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The Financial Crisis Was Foreseeable … Thousands of Years Ago

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Washington’s Blog
July 20, 2012

We’ve known for 4,000 years that debts need to be periodically written down, or the entire economy will collapse. And see this.

We’ve known for 2,500 years that prolonged war bankrupts an economy.

We’ve known for 1,900 years that rampant inequality destroys societies.

We’ve known for thousands of years that debasing currencies leads to economic collapse.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that the failure to punish financial fraud destroys economies, as it destroys all trust in the financial system.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that monopolies and the political influence which accompanies too much power in too few hands is dangerous for free markets.

We’ve known for centuries that companies will try to pawn their debts off on governments, and that it is a huge mistake for governments to allow corporate debt to be backstopped by government.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

We’ve known for 200 years that allowing private banks to control credit creation eventually destroys the nation’s prosperity.

We’ve known for 200 years that a fiat money system – where the money supply is not pegged to anything real – is harmful in the long-run.

We’ve known since the 1930s Great Depression that separating depository banking from speculative investment banking is key to economic stability. See thisthisthis and this.

We’ve known for 80 years that inflation is a hidden tax.

We’ve known since 1988 that quantitative easing doesn’t work to rescue an ailing economy.

We’ve known since 1993 that derivatives such as credit default swaps – if not reined in – could take down the economy. And see this.

We’ve known since 1998 that crony capitalism destroys even the strongest economies, and that economies that are capitalist in name only need major reforms to create accountability and competitive markets.

We’ve known since 2007 or earlier that lax oversight of hedge funds could blow up the economy.

And we knew before the 2008 financial crash and subsequent bailouts that:

  • The easy credit policy of the Fed and other central banks, the failure to regulate the shadow banking system, and “the use of gimmicks and palliatives” by central banks hurt the economy
  • Anything other than (1) letting asset prices fall to their true market value, (2) increasing savings rates, and (3) forcing companies to write off bad debts “will only make things worse”
  • Bailouts of big banks harm the economy
  • The Fed and other central banks were simply transferring risk from private banks to governments, which could lead to a sovereign debt crisis

Given the insane levels of debt, rampant inequality,  currency debasement, failure to punish financial fraud, letting the private banks take over the system of credit creation, de-linking of fiat money from anything real, growth of the too big to fails, repeal of Glass-Steagall, refusal to rein in derivatives, sovereigns taking on banks’ debt, crony capitalism, endless war, and other shenanigans … our financial crisis was entirely foreseeable.

 

This article was posted: Friday, July 20, 2012 at 2:02 am





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