Financial crisis spreading

Written By: - Date published: 9:51 am, May 8th, 2010 - 42 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, International - Tags: ,

In other cheery news this morning:

Euro crisis goes global as leaders fail to stop the rot

The growing crisis in the eurozone threatened to undermine the global economic recovery as markets plunged across the world on fears that European leaders may not be able to contain the debt contagion spreading from Greece.

Stock markets in London, New York, and Shanghai dived following criticism that much delayed and half-hearted measures to rescue Greece were undermining confidence in wider efforts to kick start the world economy.

European shares finished the day at a six-month low while the Dow was down around 1% at 10,424. In Asia, the Shanghai stock market fell to an eight-month low of 2688, down 6.8% on the previous day.

An emergency summit of the 16 leaders of the countries using the single currency was held in Brussels , with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France demanding tougher and quicker regulation of the financial markets in what looked like a doomed attempt to contain contagion from the Greek drama.

Capital Economics said the situation was delicately balanced and could become “devastating”: “So far, the crisis in Greece has not caused the money markets to freeze up. But if this situation were to change, the impact on risky asset prices could be devastating and derail the fragile global economic recovery. Policymakers know this only too well after the events of September 2008.”

Cracks have already begun to appear in the system. The cost of insuring against a default by banks in the euro-zone has risen sharply in recent days.

Europe’s sovereign debt crisis is making it harder for European banks to get their hands on dollars and may require their central banks to step in with short-term liquidity to keep up the flow of money through Europe’s economy.

Well, don’t say we didn’t warn you. It now looks highly likely that a second economic storm will engulf the world economy, and as usual little old NZ will get tossed about in its wake.

One particularly interesting snippet from The Guardian piece above. Many of the writers here would argue that much of society can be understood as a battle between a tiny minority of ultra-rich and a large majority of workers – money vs. people. But you don’t often see that view stated by major politicians and reported by the media quite as nakedly as this:

While pleading for the funds, Merkel has rounded furiously on the markets. After stating earlier this week that “politics have to reassert primacy over the financial markets”, she said that the “speculators are our opponents” and described the banks as “perfidious”.

Describing politicians as being in battle with the markets, she added: “Like all my other colleagues, I want to win this fight.”

Go for it Angela Merkel! Time for the people to take back control. Time for a real change.

42 comments on “Financial crisis spreading”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Euro crisis goes global as leaders fail to stop the rot

    As they’re the ones that caused it I doubt that they have the wherewithal to stop it. We don’t need, or have any use for, leaders. What we need is people and community.

  2. freedom 2

    Invisible Empire is in plain sight and is heading towards the endgame. All the minutae of the arguments are irrelevant. It is time to accept the big picture is crooked and no amount of playing with the spirit-level will alter the outcome. The Media are as much at fault as the Banks and the Politicians. Centralised control of global banking is just around the corner.

    “We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. -But, the work is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries.”
    David Rockefeller, founder of the Trilateral Commission, in an address to a meeting of The Trilateral Commission, in June, 1991.”

    • Rob M 2.1

      More from Mr Rockefeller:

      “For more than a century ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as “internationalists” and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”

  3. prism 3

    Interesting phrase on news about Greece and the financial crisis – the news reader said something like – governments were acting to demonstrate to the markets that countries were acting to stabilise their economies. When the markets are implicated in the collapse as much as they are, this is highly ironic.

    Like Standard and Poor continuing to pass judgments on financial capability after the financial collapse that I don’t think they had been aware of. Seems that the markets are no more capable of acting well without the moral hazard that they accuse governments of. I wish we could have a government that had discussion papers released to the public, of alternative ways that we could establish the value of our currency instead of being an impulse buy product at the money market checkout. It is more important to us than that. We need to stop being a currency commodity and aim for less volatility, reduced short-term demand and less dependence on Hedge Funds to protect our export receipts.

    • prism 3.1

      After reading freedom – is thinking a waste of time? Has it all been decided and the politicians just playing around the feet of the elephant, or some carrying on pretending and the others oiling its skin and painting its toenails?

      • freedom 3.1.1

        Prism, The elephant is real that’s all i am saying. How you deal with the elephant is up to you. Most people i speak with agree that the elephant should probably be left where it is and everyone else go off and get back to whatever it was you were doing before the elephant turned up.

