Financial instruments are like used cars in that the incentive to pass off inferior products is strong. Buyer lack of information represents a market failure with fraught consequence. The last financial collapse, and the one coming, are fruit from the same lemon tree.
Phosphate is an essential mineral for all life on Earth. Farmers waste huge quantities of phosphate in fertilizing crops, and in doing so massively pollute terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Now, predictably, a global phosphate shortage looms.
The devastation of climate change is becoming more pronounced. This progression will accelerate during the 2020’s, with deaths from extreme weather, as well as water and food shortages, rising precipitously. Yet the trend of governments worldwide largely paying lip service to the growing crisis will also continue. Here’s why.
The operational definition of intelligence is a consistent display of appropriate behavior. Behind the behavior is a mental construal of how the world works. Failing to comprehend the environment invariably has negative consequences. In the instance of humans on planet Earth, the diagnosis is clear and the outcome apparent. These creatures face impending extinction and are taking much other life out with them.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) advocates “limited government and free markets.” They campaign against clean air and clean water, and favor legislation that allows routine animal cruelty.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the board of governors did not have a clue that the global financial crisis that started toward the end of 2007 was upon them. The reason is simple: their econometric model completely ignored banks as a profit-making enterprise.
$800 trillion of financial contracts worldwide are based upon a fiddled fiction: LIBOR (the London Interbank Offered Rate). For decades, rates were set by colluding bankers under the auspices of the British Banker’s Association, essentially without supervision. All scams are revealed in time, and LIBOR proved no exception.
Capitalism creates exploitation opportunities at every turn. Capitalism has excelled at grinding the great mass of humanity into indentured servitude better than feudalists could have dreamed, all the while placating by dangling the false hope that “you too can strike it rich.” On top of that, in less than 200 years since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, capitalists polluted the world at a pace to create a major mass extinction event, with zero prospect of reversal. That’s progress.
Never mind the worldwide ecological disaster unleashed by economic exploitation. The human condition itself is unsustainable. Unrealistic optimism invariably gives way to paying the piper who holds the purse strings. The world is about to get a disgustingly good look at the genitals of a bloated European emperor who wears no clothes, and has no purse from which to pay.
The Wall Street Journal reveals its ignorance of history in remarking that “global troubles have revealed how closely nations and financial markets have become intertwined.” Sovereigns have long relied upon bankers to finance debts. Bankers expect favors in return. Plutocracy is a hallowed tradition, ultimately based upon fostering an illusion of prosperity.
Profligate democracies in Western Europe continue to descend into economic turmoil over their sovereign debt loads. The United States, with its own stunning debt, may stumble into the same gulch. The root problem is plutocracy. Capital flows against society at large.