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Global Affairs

The Privatised Economy

 6 min read / 

People better wake up!  They are losing their jobs to automation, paid for by a low-interest bank loan.  They might think that is not evil, its ‘just’ business.  However, taking a closer look, and understanding how low-interest rates and limitless lending works against mankind, people will agree that the banking system is working against us, not for us. Deliberately undermining the greater benefit of humanity may even be considered evil.

Banks are not evil some might say, they are simply doing what they do, providing competitive lending rates with better service to their customers.  What most fail to realise is that banks were given much more power than providing loans a long time ago.  In fact, in 1913 the commercial banks were given the keys to the economy.  They were given the ownership of America’s central bank and renamed it ‘The Federal Reserve.’  This means that the banks control the interest rates on loans and the money supply in the economy.

The Privatised Economy

Many parts of the economy have been privatised over the years from telecommunications to transportation.  Even prisons have been privatised in the last few decades.  Private business tends to run companies a lot better than the government ever could but there are also risks that the ‘for-profit’ business model might crosses ethical lines.  For example, if private prisons were allowed to treat their prisoners inhumanely or extend prison time for the purpose of earning more money that would be a problem.   There has to be oversight and guidelines for privatisation to work.  On the other hand, America allows for money to talk in Washington, and the prison lobbyists are working overtime to keep marijuana illegal despite the health benefits.  Marijuana needs to be illegal so the private prison system can keep its profits growing.  This example, clearly shows the conflict of interest privatisation can have with a moral society.  At least the private prison industry is small and the power it wields in Washington is also small but that is not the case for the banking industry.

The Federal Reserve is a private corporation owned by commercial banks.  The Federal Reserve is America’s central bank, this essentially means that America’s economy has been privatised.  America outsourced the economy to the commercial banks back in 1913.  It all started innocently enough with JP Morgan bailing out the American government from bankruptcy and in return, the banks received fiscal control over the money supply to ensure a stable economy going forward.  But as the commercial banks business interests took over they quickly moved from a gold standard to a fractional gold reserve and by 1972 with Richard Nixon’s help, they dropped gold from the equation all together which allowed for limitless lending.  Access to an unlimited amount of money to lend is really quite mind-blowing.  It is in essence limitless power since money is power.  The pinnacle use of this power, to date, was accessed when the Federal Reserve bailed out the banks with quantitative easing and TARP money in the Great Recession of 2008-9.

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The Bailout and Its Aftermath

Politicians and financial regulators bailed out the primary instigators of the crisis in the first place. But it is hardly surprising, given how often the Federal Reserve increases the money supply when times are tough. From 2007-08, the Fed did nearly everything in its power to revitalise the lending markets, including:

  • Lowering the fund’s rate from 5% to zero, literally the lowest possible rate it could give.
  • Buying up over $300trn in agency debt from mortgage-backed securities that were precariously invested.

The government got in on saving the banks too. Barack Obama passed a $787bn stimulus package in 2009 aimed at the financial markets, contributing to a $1.26trn government debt by 2012.

The bankers are to blame.  The Federal Reserve is responsible for keeping the credit markets working properly.  And since the commercial banks own the Federal Reserve, it should be no surprise that they bailed out their owners first.  The politicians in their naiveté got their direction from the very people who caused the problem in the first place.  And the only institution that could readily remedy the situation was the Federal Reserve.

Why Save the Banks, Not the Citizens?

When looking at the causes and outcomes of the Great Recession, one theme stands out: the American citizen was forced to soak up the consequences of an irresponsible greedy investment market.

The banks were responsible for trying to monetise subprime mortgages, but the taxpayer bailed them out. The real estate market tanked and people had to sell their homes and hit the streets. The government provides a nominal tax subsidy that did little to lighten the financial load. Why? Because the government is beholden to the moneyed interests on Wall Street that use twisted economic logic to demand a strong lending market. Of course, little consideration is given to the realities of the individual receiving the credit, what matters is lots of credit passing through the system.

As the Great Recession shows, the current system is designed to flow from one crisis to the next, as the government goes further and further into debt. The Federal Reserve is a poor guardian of America’s economy as long as the commercial banks are calling the shots. America’s representational government is what allowed the banks to take over the Federal Reserve.  Without optimising the inputs into the economy, the cyclical process will continue and America’s people will continue to bear the burden of the wealthy calling the shots in Washington.

The Great Recession revealed the banking industry’s conflict of interest.  Many say that the actions that were taken during the great recession saved the economy and got the economy back to normal.  Believe it or not, this is not normal.

Commercial banks owning and operating the Federal Reserve is like private prisons owning and operating the legal system.  The conflict of interest between the business interest of the banks and a moral society is staggering.  But the example of the Great Recession only scratches the surface.  The banks may very well be responsible for the imminent demise of mankind.

 

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