A NEW YEAR’S SERMON –
THE ATTACK OF CORPORATIONS AND THE RICH ON THE REST OF SOCIETY
By Heinz Steinert
[This essay published in December 2010 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://links-netz.de.]
According to official statistics, we are living in one of the richest societies in the world. Inconceivable sums were given out by European states without hesitation when the banks were bailed out from bankruptcy. Enormous incomes were paid out to managers and directors in the financial industry despite the crisis.
Many hunger and freeze in this Europe. People who want to live and work here are left out in the cold or locked up. The homeless are left to themselves and private charity. People are punished and incarcerated without thinking and care in youth prisons reduced for lack of personnel. The poor are suspected of being parasites and mocked for their incompetence.
In the last decades, this wealth concentrated in a few. The increasing inequality is not exogenous to us; it is the result of an active policy. The rich prevail and are subsidized and relieved from contributing to the social infrastructure while social services are cut. Working conditions are made precarious and state revenues from the “top” are slashed. .The new lower class of foreigners is without political rights and treated as a negotiable mass – if they are used and “useful.” Competition is fomented between “local” and “foreign” workers.
This rich society is merciless and bureaucratic and has become envious, ruthless and malicious. The rich triumph and despise others as losers. The young are urged to prepare for harsh competitiveness from kindergarten. Childhood and youth as phases of experimenting and experience are abolished. Seniors are regarded as “too many” and superfluous. Whoever is friendly and in solidarity is decried as weak. The rich join forces and isolate themselves from the rest of society. Their “security” is strengthened with much technology and cheap personnel.
The new political class belongs to this closed society of the rich or wishes to belong to it. Some understand their political activity as only a chance to enrich themselves personally in the people’s wealth. Expenditures for the bank bailout in only the last four years show that tax revenue is understood as comfortable padding to cushion the losses of the companies. The tax-paying population must pay for that while the physical and social infrastructures are cut.
The rich should not be enriched so much. Their way of life is not a model that should be generalized by everyone. Wealth in this society is understood as the accumulation of goods. Money to acquire these goods must be gained by untiring paid labor or by restless nerve-wracking speculation. How satisfying can life be in service of endless money-multiplication without rhythm or reason – even if one can buy a villa, a yacht and a hotel stay in St. Moritz? How much more sensible is a work whose product is used or benefits someone! That much necessary and useful work is unpaid reveals a repressed knowledge abou9t this society and about what is really “priceless.” It is high time to change our understanding of wealth and work.
This is necessary because the production of goods altogether does more harm than good – through poisons and waste materials, consumption of resources and harmful by-products that create new problems. This damage was traditionally exported – to the domestic poor and the poor of the world. The attack of corporations and the rich on the rest of society consists in maintaining this “export.” The rich largely succeed in this. They can protect themselves from the consequences of the plutonium- and dioxin industry, climate change – and even from the annoyed population of this land and world regions. But their means become even more brutal and ruthless.
The price is too high. Competition and exclusion are intensified – at the top and at the bottom. A society arises in which everyone cannot feel good and which we don’t want to pass on to the coming generations. The idea that we will do this – at the expense of the future – is not really comforting. Many know this is not a good life and some seek different and better lifestyles. Supporting this search and promoting this direction could be a function of politics. Enabling projects that compensate for the damages of the dominant lifestyle and developing new ways of life could also be projects of the rich. There are enough projects for solidarity in the population. Corporations and the rich must desist from their selfish services at the expense of others and to accept their responsibility again for society.
“A NEW FINANCIAL CRISIS IS INEVITABLE”
The Dollar’s Blind Flight into the Future
By Davut Col
[This article published on September 28, 2017 is translated from the German on the Internet, www.infosperber.ch.]
Economies on credit can only delay the hour of truth. The policy of a glut of money whitewashes or enlarges the danger of a new massive financial crisis.
Ten years have passed since the outbreak of the financial crisis. The central banks have left nothing untried to maintain tumbling banks and tight-fisted states from the inevitable. A mammoth bank blowout was prevented in this time and Greece was preserved from bankruptcy. The custodians of money are celebrated for this achievement that cost trillions.
These short-term successes often veil that neither the causes of the financial crisis are removed nor are the debt-plagued states rescued. Quite the contrary! The prospects are alarming.
The central banks have not fought the main causes of the financial crisis, namely the excessive indebtedness. We are not further today than ten years ago. The problems are only covered up or glossed over.
The Way of Least Resistance
Too much money created the problems leading to the outbreak of the financial crisis. The crisis should be fought with even more money. This was the way of least resistance and the lesser evil in the short-term and obviously does not succeed.
The central banks are the source of money creation. The same method was applied to bail out the debt-plagued Mediterranean countries. Bonds were bought up and money came to hard-up states in this way. Politicians make you believe the problems are “solved.” Corporate media often spread this news. However, the “solution” only appears on the surface. More problems are actually created. The huge amount of new money has generated new bubbles that will hardly die away any more. The function of interest is annulled and this is very serious. The glut of money lowered the interests so many people, businesses and governments could borrow cheap money.
The money glut found and finds its way to the exchanges where the prices skyrocket to undreamt-of heights. The glut found its way on the real-estate market where the prices rose to dizzy levels. This seduced many governments to become indebted. In the US, consumers profit from cheap credits to buy cars.
As a consequence of the money glut, public and private worldwide indebtedness increase. The same mistakes are repeated that led to the 2007/8 financial crisis.
Trust in the Value of Money Suddenly Fades
This could hardly go on forever. Printing money only functions for a certain time, namely as long as the hope prevails that fast and massive injections could solve the problem. Some time or other, the moment comes when trust dwindles, trust in the value of money.
The continued financial crisis is worse than many assumed. One day the glut in money will lead either to enormous write-offs of money claims or to an inflation. Because of the current politics that goes the way of least resistance, an intense inflation can be expected sooner or later that will lower the prices of goods and services of the real economy. Consumers and investors will react to this sharp money devaluation.
Businesses will then realize that they invested wrongly and purchased firms at too high prices. These “excessive” prices will lead to write-offs and massive losses. Whoever relies too much on foreign capital will discover he cannot cover the interests any more. Many real estate buyers will experience painfully that they paid too much money for their house or apartment.
This scenario will appear as soon as the central banks stop buying bonds and allow interest rates to climb. We are at the beginning of this process. The central banks long hesitated going beyond this process because they realized they maneuvered in a cul-de-sac with their money creating policy.
Historically, this situation never existed. Textbooks do not contain any analogous prescriptions. Helplessness and the principle hope now carry the cay.
Here is a link to Raul Zelik and Elmar Altvater's "Surveying Utopia" from 2012.