        For most people it was crazy stuff like raising healthy children, doing an honest day’s labour for an honest day’s pay, living in communities where the values of friendship and safety were worth more than the benefit of an off shore workforce and hedgefunded security scams. We got a warning last year with the bailouts around the world. The elephant let us know it was there. The next time though is dfferent, it will trumpet and blow its anger at being ignored but when no-one bothers to feed it, then we will see a new beast.

        The reactions will only be known once the events unfold, you have to make a choice right now, either do all you can now to wake people up , or you can sit back and watch it on t.v.
        The holocaust began with a simple piece of cloth, and the potential here is on a scale never seen before in our history. Speak truth to power and you will face the truth your eyes forgot.

        • prism

          Freedom I agree with you that we must all do something.
          I have just been doing some thinking in a now vanished comment. Don’t know where its gone. The thought was there, but now…? Must go an do some physical work.

          • freedom

            work well
            maybe a sly cup of tea would recharge the inspiration

            capcha: friend

  4. big bruv 4


    A Euro crisis caused by the collapse of the socialist Greek state.

    And you idiots advocate borrowing billions more to prop up state spending….

    This is what happens when you keep expanding the welfare state in a naked bribe to keep power.

    Serves them right.

    • Carol 4.1

      Well, actually, the German and other European banks/financial institutions are partly to blame. They had already invested in Greece’s banks before the crisis and stand to lose a lot from the Greek financial collapse. So basically, it seems they were making profits out of Greece’s ‘”socialist state” before the crisis.

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      From what I understand, the problem is not that Greek was socialist, as you like to blame it for (the scandinavian countries seem to be doing just fine, thanks, barely being affected by the recession).

      The problem is that Greek public service jobs were jobs for life where you would not be fired for anything, so people would get a job, turn up and have very little or no work to do. They’d go home or go work at another job, while still being paid the full wage for their public job. That is *not* socialism, that’s pouring money down a hole.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.3

      Silly old Big Bruv.
      The greek Socialists have only been in power since October 09. It was their predecessors the Greek tories who created the mess

      • mickysavage 4.3.1

        I look forward to BB’s retraction of his blaming the left for the mess that Greece is in or an explanation why the left is to blame devoid of slogans.

    • RedLogix 4.4

      And of course bb’s assertion is scarcely helped by the ‘socialist’ Greek habit of not ever paying taxes, a national pastime that has directly undermined confidence in the ability of the Greek govt to support it’s debts.

      Incidentally NZ and Aus have debt positions not a lot different to the Greek one, but because we still have a relatively sound tax base we still enjoy the confidence of the markets.

    • Jenny 4.5

      Hey BB, when are you going to give us the name of the insurance company that you claim insures workers against redundancy.

      Either that or admit you just make whacky facts up to suit your right wing prejudices.

      • Lanthanide 4.5.1

        I have redundancy protection insurance through ANZ and whoever it is they have underwriting their insurance these days.

        Or was BB claiming a national plan that covers everyone automatically? Such a thing does not exist.

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    It looks to me like we are just about caught on the horns of Rodrik’s Trilemma. (yes, it’s a triceratops)

    If Rodrik is right, you can have any two but not all three of the following:

    Deep economic integration (basically the globalisation WTO, ‘free’ trade, floating currencies etc)

    Nation states.


    2, but not 3.

    This is a historicalish link talking about the idea relating it to South America in 2007.

    This relates it to Greece today.

    And this guy is a good easy read on the broader issue

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Well I’ve long held that ultimately the nations states will eventually be compelled to surrender a portion of their sovereignty to some form of global governance. The only open question is how to hold this global power to democratic accountability, so that ordinary people have some sense of meaningful participation in it.

      Exactly as the medieval landed nobility ultimately gave way to national monarchs, who in turn gave way to democratic parliaments. If you asked the average medieval village dweller about the notion of single centralised power in the land, he would have most likely answered that the local warlord up the road in his castle was bad enough, and he didn’t trust the idea of ‘big kings’. (It’s more or less the same answer most libertarians have yet to move on from…)

      • prism 5.1.1

        The centralised approach can achieve much, pool resources, regulate standards and so on if it wishes, but also go in the other direction. There is a frequent gripe from people who feel out of the loop that they are branch office up against the all-controlling, uninvolved, uninterested, distant ‘head office’.

  6. Rob M 6

    Can this big bruv moron be banned. The “Business Gooooood! State “Baaaaaaad!” binary rhetoric is as tired as the government he supports.

    Who lent them the money you muppet?

