Posted tagged ‘speculation’

FOOD PRICES UP, SPECULATORS ATTACK ANEW!

March 9, 2011

FOOD PRICES UP, SPECULATORS ATTACK ANEW!

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Winds of change are blowing hard on the granite edifices of autocratic regimes in pan-Arabia. As this is happening, financier speculators cashed in on the conflict by playing it up in the petrol spot market, thus raising oil prices to scorching heat levels. More areas of the global economy are under attack by the financier speculators, food & beverage among them.

As gas price in Manila has been rising by the week, so have the prices of food been going up. We are today on a bounty season for fruits here at the tropics—near the equator—yet such commodities’ prices are also moving up abnormally like they were in a situation of scarcity. Grains, vegetables, meat, cooking oil, and other related prime commodities have been accompanying the spurious OPH (oil price hike).

Little do common folks realize the handiwork of greedy speculators in the present inflationary patterns in food on a worldwide range. But that’s the fact, and many times before was it proved beyond doubt that greedy speculators, fronted by dirty operators, have always been busying their hands in reaping mega-profits on food commodities during times of crises.

Fact is, even when there is no crisis—such as crisis in the supply line—the speculators create the situation of crisis by hoarding millions of tons of specific commodities, e.g. rice. The instantaneous effect is the sign given off to traders in the commodities markets to play it up on the trading engagements, and elevating the emotive facet of the matter to the level of panic and near-hysteria.

Remember that time three (3) years back or so when rice suddenly began to disappear in the retail end of the market in the Philippines. There was a bounty season at that juncture, which came as a shock to me upon knowing from insiders (ground-level traders) that gargantuan hoards of rice were hidden inside many warehouses. President Arroyo then announced to the world that the PH will buy rice from overseas no matter how much the price is.

Of course, the commodities traders (speculative investors) heard the signal well. And voila! Rice prices across continents skyrocketed almost overnight! I even went on to forecast that it the near future, a cartel of sorts will be organized by certain countries to protect themselves versus the attackers. To make my hair rise on ends, hardly a day passed when I published my blog article about the forecast, certain Southeast Asian countries announced the formation precisely of such a rice cartel.

As the conflict situation in pan-Arabia boils up for some time, mark it down that the same coterie of financier speculators will keep on pursuing speculative attacks on certain prime commodities. Let’s not be surprised at all if the major staples—wheat, rice, sorghum, barley, oat, potatoes, yam—will experience inflationary upsets on the retail end over the next forty-five (45) days or so.

I have to prepare myself psychologically for the hyper-criminal speculative attacks this time. During the global rice crisis mentioned, I experienced sudden hypertension attack, as my cardiac condition quickly reacted to the rapidity of the crisis up to the pronouncement of rice cartel formation, rendering my forecasts a 100% mark hit.

So you fellow global citizens better watch out for the unfolding events, so as to prepare yourselves psychologically and financially too.

[Philippines, 08 March 2011]

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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs anytime!

Social Blogs:
IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com
UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com

Wisdom/Spiritual Blogs:
COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

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ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com
ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

Mixed Blends Blogs:
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OIL SPECULATORS CASH IN ON LIBYAN TURMOIL

March 8, 2011

OIL SPECULATORS CASH IN ON LIBYAN TURMOIL

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

A full-blown civil war is now brewing as I write this note. As the gloomy events unfold, greedy speculators are busy taking advantage of a conflict situation by playing it up nauseatingly on the petrol spot market. Wars and mini-hotspots surely have a way of making some greedy families make lots of money, so let me add more reflections about the Libyan hot fires’ impact on oil price.

The notorious financier speculators have been planning all along to cash in on a global conflagration that should have pitted the Sunni-Zion alliance versus Iran-led coalition. Such a planned catastrophe was suddenly derailed by the mass rousing of younger generations of Arabs who now desire for the overthrow of their respective tyrants or sovereigns.

With the world war III prospect now sorely diminished, the financiers had to find a quick fix to their addictive greed for easy profits. And that’s how their fixated eyes marveled at the conflict that suddenly unveiled in Libya which, as everybody knows, sits on huge reserves of oil from where the tyrant largely derives his income for country and family.

