The single greatest conceit of the Status Quo in the U.S., China and Euroland is that systems and trends can be tightly controlled. That conceit is slowly being revealed as hubris, as all sorts of things are spinning out of the control of the centralized authorities and financial elites in each geopolitical power center.
Does anyone really think the people of Greece will stand idly by while the state treasures of their nation are transferred to the banks which foolishly lent billions to a visibly risky enterprise? The banks, of course, lent freely to insolvent governments throughout the European Union, confident in the backstop of the E.U. itself.
The analogy to subprime mortgages in the U.S. is near-perfect: banks lent freely to extremely risky borrowers, breezily confident that their worker-bees in the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Treasury and Congress would all toil feverishly to transfer the risk to the U.S. taxpayers, by whatever means were necessary.
Does anyone really think the uprisings against this transfer of national wealth to the "too big to fail" banks in Europe will fade as unemployment rises and the true costs of the transfer become apparent to all?
Does anyone really think there is no chance that the citizens of one of the nations lined up to be stripmined by the E.U. will openly rebl against the stripmining, throwing out their government until they find some politicians who are not spineless lackeys and factotums of the financial Status Quo?
Does anyone really think the banks are really that precious to the people they are stripmining? Just how awful would it be if all the big banks with exposure to sovereign debt in the E.U. went belly up and were declared insolvent? A handful of very wealthy managers would lose their jobs, a handful of very wealthy owners would lose their stake, and all the pension funds and mutual funds which bet on the inifinite passivity of the citizenry and the infiite checkbook of the E.U. would lose, too.
It's called Capitalistic risk and return, baby, and return can be negative. All the big players assumed the citizenry would quietly line up to have the clothing ripped from their backs and their flesh flayed to extract the pound of flesh "owed" the banks. But as the citizenry of Europe wake up to costs of the stripmining, which extends now to the taxpayers of Germany, Finland and beyond, they are withdrawing their support of the financial Status Quo.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Their Reach Vastly Exceeds Their Grasp
Charles Hugh Smith: