Posted tagged ‘crisis’

EUROPE’S BURNING!

September 6, 2015

EUROPE’S BURNING!

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Europe is on fire. Save for those who choose to be blind, the Union is going through an incendiary economic burn. How far will the economic burning go, whether it will spread to a larger continental inferno, no one can tell for now.

Before the EU’s creation, welfare policies were prevalent from east to west of the continent. Liberal reforms then arose, commencing with the Tory’s (Thatcher era) wholesale adoption and social marketing of the same, and copied by the conservatives and liberals of the continent alike.

By the turn of the century, upon the commencement of the Euro, liberal reforms already saw the uncontrollable ascent of predatory finance worldwide. Liberalized financial-capital markets paved the way for their immanence.

Among those instruments created by the predators was financial derivatives. To recall, a decade back the derivatives markets were already awash with exposures totaling over $150 Trillion, with 36% of these in the hands of British financiers while 15% were in Americans’ hands.

By 2001, the alarming projection was leaked out that derivatives will be inflated to exceed $350 Trillions within the new decade. At a time when the global economy was producing past the $40 Trillion in Gross World Product or GWP, it was sheer madness to consider debt papers of past $350 that could meltdown the globe in case of a gigantic bubble burst.

Europe was already flat on its back for a straight two (2) decades since after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Periodic stagflations and recessions have seen the rise of poverty incidence and, consequently, the re-emergence of neo-fascist movements.

Being strongly tied up to the U.S. economy, it was not surprising to realize that a contagion of the U.S. recession will surely hit Europe, which did happen. The ugly side of the formula was the aiding of ailing banks that were badly affected by the crisis, an intervention that was flawed and immoral as it entails using taxpayers’ money to aid criminal bank speculators.

Barely out of the U.S. contagion effect, Brussels was shocked to see that a new fire had started within the Eurozone— Greece to be exact. As this was happening, Spain also began to sneeze & cough, as some of its own banks (notably Santander) spiraled down bankruptcy scale. Other member-economies were also having their own financial crucifixions going by the early part of this current year.

If we diagnose what’s going on in the financial sectors of member states, we can easily pinpoint banks as hotspot fire sources. They were heavily into speculative pursuits, with enormous exposures to derivative operations.

Just exactly how that happened can be traceable to certain acts in the North by the mid-80s. Commodities markets have sprung up on that decade, even as a global recession took place then, threatening OECD economies. Liberal reforms were already permeating diverse sectors, and within the backdrop of liberalization, financial derivatives and equivalent portfolios were launched in mass scales.

Banks shed off their previous stance of inhibiting themselves from speculative pursuits. Soon they’d find themselves investing into every speculative games they could lay their hands into, inclusive of hedge funds operations.

Now, to fast track to the present, economists estimate that EU’s aggregate derivatives are within the range of $180-$200 Trillions, estimates that seem conservative. Measure this against the gross domestic product of EU at $13 Trillions, and you would be driven to ask: just exactly where will Europe get the funds to pay the hedged financials in case of bursts and massive bankruptcies?

If all of the hedge funds investors would ask for a forced payment of their total of, say, $200 Trillions more or less, who would pay for such debts? Where will the money come from? Is it morally right to extract taxes from European workers to pay up for the dirty debt papers in case? Is it likewise morally right to impose wage cuts on workers who were not the culprits in the virtual economy game in the first place?

Concerned Europeans should better rethink the Euro and ask whether the new currency really worked for their welfare. It is now clearer that the Euro was a sell-out idea and project, that it was launched to satiate the insatiable pockets of greedy financiers represented by the top financial houses there.

And Europeans better see how silly it is to allocate taxpayers’ money worth $1 Trillion to bail out ailing banks and industries hit by the rising meltdown. For measured against total debt papers of $180-200 Trillions, $1 Trillion would be ridiculously paltry.

Yet another ridiculous intervention is the austerity measure imposed by the IMF on Greece. We’ve had so many precedents of the deleterious effects of such measures on developing economies that aimed at eventually graduating from IMF programs as a salvation measure in the short run. While emerging markets are getting out of a burning house (IMF & austerity measures), Greece voluntarily entered this house. Unbelievable!

As per reports reaching my focals, Germany had the greatest exposures to Greece’s banking sector, with exposures running to hundreds of billions of euros. British financiers, on the other hand, have their hands full in Spain’s banks.

It isn’t difficult to forecast that the fire in Greece could spread to other eurozone economies. Not even the UK, which decided to stay out of the eurozone, will be spared from the bonfire. Spain is almost there now, and who knows what country will be next.