Nobody knows how long the conflict lasts in Libya, but it is getting clearer as of this writing that Kadhafy’s legitimacy before his own supporters is rapidly effacing. The situation is as fluid as petrol gushing out of Libya’s oil wells, so it pays to keenly observe the events on a day-to-day basis.

One thing though is certain about the conflict’s time frame: it will be short, and no protracted war will come from the forecast loser—tyrant Kadhafy and minions. So, given the short time frame, the speculators have to ride along with the waves of turmoil, and cash in quick on the hot events.

So the spot market is ablaze at this moment with a sort of hour-by-hour anaysis of the situation and superficial forecast of oil prices. Superficial, because insider trading is the in-thing among the dirty players in the same commodity market, with a coterie of financiers fronting for their invisible sponsors among the Anglo-European oligarchs. There is no science into the oil spot market, just plain mafia-type dirty speculations.

Already, retail oil prices are skyrocketing in countries that are dependent on oil imports. In the United States, oil prices get hiked on a daily basis. East Asian countries follow very closely not far behind from the USA in terms of constant rising of retail prices, or those that hurt the pockets of downstream end-users. Food prices are direly affected by the same OPH (oil price hikes), and so you could imagine the glee of another branch of the dirty speculators cashing in on the food commodities trading.

With the dizzying rapidity of the flow of conflict-induced events, we can only surmise that OPH will hover the $170-$200 per barrel of oil (‘sweet crude’ standard). As the events are happening, anti-OPH and anti-food price hikes are now raging across the globe, including the Philippines. These protest actions are complicating the mass panic that is generated by the rising prices of oil & food, with potential hysteria that could explode into food riots in the short run.

While billions of poor folks suffer from the rising prices, the greedy speculators’ pockets are satiated anew rendering them instantly happy over very fat profits. Commodities speculation is done without any compunction over their catastrophic effects on peoples, as they are done by conscienceless market players.

But never forget that the greed of the dirty speculators is insatiable, and so the said financiers’ eyes are again busy searching for some other hot fires in the event that the Libyan conflict ends soon. Those hot fires are no other than the socio-political turmoil that is now brewing across the Arab region.

[Philippines, 04 March 2011]

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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs anytime!

Social Blogs:
IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com
UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com

Wisdom/Spiritual Blogs:
COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

Poetry & Art Blogs:
ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com
ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

Mixed Blends Blogs:
@FRIENDSTER: http://erleargonza.blog.friendster.com
@SOULCAST: http://www.soulcast.com/efdargon

Website & Mixed Blogs:
MULTIPLY: http://efdargon.multiply.com

BAILING OUT AILING BANKS IS IMMORAL/CRIMINAL

June 17, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good afternoon, fellows!

Bailing out ailing banks with people’s money (taxes) is immoral and criminal. I have already stated this contention in previous articles, and I’d re-echo it again in light of the financial fiasco going on in Europe right now.

We’ve had more than enough bad experiences in past crises that point out to massive speculative engagements by banks that have contributed to economic downturns and crash. Japan started the ball rolling by salving big banks with taxpayers’ money in the 1990s, and this practice is awefully wrong and immoral.

Fast forward to the year 2007, when we saw big banks implode as the bubble economy of the USA burst. The same ‘Japanese solution’ at salving ailing banks with taxpayers’ money was again repeated, this time in the USA.

Taxpayers’ money is hard earned revenue for the state for purposes of advancing the general welfare. The priorities for revenues should be infrastructures, social services, pump priming, and ensuring ‘safety nets’ for the marginal classes and groups against the impacts of financial volatilities on the productive sectors.

The solution to ailing banks lies in strengthening regulatory mechanisms. The first agenda on the line is to ban banks from engaging in speculative engagements notably those hedge funds operations. Another agenda is to institute good corporate governance and instilling public accountability by the banking sector.

Bailing out ailing banks in Europe, through taxpayers’ money, can only mitigate the systemic crisis for a while. Also, it will push more folks down grinding poverty due to austerity measures. It is part of the ‘rule of madness’ that now governs ‘late’ capitalism as a whole.

[Philippines, 07 June 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]

IMMORAL U.S. BAILOUT ECHOES JAPAN’S 1990s ‘CRISIS MANAGEMENT’ FLAWS

October 4, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Magandang hapon! Good afternoon!

