Chancellor Darling PBR Cancels Christmas And The Future
by Ian R Thorpe
CREATIVE COMMONS: Attribute, non commercial, no derivs.
KEYWORDS: economy, crisis, finance, debt, interest, currecny, inflation, gold, markets, government, politics, bank, nations
At this time last year we wrote in our other journal Boggart Blog "Chancellor darling you saved our Christmas" after the Chancellor's 2.5% cut in VAT enabled us all to stop worrying about the economic crisis, climate change, war, the future and everything and enjoy the festive season. Or so the government's spin machine would have had us believe.
This year however, now that we have had time to digest the Pre Budget Report (PBR) Chancellor Darling delivered a couple of weeks ago in which he spoke optimistically of the prospects of a recovery, a return to growth and the restoration of our right to borrow money and spend insanely in the pursuit of happiness. And having tried to digest the mix of your optimistic words and the unpalatable figures they served to conceal it is clear Mr. Darling was not just being economical with the truth but downright miserly.
The fact is the government can only se a way out of its debt crisis by forcing us all into such deep debt our lives will be owned by our creditors and we will be reduced to a state resembling medieval serfdom.
The economic miracle of this country's transformation between 1979 and 2007 from a nation that made and sold stuff to a nation that sold debt and pulled wealth out of a top had was an illusion. There was no economic miracle, just a willingness on the part of government and the banks to borrow from the future in order to finance growth. The labour party having performed that trick more successfully since 1997 that the Conservatives did between 1979 and 1997 are now trying to hoodwink us with it again. Along with the global carbon taxes that will be proposed in whatever political confidence trick emerges from the Copenhagen Climate Conference, the only plan governments in the developed world have to deal with the financial meltdown is to get us all borrowing to spend again.
How can they do that? By borrowing money of course. The trick might have stood some chance of success were anybody still willing to lend at favourable interests rates. That is what these governments are trying to do. It will not work because the international banks whose success was built on investing in assets that had no substance, i.e. bundles of debt secured against assets the value of which had been inflated beyond reality for accounting purposes, specifically to make dodgy balance sheets look good and facilitate more borrowing.
The global economy, that economic perpetual motion engine the politicians and academics promised would lead humanity through the next stage in our "ascent to the light" was in fact nothing but a gigantic Ponzi scheme. So long as money keeps being pumped in the investors can be paid their dividend and so long as the investors are getting their money they are happy are happy.
Sounds perfect, too good to be true in fact. So where did it all go wrong.
Things began to go wrong a long time ago, before anyone outside the world of economics academe had heard of Milton Friedman or monetarism. We could finger 1971, the year the USA abandoned the gold standard but that would be a bit unfair. Giving up the pretence that at a secret location somewhere in he USA there existed a heavily guarded vault where was stored THE GOLD. This myth of THE GOLD allowed people to believe there was a bit of gold in that vault for every United States Dollar in circulation. The myth was what enable the world to have confidence in the $US as the world's trading currency. Strangely for years after the American government had finally admitted, as other governments had decades earlier that there was no enough gold in the world to underwrite all the dollars in circulation.
Everything has a value, the economists said, so why not underwrite bank notes with stuff. Instead of the words printed on currency notes, "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of …" implying a promise to give the person holding the bank note a bit of gold so tiny that as sure as eggs are eggs they would lose it on the way home why not promise to give them some eggs or cheese or butter or a car or bricks or coal or potatoes. The idea sounded great on paper, it would free commodities to find their own value in the markets and trade would increase for ever as people traded stuff using paper as the means of exchange.
It soon became clear that like the banknotes nobody could swap for a bit of gold, the new economic policy was not worth the paper it was printed on.
What nobody had noticed however was that while we were all swapping our lives for bits of paper somebody else, somebody too clever by half but lacking life experience in the real world, had thought that instead of earning a modest but steady living by making real stuff we could leave all that dirty hands work to the developing nations like China, India and Japan while we all got rich selling each other money.