If banks and industrial conglomerates will simultaneously burn in all of the member-states of the eurozone, with total aid claims of past the GDP of $13 Trillions, then Europe will be on the brink of a continental inferno.

Concerned readers better think for yourself whether Brussels and the bureaucrats do have the right answers to the raging problems of Europe. Poverty incidences are now hitting past the 20% mark in member countries, while massive lootings of the financial and currency markets by predatory financiers take place every day in the continent.

Well, let’s all wait and see for what happens. Let us hope that a mad Nero bureaucrat wouldn’t appear to orchestrate the burning farther to infernal scale. That would bring a new nightmare to the whole planet if it happens.

[Philippines, 20 May 2010]

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ZAIBATSU GLOBALIZATION ‘VOODOO ECONOMICS’ BOWING OUT

November 3, 2014

ZAIBATSU GLOBALIZATION ‘VOODOO ECONOMICS’ BOWING OUT
Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Magandang hapon! Good afternoon!

Let me share to you at this moment some notes regarding the ‘globalization’ experiment and the flawed policies that sustained it. There has been much ballyhoo about the global economy’s integration, over the last three (3) decades, as having been carved out supposedly by the Anglo-Saxon policy architects, using Thatcher & Reagan as the face for the ‘neo-liberal’ policy regime they installed.

Little do peoples across the globe, including experts who are so mired in their own parochial perspectives, know that the liberalization of country economies has a great deal to do with the Zaibatsu offensive. The West should better accept the facts: that their technocrats and policy shapers have run out of fresh ideas since the 1970s onwards (i.e. mentally bankrupt), a gap that they filled up by looking up to Japan and the NICs (newly industrializing countries) for copycat purposes.

Reaganomics, as neo-liberal policies of ‘privatization’ was dubbed (Thatcher of the UK preceded Reagan by a year), is as voodoo as one can get, seductive as any enchanting mantra-resonating principle can be, and was indeed potent in erasing the vestiges of the Regulated Economics doctrines that preceded the era. In the emerging markets, they were dubbed as ‘structural adjustment policies’ or SAPs, were imposed by the IMF-World Bank Group on debtor nations, and can be summed up as follows:

• Core principles: Privatization, Liberalization, Deregulation
• Subsidiary Principles: Tax reforms, trade liberalization, free floating exchange rates, diminished state subsidies for welfare, increased utility prices (revenue generation)
• Governance Principle: Decentralization (local government autonomy)

Such policy reform measures, as far as developing countries or DCs were concerned, came in as very harsh, cruel ‘austerity measures’ imposed by the IMF. We citizens from the ‘margins’ can never forget these measures, the pauperization that they effected, the dislocation of marginal producers, the decline of health services and rise of morbidity rates, and so on. In the Philippines, our very own capital goods industries were either delayed or un-implementable (such as integrated steel), as the money allocated for their purposes simply dried as dictated by the World Bank.

But there’s another set of policy architecture that wasn’t Anglo-Saxon, and didn’t receive their inspiration from the classicists (Smith, Ricardo) and the monetarists (Friedman, Hayek). This set of liberalization policies came from Zaibatsu country, and were crafted by Japanese technocrats. Not only policies, but also institutions were addressed by them, giving rise to the globalized economy that we have today.

Chief among those technocrats was Kenichi Ohmae, who in the 1980s was a think-tank executive. Further down the line were many other technocrats, who were organically linked to the Zaibatsus (landlord-industrialist-financier oligarchs), taking up cudgels for Ohmae.

Globalization, as one better realize, was never meant as any ‘win/win’ formula for nation-states in the arena of international trade as the liberal thinkers came to defend it later. It was outright a strategy to pre-position Zaibatsu corporate interests outside of Japan, notably the U.S. and European markets.

At that time of conceptualization, Zaibatsus have already efficaciously penetrated the Asian markets, and had leveraged their investments’ entry via aid and technical knowledge diffusion (including sponsoring Developing Country scholars in Japanese universities & special institutes). The old doctrine of ‘Asia Co-prosperity sphere’ was finally won, without firing a shot this time (unlike Imperial Japan era expansionism).

In the 1980s, the clamor for mooring investments and trade in the Western markets became ever stronger. The offensive tactic adapted was rather two-pronged, which made the new voodoo mantra even more potent:

• On the micro-level, permeate other markets with new concepts such as ‘Theory Z’ (decentralized authority, see W. Ouichi), total quality management or TQM, new tools for strategic planning, mergers and de-mergers. Till these days, the tools are considered sacrosanct in all sectors of society, including the Catholic Church that now uses ‘bottom-up’ planning added to strategic planning (my observations done in 2001-02 in a California diocese).