It’s been some couples of weeks now since the financial downspin in the USA took a further plunge as mega-banks sought help from federal government for rescue. The closure of the Lehman Brothers and the S.O.S. by other big banks that are now in the red rocked the global stock markets to a new round of instabilities and volatilities, even as the US economy is in danger of another Great Depression.

As I’ve already expressed in many articles of mine, the US financial collapse, an event that economists in many parts of the world forecast as early as the 1990s yet, is bound to happen, on account of many factors. The key factor, as this analyst and fellow ‘nationalist economists’ have been saying since 1998 yet (when I was actively involved with a group of economists in Manila called the Independent Review circle), is the widening gap between the (a) ‘virtual economy’ based on predatory finance that produces mere fictitious values and the (b) ‘real economy’ or ‘physical economy’ that produces real values.

The serial liberal economic reforms that began in 1971 yet, which saw the collapse of the gold standard and the dropping of fixed exchange rate (FER) in favor of ‘floating rate’, and onwards through the liberalization-privatization-deregulation-decentralization (structural adjustment policies or SAPs) of the 1980s, and onwards to the GATT-Uruguay Rounds that created the WTO in 1994, took its catastrophic toll on the economies of the planet, but most specially the USA’s.

The Nixon-era financial-monetary reforms and the Reaganomics (SAPs) were the policy culprits of America. They dealt the final death blows on the dirigist policies of New Deal, initiated by Franklin Roosevelt but which was inspired by dirigist policies of earlier luminaries (i.e. Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, Friedrich von List), provided the impetus that created the strong, gigantic ‘physical economy’  of the country, and transformed it into a world power economically, politically and culturally. Without dirigist economics (interventionist) and the New Deal, Middle Class America wouldn’t have been possible. The neo-liberal reforms simply wiped out whatever was left of the New Deal by the 1980s, and with the liberalization of the financial –capital-monetary markets, the predatory financiers had their field day of looting the middle class purses under the rubric of portfolio capital and derivatives operations.

Had the US policy makers just labored a bit and assigned their staff to scour the world for some related experience of bank-financial collapse, their researchers could have easily ‘discovered’ the experiences of Japan in the 1990s. By the early 1980s, when Japan clearly demonstrated its sterling industrial and technological capabilities as the base for its wealth production, the Zaibatsus and the policy makers decided to go the liberalization way, confident as they were that the fruits of decades-old ‘physical economy’ build up can’t just be easily wiped out by predatory financier operators.

Japanese technocrats (both in Japan and overseas) also theorized that the key to producing a sound, healthy, mighty Japanese economy was in the realm of micro-economics more than public policy. Never mind if the policy environment will shift from the protectionist-dirigist policies of the post-war decades to liberal policies, provided that at the level of production and organization, capacity and internal potency can be demonstrated. The likes of William Ouichi’s ‘theory z’ comes to mind, or ideas that spawned strategies and tools dovetailing on quality control, team building, and decentralized operations. The world was so awe-inspired by the ‘Japan Incorporated’ model that was based precisely on the micro-economic route, and was extolling the Japanese corporate firm to the hilt as the new champion of the globalizing economy.

The USA that had demonstrated its strength on macro-economics—In the terrain of public policy—as the route to economic might, must have been seduced by the Japanese ideological onslaught at one point, that it so sonorously echoed the Japanese technocratic jargon of ‘globalization’. But when Japan’s financial system began to buckle down in 1994, which then impacted on the rest of the economic sectors, the US politicians and technocrats simply didn’t pay attention, fixated as they were to the seductive results of the ‘virtual economy’ (bubble operations) on the GDP of America.

To recall, Japan suffered miserably for the bailout mistake it pursued. Dabbed as ‘crisis management’, the state went on a binge of saving ailing banks and financial houses, the very same measures that the Bush-Paulson team is now embarking on. Alarmed at those events than in Japan, which led to a 10-year recession & almost zero growth, I began to raise howl about the ballooning portfolio investments in the Philippines by 94-95, and was among those experts who forewarned the state officials that Japan’s ‘crisis management’ was seriously flawed, was tantamount to giving incentives to looters instead of criminalizing, them, and should never be enforced in the Philippines or ASEAN in case that the portfolio bubble will burst in Manila and the region (the bubble burst in 1997).

