Tag Archives: Ben Bernanke

What is an economy?

Yesterday we saw all kinds of movement in the markets. The start of this was a violent sell off in almost direct answer to a message be Ben Bernanke (Source:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/jun/20/stock-markets-violent-sell-off ). It is a name that ‘shines’ to some extent when we watch the movie ‘Inside Job’. Mr Bernanke has been involved with the Federal Reserve for over a decade and has been the chairman of the Federal Reserve since 2006. Bernanke’s message that started a whole lot was to end QE (Quantitative Easing). Is it wrong? That is the debate that many want to start, yet we are currently in a phase where this approach to bond buying must stop, the question is not just why, it is also current to ask why not sooner, or why would this have such a strong effect on global markets to this effect.

Does this event show that the US is actually getting stronger, or is the rest of Europe’s so much weaker? My initial voice goes to the second part and I will explain why. If we consider the outstanding debts then we must agree that the US remains now and for some time to come on the utter brink of bankruptcy. The total US debts are well over 120 trillion (almost 17 trillion national debt), which is so much outside of the reach of repaying for a long time to come. There is the valid question why the US should support Europe to the extent it is doing at present. Europe is so not getting a handle on their spending and many nations are showing more and more delay to getting it all under control. This is not just fuelling UKIP and the reason that the UK population is more and more intent on leaving the European Community, parties within the US are validly asking, why are we paying for all this? As the US pays the IMF and they keep on pouring money into bottomless pits like Greece, more and more are asking questions as to why this should continue.

It gets even better. If we add the sums of payments by the different parties into getting the economy going (jump starting was the label they used) , we end up with an amount well over the sum of all outstanding mortgages in US and Europe. So if we consider that amount, then consider the option of paying of the mortgage of EVERY household making less than $70K. That amount would be less than the amounts paid to get the economy started. In effect, no mortgage means that people would be spending money everywhere and the US (and also the European Community) would have an economy that is up and running.

So as Ben Bernanke stops QE and as the US is buying back the outstanding bonds the markets will not suffer, but they will reflect the poor position everyone is in.

If we see the past of Rothschild we see: “Amschel Rothschild’s (1773–1855) definition of economy saw this as financing national projects such as wars, goods and infrastructure”. Economy would be defined as a national economy as a classification for the economic activities of the citizens of a state. So our view of economy (you and me in general) sees this in relation to the citizens. As such, the US economy is seen as extremely poor as one out of six lost their house; one in ten had no job. This has now improved to one in 12 (which is really not that good yet), yet the overall considering healthcare (or lack thereof) and other topics mean that the economy is not yet in a state of health. It is only barely starting to be on a road to recovery. The Federal Reserve is considering that dropping QE would enable a stronger wave of recovery. Is that wrong? When we read about the economy in many places, and how much better the economy is doing, we feel we are being lied to, yet, is that true?

that point of view only hangs on what the definition of economy is. In a global market where we look on how corporations are doing in their markets we see a definition devoid of citizens as they only consider the consumers. I think that their definition is wrong, yet it is not incorrect. Many of us seem to look with at the same picture with wrong (different) standards and values.

If the market drops (as it did yesterday) because these sellable items are no longer there, then this is another matter. If a shop loses one item and it drops to such an extent, then we see evidence that are (or have been) living for the most of the ROI of one successful item. Today’s message on the Guardian (source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2013/jun/21/global-markets-stablise-crisis-euro) only gives strength to my views. It shows on how Greece needs another 3 Billion, how can this continue?

The article shows the following quotes that are important for the next part: “EU leaders in Luxembourg are holding a day (and probably night) of talks to create rules that force losses onto large savers when banks fail.

So like Cyprus, those who saved money for their retirement will see it dwindle? Because in Cyprus those over 100K Euro lost a bundle. After working up to 45 years, their retirement all based on joy of working hard is getting cut because no one has either the guts or the insight to actually deal with the banks and the governments behind these events?

Sweden’s Finance minister Anders Borg emphasised on the dangers of those moves. Also stated in the article by the Guardian was “A draft bill has suggests bank shareholders should suffer first, followed by bondholders and then savers. A new fund could also be set up to oversee new tighter rules.

Now, I get the shareholders suffering side of this. When you invest in shares, you invest in risk. Yet the one part that needs an overhaul, the banks and their board of directors are still not properly dealt with. So whatever draft will be created on dealing with banks and their path of recovery is still not laid out in full. However, with the promotion of bad bank separation only gives pressure on taxation and tax payers. Who wants to live in such an environment, where what I see as unacceptable levels of risk-taking remaining undealt with. To me it seems that it is more humane to legalise drunk driving as that will only kill of a few people, the fact that banks and risk-taking financial institutions can dump these levels of risk on a population group many times the size over is just absurd.

We see all these ideas and patch jobs, yet the instigators of the harm we witnessed since 2004 keep on getting a pass by ‘the deans of industry’ to walk, talk and deal wherever they want. Especially after Cyprus, where we now see the legal proposals to force losses somewhere, seem to be less vocal on jailing the board of directors of banks when these levels of loss become visible. They apparently did not break any laws. If being drunk in traffic is no defence in court, how can irresponsible short-sightedness in financial institutions be legal? This level of high stakes poker where losses are not punished and winnings go to the individual must stop. In that same regard where the European Community (EC) is adding nation after nation, and when these places start to overspend as banks and politicians that the EC stamp is a free for all for name and fame making is short term and the outstanding debts are all dumped on the tax payers in the end. Perhaps it is no longer about saving failed banks. Perhaps any failing bank should be nationalised. The members of the board are investigated for negligence, whilst their belongings are sold at auction and they are scrapped from the banking and financial industry where they may never work again on any level of authority.
Yes, I agree this is equally an overreaction.

Yet, currently nothing seems to be effectively done. Greece remains a slice of evidence in that regard. It is nice for the Greek population to blame others (especially Germany), yet these levels of non-control into the Greek debts come from Greece. It is their own previous government being so utterly irresponsible, not to mention some of the financial institutions who were residing there. From Bloomberg this quote came: “Let’s begin with the observation that irresponsible borrowers can’t exist without irresponsible lenders“. There is logic in that statement. Can we however also mention that Goldman Sachs had given the assistance to hide the levels of Deficit in Greece? So there were more elements in play. Perhaps, when the Greek banks do go into a toxic bank solution, they should consider adding their entire Greek mortgage portfolio and add that to the bad bank. If you truly want to start an economy, taking away their fear of homelessness will go a long way. Especially when the monthly mortgage could then be spend on items that truly jump start an economy.

When nations and conglomerates are talking about the economy, then you should ask them ‘what is YOUR definition of an economy’. It is the same issue as companies hiding behind revenue. Revenue sounds nice, but the reality is profit and contribution. It is what is left after the costs are removed. You will see that many places are not in a good position and they are not getting better any day soon.

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