• On the macro-level, blend the Reagan-Thatcher ‘structural adjustments’ with the ‘globalization’ doctrine. The Zaibatsu technocrats fanned out across the globe, some of whom were positioned inside international bodies, and sweetened liberalization via a supposedly ‘win/win’ growth strategy for participating countries. This brilliant blending, which Western thinkers didn’t perceive at all as any subtle tactic by a predatory class (Zaibatsu), soon caught up fire and became buzz word for nigh three decades.

Before long, the Japan Inc. was being bandied across the globe as worth any country’s emulation. Southeast Asia and Korea went for it. Even the former presidents of the USA admired the Japanese Inc. doctrine of renewed private initiatives and shift from macro- to micro-economics as stabilization and growth measure. Bill Clinton of the USA spoke so fondly of ‘globalization’ like some captive fan of an economic icon, and moved to negotiate the NAFTA.

Little do unsuspecting, gullible peoples across the planet, more so the policy experts of the West, realize that the Japanese voodoo economics was largely intended to permit Zaibatsu investments to breed and morph inside their economies. Using merger and buy-in tactics, the Zaibatsu agents made it appear that their sponsors came in for benign purposes or so. If there is any group in the world today that is enjoying its last laugh, it is the Japanese militarists of the past, who finally saw the success of their nation’s offensives and the decline of the West via ‘organized chaos’.

Around 1994, the magic of the Japan Inc. began to cramble. Recession came, and before long many banks and investment houses were catching fire. That was the origin of the bankrupt and immoral Bush-Paulson ‘bailout’, which began with the ‘crisis management’ tactic in Japan to save ailing banks and financial institutions. Eventually, Zaibatsu technocrats were forced to revive the Western tool of ‘interest rates’ intervention, to the extent of bringing down interest rates to zero percent and sustaining it there for many years.

There also came that moment, in the late 1990s through 2006, when Zaibatsu financiers suddenly were so awash with funds (liquidities), at a time when Western economies reached low growths. The ‘yen initiative’ package was therefore conceptualized as another last-ditch voodoo tactic, which was implemented by loaning out large funds at zero or low interest, which Western financiers than re-loaned at profitable interest rates. Many such funds reached the USA& EU realty subprime mortgage markets, to recall. Again, note the seemingly benign nature of the financial gesture.

Just as when the realty markets were beginning to sneeze in America, the last voodoo measure was pulled out. The ‘crisis management’ was already folded up earlier, as Japan’s economic growth was propelled up anew by the Asian markets notably China’s. Just as when USA & EU needed the Zaibatsu loans very badly, and ditto for portfolio investments, they were pulled out, thus ensuring the crash of both economies.

Japananese voodoo economics is now bowing out, as the compass of policy initiatives at present is pointing to the reconstruction of macro-economic, New Deal type measures intended to attack problems both on short-term (bail out on productive sectors) and long-term basis (induce physical economy rather than predatory finance). But the withdrawal of the voodoo regime is not being done without witnessing its catastrophic results.

That’s surely tragic for the West or North. I wonder how Zaibatsus & technocrats perceive peoples outside their borders: whether they regard the latter as human beings worth co-partnering with, or as hungry lizards that must subsist on crumbs of investments & finance from Japan that have been buttressed by enormous tons of gold acquired through production and plunder of occupied lands, across the 2,000 years of Japan’s existence from kingdom to nation.

Honestly, I don’t know the answer. But if the Zaibatsus are receiving flaks from outside their borders, it wouldn’t be a surprise. There are no more borders for Zaibatsus by the way, just an entire planet with seamless web, cocooned in all corners by their corporate money.

[Philippines, 14 November 2008]

EUROZONE’S PATHETIC 0.8% GROWTH

May 20, 2011

EUROZONE’S PATHETIC 0.8% GROWTH

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Pathetic! This is what I can say of the latest 0.8% growth for the Eurozone during the 1st quarter of 2011. The figure seems to echo the growth for Greece during the same period, of 0.8% growth in growth domestic product or GDP.

As I’ve been saying for a couple of decades now, based on a pattern that was started from 1990 onwards yet, Europe is flat on its back, and that flatness just doesn’t seem to be changing at all. I already heralded the alarming trends way back in the 1990s, as a professor at the University of the Philippines Manila, and shared my notes to tv and radio audiences whenever I was invited as guest resource speaker on economics and social development.

When the Euro was launched, simultaneously with efforts to politically integrate Europe, I saw the opportunity for a slight correction of the stagnant situation of Europe. But monetary solutions to non-monetary problems will only be temporary, and sooner or later this solution will falter. Then the entire stagnation trend will ensue.

