured in the cold grip of imperialism.
Conflicts in Africa would be stirred up by imperial foreign powers,
often using ethnic divides to turn the people against each other,
using the political leaders of African nations as vassals submissive
to Western hegemony. War and conflict would spread, and with it,
so too would Western capital and the multinational corporation.

Building
a “New” Economy

While the developing
world fell under the heavy sword of Western neoliberal hegemony,
the Western industrialized societies experienced a rapid growth
of their own economic strength. It was the Western banks and multinational
corporations that spread into and took control of the economies
of Africa, Latin America, Asia, and with the fall of the Soviet
Union in 1991, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Russia opened
itself up to Western finance, and the IMF and World Bank swept in
and imposed neoliberal restructuring, which led to a collapse of
the Russian economy, and enrichment of a few billionaire oligarchs
who own the Russian economy, and who are intricately connected with
Western economic interests; again, “indirect globalists.”

As the Western
financial and commercial sectors took control of the vast majority
of the world’s resources and productive industries, amassing
incredible profits, they needed new avenues in which to invest.
Out of this need for a new road to capital accumulation (making
money), the US Federal Reserve stepped in to help out.

The Federal
Reserve in the 1990s began to ease interest rates lower and lower
to again allow for the easier spread of money. This was the era
of “globalization,” where proclamations of a “New
World Order” emerged. Regional trading blocs and “free
trade” agreements spread rapidly, as world systems of political
and economic structure increasingly grew out of the national structure
and into a supra-national form. The North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) was implemented in an “economic constitution for North
America” as Reagan referred to it.

Regionalism
had emerged as the next major phase in the construction of the New
World Order, with the European Union being at the forefront. The
world economy was “globalized” and so too, would the political
structure follow, on both regional and global levels. The World
Trade Organization (WTO) was formed to maintain and enshrine global
neoliberal constitution for trade. All through this time, a truly
global ruling class emerged, the Transnational Capitalist Class
(TCC), or global elite, which constituted a singular international
class.

However, as
the wealth and power of elites grew, everyone else suffered. The
middle class had been subjected to a quiet dismantling. In the Western
developed nations, industries and factories closed down, relocating
to cheap Third World countries to exploit their labour, then sell
the products in the Western world cheaply. Our living standards
in the West began to fall, but because we could buy products for
cheaper, no one seemed to complain. We continued to consume, and
we used credit and debt to do so. The middle class existed only
in theory, but was in fact, beholden to the shackles of debt.

The Clinton
administration used “globalization” as its grand strategy
throughout the 1990s, facilitating the decline of productive capital
(as in, money that flows into production of goods and services),
and implemented the rise finance capital (money made on money).
Thus, financial speculation became one of the key tools of economic
expansion. This is what was termed the “financialization”
of the economy. To allow this to occur, the Clinton administration
actively worked to deregulate the banking sector. The Glass-Steagle
Act, put in place by FDR in 1933 to prevent commercial banks from
merging with investment banks and engaging in speculation, (which
in large part caused the Great Depression), was slowly dismantled
through the coordinated efforts of America’s largest banks,
the Federal Reserve, and the US Treasury Department.

Thus, a massive
wave of consolidation took place, as large banks ate smaller banks,
corporations merged, where banks and corporations stopped being
American or European and became truly global. Some of the key individuals
that took part in the dismantling of Glass-Steagle and the expansion
of “financialization” were Alan Greenspan at the Federal
Reserve and Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers at the Treasury Department,
now key officials in Obama’s economic team.

This era saw
the rise of “derivatives” which are “complex financial
instruments” that essentially act as short-term insurance policies,
betting and speculating that an asset price or commodity would go
up or go down in value, allowing money to be made on whether stocks
or prices go up or down. However, it wasn’t called “insurance”
because “insurance” has to be regulated. Thus, it was
referred to as derivatives trade, and organizations called Hedge
Funds entered the picture in managing the global trade in derivatives.

The stock market
would go up as speculation on future profits drove stocks higher
and higher, inflating a massive bubble in what was termed a “virtual
economy.” The Federal Reserve facilitated this, as it had previously
done in the lead-up to the Great Depression, by keeping interest
rates artificially low, and allowing for easy-flowing money into
the financial sector. The Federal Reserve thus inflated the “dot-com”
bubble of the technology sector. When this bubble burst, the Federal
Reserve, with Allen Greenspan at the helm, created the “housing
bubble.”

The Federal
Reserve maintained low interest rates and actively encouraged and
facilitated the flow of money into the housing sector. Banks were
given free reign and actually encouraged to make loans to high-risk
individuals who would never be able to pay back their debt. Again,
the middle class existed only in the myth of the “free market.”

Concurrently,
throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s, the role of

speculation
as a financial instrument of war became apparent. Within the neoliberal
global economy, money could flow easily into and out of countries.
Thus, when confidence weakens in the prospect of one nation’s
economy, there can be a case of “capital flight” where
foreign investors sell their assets in that nation’s currency
and remove their capital from that country. This results in an inevitable
collapse of the nations economy.

This happened
to Mexico in 1994, in the midst of joining NAFTA, where international
investors speculated against the Mexican peso, betting that it would
collapse; they cashed in their pesos for dollars, which devalued
the peso and collapsed the Mexican economy. This was followed by
the East Asian financial crisis in 1997, where throughout the 1990s,
Western capital had penetrated East Asian economies speculating
in real estate and the stock markets. However, this resulted in
over-investment, as the real economy, (production, manufacturing,
etc.) could not keep up with speculative capital. Thus, Western
capital feared a crisis, and began speculating against the national
currencies of East Asian economies, which triggered devaluation
and a financial panic as capital fled from East Asia into Western
banking sectors. The economies collapsed and then the IMF came in
to “restructure” them accordingly. The same strategy was
undertaken with Russia in 1998, and Argentina in 2001.

[See: Andrew
Gavin Marshall, Forging a “New World Order” Under a One
World Government. Global Research: August 13, 2009
]

Throughout
the 2000s, the housing bubble was inflated beyond measure, and around
the middle of the decade, when the indicators emerged of a crisis
in the housing market a commercial real estate bubble was formed.
This bubble has yet to burst.

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the rest of the article

February
23, 2010

Andrew Gavin
Marshall is a Research Associate with the Centre for Research on
Globalization (CRG). He is currently studying Political Economy
and History at Simon Fraser University.

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