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by Dieter Schubert and Albert Mueller
Tuesday, Nov. 01, 2011 at 4:23 AM
Critical thinking and cultural shock have the power to turn the world upside down (like Jesus' parables and zen koans). Trivializing structural/systemic economic problems as motivational, psychological, bumps in the road or industrial accidents is a perversion.
US FINDS CULPRIT
“The Euro-financial crisis worries the whole world.” President Obama warms up for the election campaign and decries Europe as a scapegoat.
By Dieter Schubert
[This article published in: Junge Welt, 9/28/2011 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.jungewelt.de/2011/09-28/018.php.]
Evidently the US government has a new election campaign line. Europeans are responsible for the economic debacle worldwide and the increasing economic weakness in the US. They cannot solve their crisis, are extremely indebted and deeply divided politically. The whole world is “anxious” about the consequences. This is not only the message of Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner proclaimed clearly on September 21 in Polish Wroclaw and repeated at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington. Now the US president appreciatively adopts the theme.
This may be a transparent maneuver because Barack Obama must steel himself for the battle for reelection in the White House in 2012. The missionary tone was set. The president used a visit to California’s Silicon Valley to proclaim the new truth to the world. “Western Europe’s debt problems are the greatest risk threatening the world economy.” Geithner said. Obama put more coal on the fire. The real sequence of the crisis was ignored which as everybody knows was triggered by the collapse of the 2007 housing market. Instead he accused Europeans of not reacting quickly enough. The continent has never completely recovered from the 2007 events. The debt crisis expands overseas and threatens the US economy.
Another episode also made clear that an “inverted world” is played out in the United States. For his appearance, the president chose the hip career network Linkedin (one of the up-and-coming and completely overrated startups of Silicon Valley) as a backdrop and presented a kind of talk show. At this event, a former manager of the global data octopus Google urged Obama to raise his taxes. The addressant gratefully took that as an occasion to campaign for his bold ideas. He did not want to fleece the rich, Obama stressed, but to return to the income tax levels of the 1990s when the rich were rich, the middle class was larger and people came “out of poverty.”
A great dose of cynical diplomacy is needed to view the US president’s appearance as helpful for Europe. The EU commission succeeded effortlessly in this. They greeted Obama’s rhetorical broadside as a welcome piece of advice. “Since this crisis will obviously have effects on other international actors, they should express their opinions,” the spokesperson of the EU monetary commission Oili Rehn said in Brussels. Even if there is not agreement on all points, the EU commission wants “active and regular exchange” with the US government. Rehn saw the remarks of the US Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner on the situation in Europe as a “constructive” contribution, the spokesperson added.
STRATEGIES OF PROPAGANDA
“Markets,” “Investors,” “Debt Crisis,” “Debt Sinner,” “Debt States,” “Herd Instinct” and other Deceptions
By Albrecht Mueller
[This article published September 6, 2011 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.nachdenkseiten.de.]
Yesterday’s daily themes were models in counter-enlightenment. The terms named in the subtitle are used, mislead or are only half-truths.
The success of the term “debt crisis” is one modern example for the possibility of completely deceiving people and the media. This crisis is a crisis of the banks and the entire financial management. The financial crisis originally had little to do with state indebtedness as we now learn from the statements of Mr. Ackermann (Deutsche Bank) about the toxic entries in the balance sheets of many banks. The banks and other financial institutes radically speculated for years.
In 2003 some banks and insurances massively speculated. In February 2003, they knocked on the doors of Schroeder (former German chancellor) and his ministers Clement and Eichel to gain support for creating one or several bad banks. The Hypo Real Estate Bank was founded after the coveted deal with the German government became known and was thwarted. Waste was stored at HRE. All this was long before the breakdown of Lehmann Brothers.
State indebtedness was not a great problem either in Germany or in most Mediterranean countries as described in the NachDenkSeiten article “The Euro crisis in numbers – How Model Students Became Problem Children.” Nevertheless the terms “debt crisis” and “debt sinner” are used to form opinions.
In the daily themes, there are many aphorisms that are based on false analyses:
• The markets question the reform capacity of the debt states
• Euro-debt sinners
• The markets believe less and less that Europe can solve its debt problems
• Greece is not saving as promised
• Greece’s conduct reaches the limit of provocation (Broderle)
• The debt crisis of the Mediterranean countries is one cause for the DAX (German stock exchange) fall.
With the use of the terms “markets” and “investors,” the assumption is that individual rational persons are active here and the main actors invest money as though they were doing something useful and creating value. That is a half-truth. Transactions on the financial markets and on the raw material markets are largely marked by speculation and speculators – by the use of new financial products, bets and adventurous securities.
There were always individual actors and speculators who were active and influenced market events and the development of prices, interests and currencies – beginning with the takeover battles over Mannesmann and the German stock exchange or VW/Porsche speculations and intrigues over Hypo Real Estate and particular Euro countries.
A new recent example is given by the Wall Street Journal. On September 1, 2011 the Wall Street Journal had the headline “Goldman Sachs recommends bets against Europe.
The persons who buy shares, currencies, raw materials and funds have a certain influence on the price development when they act in synchronicity. Herds and herd instinct seem appropriate descriptions. However this is really only a half-truth. The strategies and recommendations of individual mega-speculators including investment banks like Goldman Sachs often depend on herd conduct.
The use of the terms “debt sinner,” “debt state” etc. apparently leads our commentators in politics, science and the media to renounce on thinking problems through.
• The commentator of Bavarian radio Gottlieb gives the impression that Greeks are in peace and quiet under the Euro bailout umbrella. He has no idea about life in Greece or the social and financial situation of the majority of the people.
• A discussion on a Greek radio station emphasized that the Greek government has not met its obligation to privatize state assets fast enough. The interviewed representatives of the government party tried to explain that privatization came to a standstill because the prices were so bad. Every reasonable person must be ready to listen to this argument. A people cannot really be expected to sell their (property) assets far below their price. A shock strategy is carried out with the plundering of assets in East Germany (DDR) and other countries of Eastern Europe and Africa today.
• Bruderle’s remark on the Greeks’ deficient readiness to save only shows how even authoritative persons are lulled to sleep and befuddled regarding serious decisions on the future of a common economic and currency zone. The austerity resolutions imposed on the Greeks will not result in a savings success because the economy will save to its ruin. People knew all this. All this can be understood when the brain is not befuddled by slogans like those mentioned at the outset.
Video: “Manufacturing Consent,” 1992, Noam Chomsky, 2 hr 46 min
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