The ‘fall of Europe’ economically traces back to the radical return of the obsolete doctrine of liberalism laissez faire. European nations rose to wealth and fame based on physical economy doctrines, so it is best to reconstruct those doctrines the moment that stagnation and decay would take place. But to junk entirely those strategies and policies that brought Europe to where it was till 1990, is to champion madness in the economic terrain.

The same radical embers of liberalization, privatization, deregulation, and reinforcing policies (tax reforms, decentralization, currency liberalization, decreased budgets for social services) were enforced in the United States and Japan, and look at where those powers are today.

Well, the same ‘mad economics’ policies were imposed on the developing economies like the Philippines’, and the results of the austerity measures that were used as sticks to enforce them redound to mass poverty, endemic unemployment & underemployment, low or sub-optimal wages, and hunger. The ‘dragon’, ‘tiger’, and ‘emerging market’ economies have learned their lessons the hard way, and they are today the drivers of the world economy.

Look at these degenerative results of the obsolete ‘mad economics’: (a) de-industrialization, (b) agriculture decay, (c) deterioration of infrastructures, (d) decline of cutting edge in S&T (science & technology), and (e) deteriorating transport facilities. Destroy those sectors mentioned, and you destroy a nation’s economic foundation altogether.

That was exactly what happened to the North—Europe, Japan, U.S.A.! Just make a close scrutiny of Greece, where de-industrialization alone factored so strongly to bring down growth, degrade labor to paltry wages (down by 35%-40%), and saw its remaining wealth looted by greedy, demonic financial predators. The same financiers that looted Asia and led to its financial meltdown in 1997, have destroyed the North and will continue to do so.

Eurozone’s technocrats are mentally bankrupt and should be lined up in the Hall of Shame. Like the Mad Nero that fiddled in the roof as Rome burned, the technocrats and politicians of the entire European Union or EU have been fattening their purses and meteoric prestige rise, while Europe’s folks grovel in the dire effects of austerity measures imposed by the financiers’ puppet bank IMF.

[Philippines, 14 May 2011]

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OBAMA’S AIDES DEPART, WHERE BLOWS PUBLIC POLICY?

October 19, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Magandang gabi! Good evening!

Obama’s aides—who have been with him all the way since electoral campaign days—are departing. We do hope to get to the bottom of the real reason behind the departures, such as those of his ideologue chief-of-staff, but it seems the answer will be confined to the White House as classified information.

What we ought to reflect on is, after the departures, where does the wind of public policy—domestic and international—blow for Obama’s government? Will the oversight/regulatory powers be reinforced somehow, to checkmate the intrusive manipulations of financiers in America’s economy? Will the Wilsonian inclination for democracy cum civil rights be sustained in foreign policy?

The North’s economists have already pronounced their evaluation of America’s and Europe’s economies, with pessimistic-to-gloomy forecasts of both continental economies over the next two (2) years. The stimulus package has clearly backfired, unemployment has ballooned to past 9% (may hit 10% by 2011), and poverty incidence has gone up to 15% (from the pre-crisis 12% level).

Meantime, Clinton is entrenched as foreign policy executor, and her presence bodes well for the Wilsonians who have always held sway in the state department. How much can Wilsonian clout remain till the rest of Obama’s term will be up for observation, more so that the midterm election is bound to erode the Democrats’ congressional seats.

To get straight to the point, with Republicans forecast to re-dominate both houses of legislature, both domestic and foreign policy directions are bound to alter. On the foreign policy front, the isolationism of traditional Republicans may come back, thus undermining the ‘engagement policy’ of the Obama regime in the short run.

How many Obama aides are bound to depart soon we can only surmise for now. But it seems that as a forecast fallout of Democrats increases by the day, so shall the Obama aides get to have some quantitative reductions too.

The quantitative reductions in aides could tip the balance inside the White House in favor of a certain policy initiative. So we observers have no choice but to stay glued to the changes right within Obama’s headquarters. We can only hope that a resurgence of the neo-conservatives, who hold sway in Pentagon & Defense, won’t be in the offing.

With the USA’s possible spiral down a 2nd recessionary dip, a return of the hawkish neo-cons to power (they’d be dictating terms for Obama behind closed doors) would spell the doom to America’s prestige worldwide. A neo-cons return would coincide with Israel’s unilateral plan to strike down Iran in hot warfare, an act that could take Obama down the global esteem ratings if he will resonate with the hawks.

The electoral campaigns are now heating up as the polls near, so let us monitor the events very closely in the USA. Just exactly who those Republican additions are in both houses will galvanize very soon, bringing along with them the Jurassic solutions of Reaganomics cum Bush tax cuts, along with Federal Reserve antique tool of interest rate intervention.

