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There is only one economy

by Detlef Hensche Thursday, Apr. 08, 2010 at 8:53 AM

The stock exchange produces nothing. Speculations and bets do not create any assets, even if the daily stock market reports on television try to get us to believe the opposite. That the financial markets make themselves independent is the result of political decisions.


The separation of financial markets and the real economy is a pure invention. Every euro invested in the papers and securities of financial markets was gained through hard work.
By Detlef Hensche

[This article published on: Frankfurter Rundschau online March 3, 2010 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.fr-online.de. Detlef Hensche, 71, is part of the prosecuting team of the Attac Bank Tribunal. The lawyer was the chairperson of the IG Metal union from 1992 to 2001 and is co-editor of the monthly journal Blatter fur deutsche und international Politik.]

[The global justice network Attac is organizing the Bank Tribunal from April 9-11 in Berlin. Culprits for the financial crisis and steps to prevent future crises will be named. The German governments since 1998, the financial monitors, banks, rating agencies and auditors will be indicted. The social ethicist Friedhelm Hengsbach and the judge Jurgen Borchert will be the judges. The political scientist Elmar Altvater and unionist Detlef Hensche will be two of the prosecutors. Assigned counsel will be named.]

The debate over the bank crisis sometimes gives the impression that the financial markets formed their own world set apart from the so-called real economy. Several hundred thousand employees who have lost their jobs and millions of short-time workers experienced yesterday that this is not true. We will all recognize this tomorrow when the austerity programs annou9nced months ago become reality.

No wonder the billions in losses of banks and businesses that relied on speculative financial investments and must now be corrected press on the economy that was collapsing anyway. Even more seriously, the government has made gigantic guarantee promises and taken over losses of around 150 billion euro which the society now has to pay. Everyone who depends on social security, social benefits and public property will be confronted with severe losses.

Conversely those who operate the roulette with their own or entrusted capital and profit from that will be spared. Only a meager bank tax for partial financing of the bailout fund is now planned.

The financial market and the real economy are in no way separated worlds. There is only one economy. Every euro and every dollar invested in securities of the financial markets was earned. Only labor makes goods and prosperity.

The stock exchange producers nothing. Speculations and bets do not create any assets, even if the daily stock market reports on television try to get us to believe the opposite. That the financial markets make themselves independent and the gambling casino reaches incredible dimensions is the result of concrete political decisions or malformations.

The crisis is caused by growing excesses of capital and is not a natural phenomenon. These excesses are results of real redistribution from bottom to top, from South to North, from public affluence to private enrichment, from countries with negative balance of payments to export-fixated surplus countries. All this is the program of market-orthodox reforms.

Consequently one should not be amazed when the surplus capital accumulated year after year in the search for profitable investment possibilities avoids economies cutting down on expenses and is enticed by the game with financial investments.

The circle closes here between the financial crisis and acceptance of unemployment, expansion of low wages, reduction of social benefit6s, reorganization of old age provisions in favor of private capital-financed systems and state withdrawal from responsibility for public prospe3rity and infrastructure.

While binding regulations and controls of the financial markets are necessary, the roots lie in the pathology of the real economy: the national and worldwide redistribution to the top. [Justice as rewarding achievers instead of distribution justice or equal opportunities is a bitter fruit or ideology of the neoliberal counter-revolution benefiting and encouraging capital and speculation. Translators note]

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