This is a lenthy review , but worth it. I’ve tried to capture some of the salient points below.
This article is a review of This Time is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises by University of Maryland‘s Carmen Reinhart and Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff.
- a US default will make Argentina ‘s debt defaults pale both by comparison and consequence.
- The flow of credit from England and then from its surrogate successor, the US, to developing nations such as Argentina was but the flow of printed coupons designed to harness and indebt the wealth and productivity of new lands.
- The “capital” was really only credit, thinly disguised debt in the form of paper money originally issued by central banks, the Bank of England in Britain and the Federal Reserve Bank in the US , the twin towers of monetary Mordor.
- The wonderfully sounding idea of unfettered capitalism is but a smokescreen for bankers to leverage their coupons in the form of credit and thereby indebt and control the productivity and wealth of others. As such, it has accomplished its goal admirably but its success will now cost the bankers dearly.
- Three centuries of indebting nations, businesses, and the citizenry with constantly compounding debt is no longer sustainable. This is why central bankers in London , New York , Paris , and Tokyo are in such distress. Debtors can no longer pay their debts, defaults are on the rise and bankers may actually have to find real jobs if their confidence game continues to disintegrate.
Part of the review touches on “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” (Barrett Koehler, 2004) by John Perkins.
Perkins story is nearly incomprehensible and well worth reading. Here are some quotes from the article:
In 1968, after graduating from Boston University , Perkins joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Ecuador . There, he was recruited by the National Security Agency (NSA) and hired by an international consulting firm, Chas. T. Main in Boston.
Soon after beginning his job in Boston , “I was contacted by a woman named Claudine who became my trainer as an economic hit man.” Perkins assumed the woman worked for the NSA.
“She said she was sent to help me and to train me,” Perkins said. “She is extremely beautiful, sensual, seductive, intelligent. Her job was to convince me to become an economic hit man, holding out these three drugs –- sex, drugs and money. And then she wanted to let me know that I was getting into a dirty business. And I shouldn’t go off on my first assignment, which was going to be Indonesia, and start doing this unless I knew that I was going to continue doing it, and once I was in I was in for life.”
Perkins worked for Main from 1970 to 1980. His job was to convince the governments of the third world countries and the banks to make deals where huge loans were given to these countries to develop infrastructure projects. And a condition of the loan was that a large share of the money went back to the big construction companies in the USA – the Bechtels and Halliburtons.
The loans would plunge the countries into debts that would be impossible to pay off.
“The system is set up such that the countries are so deep in debt that they can’t repay their debt,” Perkins said. “When the U.S. government wants favors from them, like votes in the United Nations or troops in Iraq, or in many, many cases, their resources – their oil, their canal, in the case of Panama, we go to them and say – look, you can’t pay off your debts, therefore sell your oil at a very low price to our oil companies. Today, tremendous pressure is being put on Ecuador , for example, to sell off its Amazonian rainforest -– very precious, very fragile places, inhabited by indigenous people whose cultures are being destroyed by the oil companies.”
When a leader of a country refuses to cooperate with economic hit men like Perkins, the jackals from the CIA are called in. Perkins said that both Omar Torrijos of Panama and Jaime Boldos of Ecuador -– both men he worked with – refused to play the game with the U.S. and both were cut down by the CIA -– Torrijos when his airplane blew up, and Roldos when his helicopter exploded, within three months of each other in 1981.
If the CIA jackals don’t do the job, then the U.S. Marines are sent in –- Butler ‘s “racketeers for capitalism.”
The conclusions? Not glowing:
Both parties are controlled by the same money, the same money that now controls global governments and institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF, the same money that buys politicians, scholars, the military, lawyers, TV anchors, radio talk show hosts and anyone else whose influence they can use for their own ends.
… Humanity now finds itself at the beginning of a profound shift, a shift that will force us—if we are to survive, if we are to triumph—to put aside our differences to accomplish together what we obviously cannot accomplish apart.
The two political polarities must find common ground or they will soon find there is no ground at all. What is happening is bigger than money and power although it involves both. It involves humanity, it involves all of us and unless we find each other we will soon find there will be nothing left to find at all.
We are closer to the end than to the beginning. Keep your own counsel. Buy gold and silver. Keep the faith.
Where will you be when the meltdown occurs?