To repeat: Japan suffered miserably from that fiasco. Recession howled like unstoppable forest fires for ten (10) years, and were it not for the high growth of East Asian markets, Japan couldn’t have risen back to appreciable growth by 2005. Interest rate was compelled to be brought down to zero percent, a precedent that many countries affected by financial meltdowns were aloof to emulating. Bankruptcies,  corporate closures and downsizing led to dislocations and unemployment. For the first time in many decades, former decent Japanese executives and employees who lose their jobs and had their remaining mortgaged properties confiscated, were rendered homeless and starving, and forced to reside in the streets as paupers and vagabonds..   

Sitting with my fellows in the Independent Review circle from 1997-onwards, we took turns in exposing the maladies of the neo-liberal reforms, spoke in diverse media (TV, radio) to forewarn the public of the imminent financial collapse in East Asia (the meltdown took place beginning in June of ’97), and by 98 were of the consensus that the USA was next in line for a meltdown of even catastrophic proportions than either Japan’s or South East Asia’s (97 meltdown). The very destructive effects of predatory finance saw the decline of industry (de-industrialization), agriculture (land use conversions, decay), infrastructures (some huge infra were even privatized), S & T (low priority in budgets & education), and transport & communications in the USA. If the neglect of the ‘physical economy’ will continue for another ten (10) years, it will be too late for salving the US economy as a whole. Any catastrophic bubble burst and financial-monetary meltdown could bring the economic house down, collapse consumption, and render the US economy much like unto a Latin American economy past 2010.

 As I recall then, we experts from the Independent Review circle strongly opined that the ‘crisis management’ tactic was immoral and extremely perverted. How in the world could the state ever reward criminals at all? The bankers and financiers looted the Japanese purse by probably worth trillions of dollars, they should have been criminalized for their sordid crimes, and yet they were even rewarded! Unbelievable! This is one excellent narrative for the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

Fortunately for the Philippines, there was no large-scale bailout of any bank as a result of the 1997 Asian meltdown. Those realty and construction companies affected by the crisis, affected precisely because they over-exposed themselves to ‘hot money’ foreign portfolios that simply dried up as the same portfolios were pulled during the first month of the meltdown, were immediately able to cope up by retooling and re-engineering their strategies and tools. Interest rates were lowered, excess liquidities were flashed out in well managed manner that deserve our central bank accolades from the Bank of International Settlements. In less than a year after the meltdown began, we were back to consumption patterns like there was no recession at all. We didn’t take the Japan route, luckily. By 2001 and onwards our growth patterns were back to appreciable growth, and the local bourse moved up as well.

Today, all over the ASEAN + China-India-Korea (minus Japan), the Asian meltdown seems like an ancient event down memory lane as things have been moving fast. We just can’t believe that our mighty economic partner, the USA, didn’t learn its lessons from the 2001 recession there and from the flaws of the Japanese bailout. ‘Bailing out the rich’ isn’t the issue here, but rather ‘bailing out the criminals’ which is a gross disincentive for the legitimate SMEs and other market players that didn’t receive the same favor.

If we were to seriously search for appropriate short-term tactic for salving ailing financial institutions, the answer lies in a proven approach to corporate ailments: bankruptcy reorganization. The economists Robert Reich (former US secretary of Labor) and Lyndon LaRouche (Executive Intelligence Review) have been airing this solution very strongly, and I am myself bent on accepting this micro-economic short-term solution as an exemplar for the rest of the world. I would not be surprised if the eminent economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman would air a similar advisory, and they should better air their counsel strongly.

The entire planet today is watching the horrific bailout in the USA, almost forgetting that this copycat bailout already flattened Japan for a decade at least before. Each one of us should look at our own backyards and make sure that our respective states won’t emulate the rather devious and insane bailout of Japan Incorporated and the Bush-Paulson team.

[Writ 04 October 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila.]

GLOBAL TOTALITARIAN POLICE-STATE & TECHNOTRONIC SOCIETY: EXTENDING CAPITALIST LIFE

September 19, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Let me go back to the question of what lies ahead of us—when ‘late’ capitalism dies and yet capitalism will be extended.  I am not discounting the possibility that capitalism’s life span will be extended, but this will no longer be ‘late’ capital, just to remind everyone.