There was a problem with this. Because we had to buy all our stuff from China, India and Japan and all those places we had exported our manufacturing industry to we owed them a lot of money. So what did we do we borrowed money (or to put it a more technical way, we sold bonds which is a way of borrowing from the future) to pay our bills. And who bought the bonds? China, India and Japan and all those countries to which we had outsourced the task of catering to our expensive consumer habit. Because the west has allowed manufacturing to decline so much the money we are happy to sell to and buy from each other isn't very appealing to the manufacturing nations of the east. We have forgotten how markets work and our creditors are no dummies. "We don't want your money, every time you pay for stuff with your money we find the value has dropped so we can buy less off the stuff we need like oil, iron, copper. You must pay the interest you owe on our bond holdings in GOLD.
You may see for yourselves what is happening. Every month when the interest payments on government bonds falls due there is a spike in the gold price as western nations have to pay whatever is asked in order to buy enough gold to avoid default on their obligations. And who do you think owns the gold we must buy every month to pay China, India and Japan the interest we owe them? China, India and Japan or course.
So we could look at the day the world's most powerful economy admitted the myth of THE GOLD as the point when the current problems started. Or we could look further back. Someone once said those who do not learn from history's mistakes are condemned to repeat them. Politicians are notorious for not learning from history's mistakes. They prefer to rewrite history books rather than reading them (this is particularly true of politicians of the left.)
If we look back at other recessions we see a pattern emerge. It is when employment figures come out of freefall and level off, when stock markets stabilise and begin to climb out of the abyss and when economics ministers announce the economy has turned the corner and is set to expand rapidly as the national economy continues its climb onward and upward that the real trouble starts. This time it is wore than it has ever been before and much worse for Britain than for America, Canada, Australia and other industrialised nations of the EU. Britain's economic meltdown has been exacerbated by the way that as well as following policies that inflated a debt led bubble economy Gordon Brown in his years as both Prime Minister and Chancellor has enthusiastically followed the Thatcherite policy of selling off national assets to fund government vanity projects.
When Chancellor darling now talks of rebuilding the economy he forgets we will have to sell bonds money from China, India, Japan and the rest to buy the building materials. And the interest on those debts will add to the national indebtedness which is on the point of starting to expand exponentially.
How come The Daily Stirrer is the only place you will read such a pessimistic analysis. How come the mainstream media are not tearing the government apart in a bloodfest you ask.
Easy, this journal is written by a bunch of old gits who no longer need to earn a living and a few young mavericks who have been let down by the government and see their aspirations evaporating (and we will protect their identities at all costs). It costs about £10 a month to keep The Daily Stirrer online which will not break any of us and so we can say what we like. Newspapers run on debt, they are at the mercy of their creditors, the banks. The banks, like the government want to persuade you to start borrowing against the future to fund lavish lifestyles again in order to kick start the economy. Independent television is in the same boat. The BBC while nominally independent is at the mercy of the government which only has to threaten to divert funds from television licence fees elsewhere to head off to honest a critique of the government's mismanagement of the economy.
OK so now you will have enough faith in us to want to know more. What will happen in 2010? The big danger is inflation. The value of the GB£ and the US$ have fallen in real terms by about 25% in 2009 against vital commodities such as grain and metals. America has its own problems with the arrested adolescents in The White House still believing the economy runs on monopoly money, meanwhile in the UK the global financial markets have already shown their concern at Chancellor darling's plans to return the economy to grown and to fund the month on month deficit by borrowing. Prices of UK bonds in world markets have fallen sharply. Now the way bonds work is that when prices fall the interest rate effectively rises. Also a fall in the price undermines confidence in the currency and economy. So the Bank Of England has to buy in its own bonds to keep the price up. We are in a tailspin, each time we borrow money by selling bonds just to stay afloat we ensure a need to borrow more money to pay the interest on our borrowings.
There have been noises about Britain losing its credit rating, AAA with Standard and Poor's, the highest. Even fears of that happening are enough to prompt our creditors to seek higher interest rates when they buy our bonds. So we are heading for a situation where the need to buy in our bonds that pay low interest in order to stop the currency collapsing we are selling bonds on which in the future the nation must pay a higher rate of interest. Anybody with UK bond holdings and some spare cash to invest is going to run hands together gleefully and say "Yes, we'll have some of that."
This article does not begin to cover a hundredth part of the trouble the UK economy is in and we do not know yet how many more problems Gordon Brown will create by promising to give vast sums annually to poor nations to help combat climate change.
Do not be fooled by the optimistic noises about the economy being made by the government and bankers. The only way they can possibly get us out of his mess in by selling al least half of us into slavery or medieval serfdom.
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