    [lprent: He doesn’t usually violate my behaviour guidelines. He responds to any warnings when I think that he has. Despite my frequent (non-moderator) differences of opinion with him, as a moderator I’m not banning anyone for a difference of opinion when they can and do (albeit ineffectually) argue for their point of view. Since this isn’t a democracy, that is a final word. ]

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      I just treat everything big bruv says as a self-parody, because it certainly can’t be taken seriously. He’s like a 10 year old that wants to talk with the adults.

  7. Benjamin B. 7

    Ehrm. Angela Merkel and the people on one line … Are you serious? In my view there’s nothing she’d care less about than the people. Except when there’s a chance to collect a few votes.

  8. ropata 8

    On [2006] exchange rates, … 54 percent of New Zealanders earn an annual income of less than $US12,750. The increasing social inequality … has been developing since the market “reforms’ instituted by the Labour government in the 1980s, which saw a sustained attack on jobs and wages and the privatisation of public assets. Throughout the 1980s, the real value of wages declined, while the share of national wealth accumulated by the propertied elite rapidly expanded.

    This process was extended by the Nationals [sic] in the 1990s, and continues today under the Labour-led government of Helen Clark. Since Clark was elected in 1999, by falsely presenting Labour as a “centre-left’ alternative to the right-wing monetarist economic agenda of the previous period, the wealthy have increased their net worth at a greater rate than at any time during the previous decade when the conservative National Party held office.

    Recent labour productivity figures demonstrate the rise in the rate of exploitation of workers… [article continues]

    See also

    • Quoth the Raven 8.1

      When others were adopting monetarist policy after the failure, the high unemployment and stagflation, of keynesian policies, what was Greece doing?

      Thus, the Greek government did not face any difficulties borrowing from the domestic and international markets in the early 1980s. This allowed the government to continue pursuing its expansionary policies. Moreover, the central bank lacked independence, a factor that Alesina (1988) and Cukierman, et. al., (1992) find to be inversely related to inflation. Even though the Currency Committee was officially abolished in 1982, the government continued to set the broad outlines of monetary and exchange rate policies during the 1980s. This meant that monetary policy was dominated by the need to finance fiscal expansion.

    • prism 8.2

      Good quote ropata and links. Spot on.

    • just saying 8.3

      Very relevant Ropata.

      Maybe in the long run Labour losing the last election will turn out to be for the best as the only way to stop them in their neocon tracks, and make them turn back to the left. With the upcoming challeneges of global warming, and peak oil, having our two main parties running right wing agendas is a collision course for unfixable tragedy.

      Reminds me of when I wrote to Helen clark in her second term about my concerns about Labour’s continued right-wing policies (a polite and heartfelt letter) I heard absolutely nothing for more than a year until the next election campaign, when, she,or someone in her office, sent me the formula reply – along with a big wad of election campaign propaganda.

      Having another term of NACT will be a disaster, but if Labour contines to be national-lite how much better off are we really in the long term? And a right-wing Labour Party makes extreme right-wing policies from NACT seem all the more reasonable.

  9. r0b 9

    Bruv and other right wingers like to blame Greece’s “socialist government” for its crisis. As usual they either don’t understand the issue, or if they do they lie about it. From The Times:

    Where did it all go wrong?

    Greece’s economy has many structural problems dating back decades, but the current crisis was triggered by a spectacular loss of market confidence after the public deficit figures were revised up sharply from 3.7 per cent of GDP to 6 per cent in September, and then up again to 12.7 per cent after the general election in October.

    Looks like the previous Conservative government was fudging the figures. The “Socialists” have only been in government since October. The causes of the crisis are many, and yes part of the mix is generous public sector entitlements. But that’s only part of it:

    What about tax evasion?

    This is another huge problem in Greece, with many families and businesses declaring the minimum earnings to avoid paying tax. About 95 per cent of tax returns are for less than €30,000 a year. Estimates for the annual loss to the Greek exchequer range from €20 billion to €30 billion.

    Businesses avoiding their obligations, and good old fashioned personal greed, which the last Conservative government failed to control. Another factor cited is “the huge military budget”. The Greek crisis has many complex causes, but a “failure of socialism” it is not…

  10. Bored 10

    The New York Times today talked about the stock markets….”Financial market regulators said late Friday that they had not yet determined the cause of the sudden decline in stock prices that occurred on Thursday afternoon, while acknowledging that the sharp drop, which rattled investors worldwide, “is inconsistent with the effective functioning of our capital markets.’

