Saturday, 14 January 2012

the Market's Whims and the world's obedience

Has anyone realized? Just today, France and Austria got downgraded. Greece is at the bottom already, Italy and Spain are on their way.

Rating agencies, like now Standart & Poor’s are controlling the world. They only flick their fingers – or in their case rather their keyboards – and with the influence they have, they send everyone running; companies, people, states, governments.

We are the people of the world. We are electing the governments of the world (at least ideally). They are the representatives of the free states of the world. They have been charged with the task of finding a solution to how the world goes. They have been charged with the task of making the world a good place for everyone.
But over the last two or so years we are facing a new system. Since ever it has been politics deciding over the fate of the world, never mind if through wars or treaties. They are charged with this task, because they represent the peoples of the world.

But this system has changed over the last few years. All we can hear on the news, from politicians, journalists, people in charge and people at the base is about the market regaining faith in us, about us regaining faith in the market. Never mind which new idea the governments of Europe come up with, the overall reason is to restore the “faith in the market” or the “faith of the market”. They have made up an umbrella, called EFSF that is supposed to support states like Greece, Spain, Italy, who are not able to repay their debts to the banks. Greece is forced to make huge cuts in their country, cut incomes, increase taxes, privatize everything, in order to regain the money, in order to get money from the EFSF.
And for what?

They get the money, use the money to repay the debt they have with the banks. People in Greece have to suffer from all that, just so the banks get their money back in time. Governments in Europe and institutions all over the world force cuts over the Greeks, they force them to suffer, to sell their whole country to private actors – and for what? So that banks get their money back in time?

Whenever I see this, I keep asking myself why there is so much money spent, simply to repay banks. There certainly is an important point in repaying the banks on time. There certainly is an important point in being trustworthy towards the people or institutions who you borrow money from. But it always has to be put in relation to the costs. For Greece, in the long run, probably the costs will be higher than the benefits. We are going to look at a country that has been forced to use every Cent on repaying depts. We are going to look at a country that is having everything privatized, and from all the experience we could collect over the last years we know that privatizing is not solving anything, and in the end often costs the state more than it benefits from it – one only has to look at the railway system in the UK or at a housing company in Dresden/Germany, where privatizing was seen as the wonderdrug, and in the long run ended up with the state buying back a totally clapped-out system that it had to renew. I see no reason why this is not going to happen again. Then we can watch Greece that we forced to sacrifice everything, struggle with its burden. 

And then, on the day that all the debts are repaid, all the banks are satisfied, we can look at ourselves – are we going to be content? Are we going to be happy when the market has faith in us again? Are we going to be happy with the rating agencies getting us back on AAA?

Once it is achieved – if we can achieve it –, I do not think we should be happy with that. We have to change the system, and we have to change it now. We have to stop believing that the market needs to recover its faith in us. We need to stop trying. The market has only discovered the immense power it has over the world, over countries and how it can set governments running with only a snap. And after it has licked blood, it will not give this power up easily. Even if we find means to make the market recover its faith in us, our states, our governments, there will be more holes. The market will find ways to make sure governments will not forget the times that it had the power to make them run in circles with their hair on fire. It will be able to do so, until we stand up and refuse to be kicked around and frightened by the “market”.

Over the past years, the market has set the rules in the game that is called world politics – or global governance. Rating agencies have had the liberty to decide over the faith of states, banks have had the power to get states into incredible debts. And yet, after the market has shown its horrible and cruel face to the world, even though it kept dictating the politics actions for the past years, politicians still keep talking about recovering the “faith” of and in the market, feeding their banks with money, on the costs of their own people, and on the costs of the power of the world’s political system. Over all this time that they have been debating about how to satisfy the next dictate that came from the market, they have never thought of an alternative. They have never even tried to recover their power over the world. One might even wonder if they even want to recover their power, or if it is easier to be kicked around like an old football, and to always only react to whatever it brought on, instead of creating something new, that allows more power to act, that allows to be creative oneself, to make the billions we stuff in to Greece be used properly and sustainably, in order to have a world that maybe does not have faith in the market, and doesn’t gain the faith of the market, but instead is a world that is not dependent on the market, that can choose its own path without having to peer towards creditworthiness anymore, a world that has creative peoples as well as politicians who are brave enough to dare changing the world into a world where we have a market that does not overshadow everything, into a world where the most important thing is no longer growth and money, but making a country a place that people can be proud of, and happy to live in. This is the world I am imagining, and this is the world that, right now, is covered by the dictatorship that the market, and with it the rating agencies, exercise.

Here is a link regarding the financial problems in Italy and how Europe is managing the crisis:

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