[Philippines, 06 October 2010]

[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com,

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com,

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

US ECONOMISTS WARN OF ANOTHER CRASH!

October 7, 2010

US ECONOMISTS WARN OF ANOTHER CRASH!

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Magandang araw, mga kapamilyang global! Good day, fellow global family members!

Let me echo a theme that has been reverberating among circles of economists in the USA lately: a new cycle of economic crash. I’ve already begun to echo notes about whether the ‘stimulus package’ did its task as effectively as it can to deliver the goods, notes that connect to what the economists have been saying of late.

Among a leading light of the US economist circles is Joseph Stiglitz, former executive at the World Bank. A brilliant and dynamic mind in America, Stiglitz represents a coterie of rare experts who can be adjudged as independent-minded, for most of America’s experts are intellectual prostitutes whose purses are fattened by their loyal patronage of oligarchic and political interest groups.

America’s economists are again echoing the alarm calls about another round or cycle of recession which could lead the USA into a ‘double-dip recession’ the impact of which could be the worst that the U.S. work force will have ever experienced. The alarm call practically resonates with an identical forewarning by European economists on the bigger crash that could happen to Europe’s already burning economy.

The very same experts are very keen observers of the global economy aside from their deep grounding in their own domestic economies, and so the cautionary echoes include Japan’s and Canada’s economies as well. Practically all of the pillars of the Western economy—all powerful members of the OECD—have been receiving alarm calls from their own economists.

Maybe the media should better seek audiences with other experts as well, notably the sociologists and public policy as well, who have been keenly observant of the domestic (USA’s) and global economies. Why not consult the likes of Peter Evans and Theda Skocpol for instance, who have been doing works over the past decades that run parallel to what economists have been doing?

Chances are that the experts across a broad spectrum of the social sciences will end up with parallel if not identical evaluations about the impact of the stimulus package and the directions of the US economy and society.

The last round of financial reforms and a new stimulus package announced by White House recently just don’t seem to fit into the expectations of the noblesse experts who all trace the economic malaise of America to the effects of excessive liberalization reforms. Those reforms saw the diminution of the ‘real economy’, to note: (a) de-industrialization, (b) agricultural decay, (c) infrastructure neglect and collapse, (d) neglect of transport & communications sectors, and (e) decay/erosion of science & technology.

Whether the Bush & Obama stimulus package was able to shore up the collapsing ‘real/physical economy’ is now doubtful. The recent Obama-initiated reforms is only putting some caps on regulation problems for big business and ensuring some fairness in the games of the financial-monetary sectors. The coming tax cuts are added incentives to big business that do not necessarily ensure the revivification of the physical economy.

And that’s where the rub lies in America today. By the very fact that a new ‘stimulus package’ is being prepared in the pipeline means precisely the failure of the recovery program. As already shared by me in a previous article, the pronouncement of a new pump priming package is already causing jitters among portfolio and long-term investors.

With the investment field blurred anew in the USA, the resuscitation of employment to full employment level had been turned into an elusive dream. Whether tax cuts can induce new investments (inclusive of the realty sector), factoring the new financial reforms, will be a raging debate not only in America but among other global observers as well.

I am now of the opinion that Obama has been badly advised by his own economic team about the policy and institutional options for salving the structural ailments of the US economy. Bad advise means the resort to ‘bad economics’, a behavior that is ‘bad science’. Bad science breeds bad practice, and bad practice breeds disasters and catastrophes.

Will Obama and the policy-makers listen to the independent-minded economists this time?

 

[Philippines, 01 October 2010]

[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com,

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com,

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com]

ANOTHER STIMULUS PACKAGE BY OBAMA?

September 22, 2010

ANOTHER STIMULUS PACKAGE BY OBAMA?

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good evening from the paradise boondocks south of Manila!

The weather in this tropical area where I reside right today has been so fine for almost two (2) weeks now, and this is unusual for the month of September when four (4) storms pass over the country on the average. At any rate, this makes me a bit happy, enough to ruminate again about the global economy specifically the White House policy pronouncements.

I was among those analysts and development experts in my country who made a go for stimulus packages as core ‘pump priming’ strategy for staving off the ill effects of the global recession. To recall, I even went to the extent of saying my kudos for America’s own stimulus package that was pronounced late by then president Bush and then extended by the new president Obama.

Being all to familiar with pump priming, as I had been witness to how this tool was wielded every time we experienced the pains of spiraling crash right in my own country, I have been all too eager to see the tool be employed judiciously in the Northern countries (EU, USA-Canada, Japan) that have either remained flat growth-wise for successive years or crashed calamitously such as what the USA went through in 2002 and 2007.