    It would seem that there are too many issues stacking up around the world to give the equity markets confidence..
    * oil prices going through $90 US pb
    * an American Chernobyl type disaster in the Gulf of Mexico
    * a hung parliament in UK which is coincidentally pretty much insolvent
    * Greece going down the tubes with the EEC unable to agree to or stop the rot spreading to Portugal and other points.
    * the markets worldwide chewing through the bail out money (magicked into existence as public debt that cant ever be repaid).
    * massive fraud at Goldman Sachs, major bank bosses donating bail out money tpo themselves as bonuses.
    * diminishing profits from corporates, earnings slumps
    * ongoing cost of the war in the Gulf and Afganistan

    Add that to global warming and peak oil, peak soil, species diminution and investor confidence might soon be at an all time low. All aboard the roller coaster ride ….

    • Quoth the Raven 10.1

      Add that to global warming and peak oil, peak soil, species diminution and investor confidence might soon be at an all time low. All aboard the roller coaster ride .

      The world has always been this way. Things are always in flux. There is always change. There are always problems man has to overcome. I bet every generation thinks things have never been so chaotic and that they sit on some precipice, but they’d be wrong just like people are today.

      • uke 10.1.1

        The last one or two generations of Westerners are in a unique position, I think.

        They are the first with the power to degrade the biosphere to the extent it may be uninhabitable. This power lies not simply in nuclear weaponry and the like, but as simply the side-effects of a lifestyle choice (standard of living) that is now, apparently, an “entitlement”.

        Most dangerous of all are Westerners economic missionary zeal to “develop” the rest of the world (which is apparently “undeveloped”), force them to adopt their own wasteful, energy-hungry, materialistic, alienated-from-their-labour ways.

      • Bored 10.1.2

        So QoR, why all the dismay from the investors if the flux you describe is the norm?

        • Quoth the Raven

          Bored – There have always been periodic crises in our state-capitalist system obviously accompanied by dismay from investors. It’s the view from some that we’re in some unique period on the precipice of this or that catastrophe that I’m criticising. The reality as I was trying to say is that there is always change, flux, problems immense and small to overcome.

          They are the first with the power to degrade the biosphere to the extent it may be uninhabitable. This power lies not simply in nuclear weaponry and the like, but as simply the side-effects of a lifestyle choice (standard of living) that is now, apparently, an “entitlement’.

          This is true to a certain extent. But it’s equally true that humanity has never been at less risk of destruction from natural rather than unnatural causes. It’s also true that we’re not hanging under the Damocles sword of nuclear war as we were only a generation or two ago. It’s also true that we live in one of the most peaceful times in human history. Our power to degrade the biosphere is accompanied by unprecedented understanding of its workings. Though climate change is a great threat one shouldn’t fall into wailing catastrophism. I used to argue strenuously here with climate change deniers I do so less now lest I feed the trolls on both sides.

          • uke

            “Our power to degrade the biosphere is accompanied by unprecedented understanding of its workings.”

            This it true to a certain extent. We are now also aware of deforestation, loss of topsoil and groundwater reserves, peak oil and other resource depletions, overfishing, pollution, loss of biodiversity, etc.

            It is also true that we have perhaps never been so vulnerable to our sense of technological triumphalism, the faith-based approach that “things will work themselves out”, the scientists will find a way.

            Interestingly, in Jared Diamond’s book Collapse, “wailing catastrophism” is not given as one of the major factors causing the decline of societies – a sense of due urgency is not inappropriate.

          • Bored

            Q, catastrophism is not at question here, my original point was merely that investor confidence was going to be very hard hit because of the number of intersecting issues. People who have enough to invest constantly try and seek safe options to retain their wealth, uncertainty just does not do it for them. Thats the real basis of conservatism, the attempt to entrench advantage, to retain what one has, to feel at ease with your known world.

            Interestingly catastrophism really pisses off everybody as we all have some innate need for security and surety over our lifes. Being told that a train is about to come off the tracks, run through your lounge and flatten everything has the normal effect of:
            1. you sitting in your lounge chair in disbelief as the train approaches…
            2. you telling the messanger to get a life….
            3. a train wreck mess to try and survive….

            So lets just sit back and watch the financial crisis and see what unfolds, I am betting investor confidence world wide wont be killed by this event, probably just dented. The other issues I mentioned will do the rest of the panel beating, sort of cumulative damage over time.

  11. Quoth the Raven 11

    Describing politicians as being in battle with the markets, she added: “Like all my other colleagues, I want to win this fight.’

