Calls are running 100-1 against the bailout. Executives, speculators and gamblers should absorb the costs of accounting fraud and excesses from deregulation. Help homeowners facing foreclosure, not the new financial engineers! The Capitol switchboard is easy and free: 800-270-0309. Hundreds of calls will not be ignored.
FORGET WALL STREET!
By Robert von Heusinger
[This article published in: Frankfurter Rundschau 9/15/2008 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.fr-online.de.]
Lehman Brothers, the fallen US investment bank, will go down in the history books. That is certain. Lehman was an experiment with a risk of fire breaking out that Americans forced on the rest of the world. For ideological reasons, the US government did not save and nationalize the bank with taxpayer money. The risk that the consequences could cost even more money and lead to dislocations is accepted. Who still lends money voluntarily to American credit institutions today?
Nothing else is now left to responsible parties in Europe than to dispense verbal sedatives, additional central bank liquidity and hope. No one should be surprised if the central banks soon must intervene directly in the financial markets to support the dollar or keep the stock markets from collapsing. The capsizing of more banks in Europe is possible.
Never before since the end of the Second World War was the systemic risk so concrete. Experts understand systemic risk as the risk of chain reactions. All the banks, funds and insurances that did business with Lehman Brothers and bought credit packages or debt titles suddenly had to write off these assets. As the fourth-largest Wall Street bank, Lehman was not a small player in finance capitalism. Losses are announced everywhere. Will everyone be reinstated?
If it runs badly, taxpayers in Europe will have to raise billions of euros for rescuing local banks. The yields from life insurances will be reduced enormously. The crisis will create millions of unemployed for Europe. Thanks, America!...
Say goodbye to the philosophy of Wall Street, that little street in New York in which financial capitalism had its origin.
The philosophy of speculators has long spread to continental Europe with the help of the European Union. The essence of this worldview is firstly: free ride for capital. The interests of workers, customers, suppliers and communities are not considered in business decisions, only the interests of owners of capital, shareowners and creditors.
Secondly, whatever can be made into merchandise is commodified because the intermediaries, the banks, earn money in transactions. Whole firms, real estate portfolios, credits or insurances facing credit shortfalls mutated in the past years to speculation objects.
Thirdly, global capitalism is built on rules that make the system more prone to fluctuations instead of stabilizing the system. Europeans bravely poured into laws the new regulations for banks and the new balancing regulations. These regulations operate pro-cyclically and strengthen euphoria or depression. Heads of firms become increasingly hectic and think and act in a more short-term way. This fills the pockets of bankers and their assistants - like chancellors, rating agencies and auditor companies.
Fourthly, privatize whatever can be privatized, best of all old age provisions and insurance for other life risks. This provides an incessant stream of fresh money invested in the capital market and greedy for new financial products.
The result of this false philosophy is now paid out. The banks take in up to 20 percent of all the profits of the US economy. Instead of investing in real assets, more and more firms play in the financial casino to the burden of growth and jobs. A few become stinking rich. Many are stamped low-wage workers and impoverished. Redistribution is the command of the hour where true security depends on sharing power and mending our own systemic contradictions..