The Obama administration had its chance of employing this tool, with no less than $800 Billion as war chest for its execution, and somehow the pump priming proved to have stopped the catastrophic collapse that went on after the implosion of the realty bubble in ‘07. As per my own textbook orientation in macro-economics, it takes two (2) years for a stimulus program to optimize the economy back from appalling sub-optimal performance accountable to a recessionary crash.

The two (2) years since the package was begun by Bush yet will end this month, as far as I can recall the beginnings of it. After the two (2) year gestation period is over, it is standard task for policy-makers and stakeholders to evaluate the overall performance of the measure. The evaluation will unveil what kinks remain that were largely un-addressed by the measure.

It is surprising on my part to learn of the latest pronouncements from the White House that the US president is again ready to launch a new stimulus package on top of the existing one, coming at a time when the first package has never been evaluated to the fullest. The next package includes tax cuts that are but a rehash of the Bush-era stimulus for big business.

I just hope that the pump priming won’t be misconstrued as rendering the stimulus tool into a permanent policy tool. Just by pronouncing that a new stimulus package is on the drawing board can already send jitters to business stakeholders as the pronouncement is a tacit acceptance of the failure to revive the economy as a whole, and that a new round of recession could be in the offing.

Maybe the White House has in mind not only the US economy but also that of its Atlantic partner Europe. Hasn’t the USA been handling fresh cash to Europe to mitigate the bursting of bubbles and gnawing crisis there? Did the White House or Federal Reserve even bother to submit a report to the US Congress about the subsidies to Europe, subsidies that should be hands-me-down to America’s laborers who continue to suffer from the ballooning unemployment in the homeland?

The White House pronouncement is also sending bad signals to Asia’s emerging markets that have already been growing appreciably over the past eight (8) months of the year. Asia’s own stock markets, financial and money markets are trembling over the Obama stimulus news, and there are now silent moves inside board rooms to map out contingency measures in case that the USA will go thru another round of recession in the aftermath of the failure of the first stimulus package to induce totally recovery.

If there is anything I can advise to the White House and Federal Reserve technocrats at this point, it is to desist from making such an untimely measure. Ensure that the most optimal results from the first stimulus package were achieved first of all, report the results to the US congress and the world community, and show clear patterns of transparency in the dealings regarding the pump priming.

If a stimulus package is utilized largely to fatten the purses of corporate executives and owners, who will then use the same to buy new yatch and spend most luxuriously for their board meetings, then the clear message is this: forget about stimulus package!!!

[Philippines, 14 September 2010]

[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com,

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com,

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com]

‘LATE’ CAPITALISM CRASHING DOWN ITS DEATH BED

May 30, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good evening!

The events in the Eurozone are now getting to be more alarming. Forecasters are now claiming that another round of recession is in the offing, as the bubble burst that began in Greece will spread to Spain, Ireland, and other member-states of the EU.

Will liberal capitalism continue to live a life that seems to hang in the balance? Or will capitalism need to restore itself through totalitarian means? What’s so wrong with the system that it just can’t be sustained enough?

Let me share to you past blog writings about the subject: ‘mad economics’ and the ‘demise of liberal capitalism.’

[Philippines, 23 May 2010]

‘LATE’ CAPITALISM ENDS IN CRASHING BLOW POST-‘MAD ECONOMICS’

Erle Frayne Argonza

Good afternoon!

At this moment, I’m sipping coffee contained in a pack that is sold for worth P130, or $3.00. The pack is one of the domestic brands of brewed coffee blends, ready for the drip coffee maker, of the Arabica and/or Robusta varieties. In economic parlance, this coffee is a commodity because (a) it was intended for exchange and not for the coffee producer’s consumption alone, and (b) money was used to acquire (purchase) it.

I have such deep fondness for coffee, as I acquired my coffee-drinking behavior as a childhood habit yet. In my hometown of Tuguegarao (city), Cagayan province (North Philippines), coffee beans were grounded into powder form and sold right inside the ‘wet’ market, was brewed using the local decoction techniques, and was consumed by people of all ages from pre-school to senior’s age. That was then, and that was how I learned to drink this beverage at age 5 more or less. I was hooked to the habit since then, even as I continued to drink milk that I still do till now.
Both coffee and milk are among my health formulas, and both are commodities.

The question I’m asking now is, will commodity-based economics survive the times ahead? Both coffee and milk will survive for sure, but will the money economy that underpins them survive as well? As to the broader world system of capitalism, will it survive too or is it in fact on its death knell today?

