Shock Capitalism: The Swindlers Of 2008 Are Now Betting On World Hunger
In his new book, “The Great American Stick Up”, journalist Robert Scheer makes one of the most lucid and accurate analysis of the 2008 global financial meltdown or what we call here the strategy of shock capitalism. Scheer connects the dots and exposes “How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats enriched Wall Street while mugging Main Street”.
While some people might be critical of Robert Scheer for treating the “Masters of the Universe” of Wall Street like criminals, the points that Scheer is making in his new book can hardly be contested. There is more than plenty of blame to pass around in this case, and Scheer is able to generously share the blame between Wall Street and their “partners in crime” in Congress. Scheers argues that the banksters and their political associate “did it” knowingly.
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Robert Scheer is rightly putting a large number of people in the same putrid bag of greed and stupidity.
“Yes, there is a “they”: the captains of finance, their lobbyists, and allies among leading politicians of both parties, who together destroyed an American regulatory system that had been functioning splendidly for most of six decades since it was enacted in the 1930s,” writes Scheer.
Further, Scheer accurately blames both Republicans and Democrats, and the administration of Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama for being the accomplices of the giant Wall Street swindle, which took 30 years to bare its fruits.
“This was a giant hustle that served the richest of the rich, and left the rest of us holding the bag, a life-altering game of musical chairs in which the American public was the one forced out. Worst of all, legislators from both political parties we elect and pay to protect our interest from the pirates who assaulted us, instead changed our laws to enable them,” writes Scheer.
Scheer notes that it was Robert Rubin, Clinton’s Treasury Secretary and former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, who led the fight to free the financial markets from regulations, and then, after leaving the Treasury, went on to a $15 million-a-year job with Citigroup. Beside Rubin, Scheers also puts squarely the blame on Alan Greenspan and Lawrence Summers who “inflated a giant real estate bubble by purposely not regulating the derivatives market, resulting in oceans of money that was poured into bad loans sold as safe investment.”
The Obama administration is also obviously to blame for putting in the lead of its economic team people like Summers and Geithner, and keeping Bernanke to head the Feds. Summers, Geithner and Bernanke were very much an important part of the problem over the years, and none of them have the vision to be part of the solution.
“President Obama’s proposed reform legislation stops far short of reintroducing the kind of regulation of the markets that prevented such a disaster since 1929. If we as a people learn anything from this crash, however, it should be that there is no adults watching the store, only a tiny elite of self interested multi-millionaires and billionaires making decisions for the rest of us. As long as we cede that power to them, we can expect to continue getting bilked,” writes Robert Scheer.
In other words, President Obama had the unique historic opportunity to re-set the clock and be the new FDR that America so badly needed, but instead he decided to run an economic policy almost identical to the Wall Street and big corporations friendly policy of Bill Clinton.
Big Financiers Are Now Betting On World Hunger
Recently, of all people, the President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, said that “for the first time in history more than a billion people go to bed hungry every night”. Zoellick also added that the United Nations Millennium Development Goal to eradicate hunger by 2015 “will not be achieved”. Recent natural disasters are only compounding the problem for food commodities, and potential very serious food shortage.
The monsoon in India and the killer floods in Pakistan have devastated the region, and have destroyed crops and livestock. In just a few months, the price of rice and tea has increased by more than 30 percent. In Russia, the fires that swept through the farmland have dramatically reduced the wheat harvest.
But the upcoming new food crisis looming in our global forecast is more man made than anything else. Raw material, and especially food commodities, are the new prime target for global investors. After betting on property values, and by doing so creating the real estate bubble, the financial “Masters of The Universe” of the financial markets are now turning their undivided attention to agriculture commodities.
International hedge funds are now gambling on basic commodities such as wheat, rice, corn and soy. For example, in September, Amajaro, a London based hedge fund, bought a quantity of cocoa equivalent of 25 percent of all European stocks. Needless to say, a few days later the price of cocoa per tonne skyrocketed and broke all records. After causing the financial collapse, and later profiting from it, the super-wealthy speculators are now focused on making a “killing” by stocking up on food commodities and watching the poor go hungry. How is shock capitalism working for you?
Editor’s Note: Robert Scheer is a veteran journalist. He belongs to a disappearing breed of American journalists with Dan Rather, Bill Moyers and Bob Woodward who value real news, facts, the truth and have the guts to challenge people in power. You can find Robert Scheer on Twitter.