You better fasten your seat belts, as the stormy days ahead will come for sure, and as this heraldry from me will sound as stormy already as those times ahead. Stormy heraldry, because (a) you will not come to like it and that (b) its impact will be so nauseating and revolting that you’d rather sedate yourself most quickly with wine, liquor, pot or anything that can reduce that revulsion. I forgot, for the fundamentalists, you’d pray for hours to allay your fears.

By the time ‘late’ capital arrived up to the current juncture, or roughly the whole of the post-Great Depression era, the following developments have come about:

·        State intervention/planning was infused into the system. Post-war former colonies proceeded on their industrial development tracks along this dirigist market model. The USA and Europe were saved from collapsing, emerging markets appeared.

 

·        Market reforms were later introduced, bringing back free market and free trade principles. Centrally planned economies China and Vietnam infused market reforms to construct a ‘social market’ model, while former socialist states folded up in Eastern Europe and 3rd world states.

 

·        The era of ‘mad economics’ resulted from the system integration efforts of ‘instrumental reason’. The dividing line between the rational and the mad in decision-making and system maintenance was effectively deconstructed and erased. In esoteric-mystical argot, this era is the period of the Demonic Mind, the era of Anti-Christ.

 

·        ‘Virtual economy’ based on predatory financial practices of creating values from out of money flows (rather than from concrete production) was exemplified by ‘bubble economies’. Bubble bursts were followed by destructive, catastrophic crises and shrinkages of affected economies.

 

·        Nation-states’ economies came to be integrated into a single economy, via globalization. A planetary economy was already institutionalized, yet no planetary state exists to regulate conduct of commerce and business at a global level. The contradiction between the norms of the planetary economy and the interests of the nation-state has led in no small measure to the fragmentation of nation-states and  emergence of mini-states. Globalization has been undermining the nation-state in general.

 

·        All of such developments will hyper-converge in the months ahead in a general system crisis characterized by hyper-inflation, great depression, and total system collapse. As the economist Lyndon LaRouche correctly perceived, that collapse phase is now taking place at a rapid rate.

 

·        Wars and hostilities are intensifying across the globe. Surrogate wars of world powers have also been rehearsed, such as the Georgia-Russia conflict. All of these conflicts will hyper-converge in a World War III or intercontinental war, the duration of which no one can forecast so easily.

 

So, going back to the issue, if the ‘virtual economy’ cannot be sustained and its collapse will bring the final death blow on ‘late’ capital, is it possible to extend capitalism’s life span? Yes, the possibility is very likely. But the context emerging from the resolution of the general global crisis will hardly resemble what you’ve ever seen before nor imagine.

First of all, the consolidation of the system and attempts to prolong it can never take place without draconian police state tactics. As Lenin correctly emphasized, the dividing line between liberalism and fascism is a superficial one. Neo-fascism will become the political modality in order to save capitalism and bring it to its next phase. State terror heretofore untold will unravel the old order of things and bring the ‘new world order’ into place, resulting to pogroms that will dwarf both Hitler’s ‘final solution’ and Stalin’s ‘purges’ combined.

The possibility of a global state will finally become granite rock, with the United Nations most likely the base for creating that global regulatory mechanism governed by a demonic ‘world rule of law’. This global state will have its own military and police forces, and will have no qualms in quelling dissent and enforcing global fiats in order to bring forth the ‘new world order’.

The global corporations of the moment, whose assets and revenues are already so huge that they dwarf those of nation-states’, will all the more become gigantic. The same corporations will then declare their respective turfs among region-states and city-states that will be created from the dismantled nations. Each mega-corporation will be endowed with its own private army, akin to the British East India Company or BEIC of old, of professional mercenaries beholden to no state but to the corporation, but which can be mandated by the global state to engage hostile forces in other regions and cities.

The era of New Feudalism will then ensue from the social and urban-ecological arrangements emerging. The era of ancient Florence, Venice, or city-states with their own respective armies and ruled by powerful commercial families, will come back though in more sophisticated vogue. The competing powerful & wealthy city-states will then give rise to new conflicts in the form of ‘wars of the cities’, much akin to the ancient Greek city-states’ conflicts. Before this century’s end, no more nations shall exist, but rather a world of cities and regions integrated largely through the mediative and regulative planetary state. Weaker cities and regions will become the vassals of powerful cities and corporate groups, at a time when technology will even be more revolutionary. The New Feudalism will be based on an integration of capital and information, contrasted to the Old Feudalism that was based on land.  