Capitalism was the last of the world systems that embodied the ‘money economy’ to which it properly belongs. With the opening of the 20th century, the socialist world system appeared on the social landscape and attempted to serve as an alternative to capitalism, but this experienced its early demise as its implementers found out that it cannot be sustained after all. Both capitalism and socialism are embodiments of the ‘money economy’ as it later turned out to be, they are just but two sides of the same coin: the ‘money economy’.

Socialism is gone, and no matter what attempts there may arrive to survive it in some other forms, this variant of the ‘money economy’ is gone. Now capitalism is all alone, and it is getting more real than virtual that it too is bound to crash a catastrophic end, and with its demise, the “last of the (economic) Mojicans” is bound to disappear (my apologies to Mojicans if my note sounds ethnically incorrect). And with capitalism’s demise, the whole of the ‘money economy’ folds up like unto a book that had reached its last chapter, and deserves more to be consigned to the archives of history.

The Frankfurt school thinkers, notably Jurgen Habermas, cogitated that capitalism’s life span was extended somehow, and was dubbed as ‘late’ capitalism in this last phase of the world system. In this phase, state planning and interventionism were infused into the system to extend its life. Before ‘late’ capital came the mercantile, free enterprise, and monopoly phases of this world system. Will there be another phase to capitalism after ‘late’ capital?

Before I answer that extension of life span, let me stress that ‘late’ capitalism shall end in the following process and manner:

· The re-introduction of liberalization—of free market and free trade principles—into ‘late’ capital shifted engagements away from production, the real foundation of the economy, to the sphere of predatory finance, thus producing the gargantuan ‘bubble economy’. The ‘physical economy’ of production transmogrified into the ‘virtual economy’ that produces no real value other than imaginary or delusional values. It is ‘mad economics’ in operation, no longer the ‘rational economics’ of mercantilists, classicists and neo-classicists.

· The ‘mad economics’ led to the yawning gap between actually produced values and the aggregates of financial derivatives and debts combined, to the extent that the former shrinks at a rapid rate relative to the latter. As bubbles burst from one commodity sector to another, leading eventually to a crisis of gargantuan proportion, all the more will production shrink, unable to produce values that can input into the demand functions for fresh money to pay for aggregate credits, primary debts, secondary debt obligations, and so on.

· The crisis will then move on to the further shrinking of production, tightening of credit sources, and hyperinflationary situation in utilities (notably gas & power), food, base metals and other vital commodities. Total economic collapse results from the foregoing.

· The economic collapse then leads to social unrests, turmoil, upheavals, civil wars, food wars, water wars, and possibly intercontinental wars such as another 3rd world war. The clash of world powers and their surrogate emerging markets will become the flames of a possible long war akin to the 30 Years War (c.1618-48).

Let me now end at that instance. Suffice me to proclaim that the death knell of ‘late’ capitalism and the whole of the ‘money economy’ of the last 2000 years or so are ending. The ‘non-cognitive economics’ of the Roman to feudal era, the ‘rational economics’ of the Renaissance to monopoly capital era, and the ‘mad economics’ of ‘late’ capital were markedly the underpinning mediation processes of that entire 2000-year epoch. The epoch and its last phase of capitalism is rapidly drawing to a close.

[Writ 22 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila.]

CAPITALISM’S DEMISE: WHAT WENT WRONG?

Erle Frayne Argonza

To all fellow men and women out there who may have deep fondness for the liberal capitalist model of economic adaptation, I hope that you can make some adjustments in your cognitive banks. Capitalism is not a permanent facet of human life, but merely one among various epochs that will come to pass. Only impermanence is sacrosanct in the cosmos, so please refrain from singing hallelujah to a world system that is on its death knell as I articulated in a previous article.

And please refrain from swallowing hook-line-&-sinker the contentious propaganda of Francis Fukuyama about the ‘end of history’, that accordingly history had concluded with the galvanization of liberal capitalism, that history makes no more sense. Fukuyama’s theory is a slapstick narrative of hyper-valuation of the ‘mad economics’ of late capitalism and hypo-statization of reality that has no relation at all to the real in the world out there. Fukuyama had taken as ‘real’ what is actually ‘virtual’, and froze time much like unto a fairy tale of timelessness, of history-less Nietzschean moment that is fit more for infants than for adult humans.

Fukuyama epitomizes the ‘mad economics’ of all those Pied Pipers of the global oligarchy for whom he works, and his discourse is akin to the ‘mad discourse’ so described by the late Michel Foucault. The ‘mad economics’ of Friedman, Hayek, Fukuyama, and all those technocrats who serve as processors and bagmen for the global oligarchy, is precisely symptomatic of that colossal ailment of a world system, and as we all know, madness can never salve ailments but rather hasten the system’s death. Caput! Blow your horns, prepare dirges to this Dead One!