    Approvingly quoting a conservative I see. What a nice piece of mythology it is from Merkel. Some sage words:

    Corporate liberalism functions via a façade of opposition between a purportedly progressive statocracy and a purportedly pro-market plutocracy. The con operates by co-opting potential opponents of the establishment; those who recognise that something’s amiss with the statocratic wing are lured into supporting the plutocratic wing, and vice versa. Whenever the voters grow weary of the plutocracy, they’re offered the alleged alternative of an FDR or JFK; whenever they grow weary of the statocracy, they’re offered the alleged alternative of a Reagan or Thatcher. Perhaps the balance of power shifts slightly toward one side or the other; but the system remains essentially unchanged. (Which explains, for example, why the recent much-trumpeted power shift in Congress has resulted in precious little policy change.)

    Alas, just as the insights of the 19th century were largely lost by the 1920s, so the insights of the 1960s seem to have become largely lost by the 1980s. Probably Reagan indeed played a crucial role in sowing confusion once more, this time by wrapping fascism in libertarian rhetoric just as the Progressives and FDR had wrapped fascism in leftist rhetoric. In any case, many libertarians today (sometimes even professed followers of Rothbard) have gone back to thinking of business as a persecuted minority to be defended against the creeping “socialism’ of the regulatory state, while many on the left (sometimes even professed anarchists, like Noam Chomsky) look to the federal government as a bulwark against so-called “laissez-faire’ and indulge in nostalgia for the New Deal.

    If the left/libertarian coalition of the 19th century, abortively re-attempted in the 1960s, is to be reestablished, as it should be, it is above all an understanding of the nature of corporate liberalism its non-accidental nature, given the incentives inherent in state power that must be revived.

  12. prism 12

    Past posts have good information backgrounding the financial thing. Sovereign debt and Greece Iceland etc. is something I have to study. I think Rob’s post in April on The Standard noted below is going to give lots to think about – check it out (again?). We need to know about this stuff.
    Call your broker…
    By: r0b – Date published: 1:12 pm, April 28th, 2010 – 60 comments
    Categories: International, capitalism – Tags: greece, sovereign debt

    John Key should know but he’s a money surfer I think – riding the top of the wave.
    Treasury should know but they are looking at trends and stats and long-term v short-term – people are to one side as a distraction sort of like the giant aid org that was looking at aid delivery 3-6 months away when the stock of food in the needy country was forecast to be finished in 6 weeks.
    The politicians should know but they consider personal experiences before the need to widen their understanding. They keep thinking of the country as a giant household or giant business (when if a quick view is wanted its a bit of both) – but that’s a truncated view (that’s why they can’t see the elephant in the room). They are busy just keeping the show on the road, patching up the system, providing continuance (whether ineffective or not) and failure will be devastating personally and for their party.
    Not much room for initiative and wider thinking there (such as WB Sutch and Bruce Jesson who didn’t fare well and are now farewelled.)

    [lprent: added link. ]

  13. Ag 13

    Looks like the final victory of communism is just around the corner.

    Which of the tories who trolls The Standard is first for the gulag?

    • Quoth the Raven 13.1

      Only the gulag for them. Such niceties from you I’m surprised.

  14. vto 14

    Oh my giddy aunt me hopes this current meltdown stops. We just had enough. ffs

    Unfortunately until all old debt issues are resolved, in the markets eyes, the matter will continue and linger and rot.

    • Bored 14.1

      Who knows how this will end, all I know is that somebody who did not create the mess will be asked to pick up the bill, current modus operandi here is to give it to the unborn.

  15. freedom 15

    re the 1000 point drop the other day
    it may well have been a data entry error that led to the initial trade’s impact but from that moment on it was silicon doing the damage

    “This was not humans – it was pure computer algorithm trading. —This was basically the 1987 program-trading crash powered by the fastest CPUs money can buy, and points out that these systems do not have social utility and at times like this they are unbelievably destructive.”

    those with a memory may remember the 1000 point drops are the low end of figures that the US Senate was threatened with if they didn’t sign the Bailout. Now old news, just how much has the untraceable and apparently inadequate Bailout fund used?

    ” According to the watchdog overseeing the federal government’s financial bailout program, the full exposure since 2007 amounts to a whopping US$23.7 Trillion dollars,” (NZ$33.16 Trillion)

    quotes from &

  16. Zak Creedo 16

    My ‘gee’ day… time for the bloggers here and their commentariat to come clean on what they think or imagine banking is about..?

    And when they have that down in clear crisp pixels for all to see, time then to tell their comprehension of shadow banking (tho some might prefer to term this shadow financing.

    For whom do these bells toll, folk?:

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