As soon as 3rd phase cybernetics will conclude, and probably a 4th phase will begin, which will all the more erase the barrier between human and machine, the envisioned Technotronic Society will become the manifest order. Cyborgs and machines will then become perfected and endowed with quasi-human intelligence, while those humans with weak minds will be totally controlled via perfected chips, mega-computers, and new cybernetic systems. Large numbers of subhuman ‘Manchurian candidates’ or MCs will become the docile slave labor of the day, well fed and provided for, but whose behavior will be totally programmed and re-programmable.

That technoronic society of the neo-feudal capitalist ‘new world order’, or simply Technotronic capitalism, was fitfully described and forecast in the film series Matrix and Terminator. As 3rd phase cybernetics is advancing today in laboratory incubators of the North, cybernetics that will dismantle the barrier between human and machine, the possibility of an early arrival of that dreaded machine-controlled ‘new world order’ has become concrete. The question is no longer ‘will technotronics come’, but rather ‘when will it come’? Matrix and Terminator are no film fantasies but are rather scientific extrapolations based on existing and developing cybernetic principles.

So, fellows out there, would you count yourself among the fanatical supporters of ‘capitalist life-span extension’, or would you rather opt for a new economy & society other than the ‘new world order’ that has been engineered by the global oligarchy? Or, would you rather be silent about the matter, as the ‘silence of the lambs’ means the Keynesian “In the long run, all of us will be dead!” Caput!

Let me now end here. Suffice that I shared my notes about the possible extension of the favorite economy of the pro-capitalists or the most abhorred society by capitalism’s detractors. At least I didn’t fail to show you the possibilities, I being a sociologist and economist who learned from my thinker mentors the craft of social forecasting or ‘futurology’.

Till next writing! Adios! Adieu! Paalam! Farewell! 

[23 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila.]

CAPITALISM’S DEMISE: WHAT WENT WRONG?

September 14, 2008

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.]

US WATCH: CAN THE USA PAY ITS DEBTS?

July 10, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza y Delago

Just exactly at what level had the totality of US debts had reached is practically anybody’s guess. So complex is America’s financial system and the mess created by the ‘bubble economy’ over the last three (3) decades, that it takes an enormous amount of research efforts led by top economists and financial consultants to undertake.

One thing is clear though: whoever will be the USA’s next execs must never fail to measure, comprehend, and reverse the debt trends. The estimates today, using combined data from the Fed, the Bank for International Settlements or BiS, and independent researches would put the figure at $50 Trillion.

Measured against the GDP, which stood at around $12.5 Trillion more or less last year, indicates that America doesn’t have the money to pay debts at all, assuming that the bubble bursts and the economy crashes to depression level. Well, the burst began last year yet, the recession is now on, and we need to observe events more closely to determine whether a depression will be at hand.

To say that US savings will salve America’s debt problems is baloney. The savings rate is barely 1%, which accounts for the need for large doses of foreign direct investments and portfolios to cover up for the lack of investible savings. Compare this to East Asia’s average of 30% savings rate, which makes this region’s economy verdantly robust for years to come amid US-EU economic collapse.

On the other hand, to bank on gross international reserves as the source of salvation would likewise bring guffaws. America’s reserves could never exceed $90 Billion at any given time (in real value), which couldn’t even suffice to buy for 1 month’s imports. Compare this to East Asia’s reserves, which range from 4 months imports in RP’s case to at least a year’s for China’s.

So, let us repeat the question, where and how will the US source its funds for salving the debt crisis? What concrete steps will be taken to reverse the debt trap? Who among the political bigwigs in America today possesses the soundest theory and practice for solving the gargantuan debt crisis?

Those questions remain to be answered. Let us hope that the two bigwigs McCain and Obama will do their homework well. The electorates’ expectations are enormously high, and meeting those expectations using traditional, flawed approaches and practices would only endanger both the economic and political stability of this once mighty giant.

[Writ 05 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]