Unless that you yourselves have become maddened by the seemingly infinite monies flowing unto your purses as you are among the beneficiaries of ‘late’ capital, unless that you are indeed now suffering from combined maladies of sociopathy and schizophrenia, unless that sanity had departed from thee forever, please heed the last plea of your own conscience where sanity had retreated: CAPITALISM IS DEAD! No amount of propagandizing, of contorted interpretations, can ever change the course of history at this juncture, as we are all headed for a TOTAL SYSTEM COLLAPSE in the months ahead. Read that please: MONTHS AHEAD, not years ahead.

What went wrong with capitalism? I’m sure all of you fellows knew what went wrong, do I even need to answer that? Your previous thinker mentors, among economists and sociologists, forewarned you all of the forthcoming demise of capitalism, but you paid nary an attention to those brilliant minds as you were so engrossed in your ‘conspicuous consumption’, behaving more like some infantile EATERS or as anthropoids rather than as thinking and spiritually evolving humans. You are all very much human, so please consistently behave like one, and begin by listening to the Inner Voice of your conscience, for that voice is your soul’s.

Let me summarize the diagnostics, forewarnings and/or prophecies of our thinker mentors from the West, and I’d stress WEST because there are some other thinker mentors from the EAST and SOUTH whose peregrinations are so recondite they are not so easily digestible. Let me just stress the WEST as this is what is common to us all. So let me re-echo the thinkers and their theories:

· Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: The internal contradictions between the private nature of capital (ownership of means of production) and the social nature of production. The ‘crisis of overproduction’ and the ‘law of the falling rate of profit’ are attendant patterns. Social revolution results, then the alternative society will be constructed.

· Max Weber: Industrial capitalism’s granite product, the bureaucracy, led to dehumanization. He never forecast though whether this dehumanizing system can be sustained—but please read between the lines. (His contemporary Emile Durkheim had a similar observation about ‘anomie’ or normless state of urban/industrial society.)

· Thorsten Veblen: The end-phase of industrial capitalism is markedly pathological. ‘Conspicuous consumption’ is the disease of this phase, the toxic behavior from the ruling class that later filtered down to the emerging middle class.

· Joseph Schumpeter: The internal contradiction between the desire for profit and the revolutionary character of innovation. The demise of capitalism will see the possibility of the technical class taking over society and build that alternative system later.

· Daniel Bell: The ‘post-industrial’ society had already been born right inside capitalism. A distinct modality in itself, post-industrialism will eventually prevail in a system that isn’t capitalist (or money economy) but rather knowledge-based. The ‘service worker’ had arrived on the social landscape, the prototype class of the future.

· Theodore Adorno, Jurgen Habermas, Herbert Marcuse: ‘Late’ capital is characterized by the pervasiveness of ‘instrumental reason’, where reason is used to justify the non-rational (‘madness’ in Foucault’s argot), where state planning/intervention was infused into a system that scorned intervention.

· Alvin Toffler: Both capitalism and socialism are based on hoarding, both are variants of the same industrial society of yesteryears, both are based on ‘2nd wave’ capital-intensive technologies and non-renewable energy sources. The ‘post-industrial’ society is altogether distinct, isn’t based on hoarding, production-consumption (‘prosumer’) is based on ‘3rd wave’ knowledge-intensive technologies and renewable energy sources, knowledge cannot be hoarded.

I need not articulate further, do I? They all converged on one theme: capitalism is transitory, it bred social maladies (alienation, dehumanization, anomie, conspicuous consumption,…), is systemically flawed, and will be dismantled at sometime in the future.

No matter how delimited their theories maybe, as they all proceeded from certain perspectives (they were all ‘paradigm’-based in the jargon of Thomas Kuhn), they all proclaimed—in either tacit or explicit fashion—the coming demise of the system. They weren’t as silly as Fukuyama who popularized seemingly ‘satanic verses’ (distorted precepts) about a non-changing, permanent economic landscape called ‘liberal capitalism’, but were rather so adroit at social forecasting that they saw a vision of the future as they were articulating on their empirical observations of the present society.

So, fellows out there, prepare for the months and years ahead. We are headed towards those stormy months, years, maybe even decades. How the future society will come to shape is not easy to forecast. “Something blurs the Force, darkens our sight of the future,” declared a Jedi Master in the Star Wars cinema fame. Let me end right here.

[Writ 22 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila.]