For anyone who
has never been ‘kettled’
it is when
the police at a protest suddenly close ranks and refuse
to let anyone leave. You suddenly find you are held against your wishes. The police will not explain why, and they won’t allow any exceptions. You suddenly have no control over what
is happening, and no discussion is
permitted. A decision
made by someone you have never seen now
exerts complete and total
control over your life.
We are all in that position now.
So vast is
the debt our government has burdened us with that this
one fact will now determine most of the politics of the next decade. Other hopes and desires – the wish for better schools, a better health service, better care for the elderly - will wither in the shadow of the debt repayments. If we are forced to pay back from taxes all the vast sums that have been sucked out of public spending
and given to the banks,
the country will not recover
for a generation.
The economic ‘plans’, forced on us without debate, are all based on the banks returning large parts of
the money they have taken
from us. This means, whether we like
it or not, we all have to
hope that the banks make profits as quickly as possible. We have
all been ‘kettled’ into
having to hope and work for the largest possible growth in world trade and
finance. We have to hope that the rich get richer, and quickly. The lords of finance and their
servants in politics decided
this for us.
There never was
any discussion or debate
of possible alternatives when the financial crisis began. It was declared, and universally agreed (always a bad sign)
that the problem was liquidity, not solvency. That meant the only answer ever
proposed was to provide liquidity at all costs. Liquidity being our money to cover the massive losses they had
incurred. This, we were told, wasn’t
really a cost at all, but ‘an investment’.
An investment which would pay back all the loaned, borrowed and printed money long before the debts came due through reinflated levels of growth and asset value.
That was, and is,
their only plan. And so absolute is
the certainty in the minds
of all concerned that
none of them can even conceive of looking beyond the closed circle of that logic. No counter-argument is allowed or taken seriously. No warning signs are
read as such.
‘free market’ has seized
control and locked us in to a course of action in which democratic choice has been foreclosed. The
growing realisation that this is
what is happening will bring about increased anger. The smug reaction to anger is to label it ‘mindless’. The mindless anger of the ignorant who don't understand
the necessary steps being taken by those who know better. That is the boiled down assumption of all our leaders, all the economic
experts and most economic
The truth is
quite different. People like me are angry because exactly the same people who, in 2008, assumed they knew how to run the global economy still assume they, and only they, know what must be done now. And their prescription is as simple
as it is arrogant: put it back they way it was.
We are told that the debts accrued by those in charge must
be paid by us rather than honoured
by them. No debate.
We are told
we must get lending back to the old levels. No debate.
We are told
we must get the consumer consuming again rather than saving. No debate.
We are told
that we must agree and complete the Doha
round of global free trade liberalization.
To be robbed
is one thing: to be condescended to by the
people who robbed you is another
That is why many people like me are angry. We are angry because the financial elite are shoving their ideology down our throats. We are angry because we might have wanted to have a say. We are angry because we had
different ideas that were never
are at the point in history
when many of us are looking at the imminent threats of climate change and oil scarcity, clearly seeing the dangers of unbridled growth, and yet at this
point democratic choice
has been kettled. No debate.
And that is why this crisis
is no longer just about lack of confidence
in the markets: it is now about the legitimacy of our governments. The entire political class has been captured
by the same ideology. They all, to one extent or another, believe ‘the market’ is going to save us. No other solutions have even been allowed into the debate.
waste our time arguing over which party is most to blame.
All the parties and the economists and the City
boys all agreed, and they
still do. In their minds the banks had to be bailed
out and their losses made
ours. We were taken to war without discussion and on false pretences;
the same has happened with this financial
crisis. So enough of who is to blame:
they all were and are.
They all believe
in a system that says we must create demand and then feed it with
debt. This necessarily involves increasing demand by the creation of yet more debt. It always crashes and always will. That is how their system works. If we allow it
to be the solution, it will create another
crash and another. Each
time the rich will reap profits on the way up and rape the public purse on the way down. It's win, win for them and lose, lose for us.
Plus ça change!
Generation - By David Malone