In a sleepy European holiday resort town in a depressed economy and therefore no visitors, there is great excitement when a wealthy Russian guest appears in the local hotel reception, announces that he intends to stay for an extended period and places a €100 note on the counter as surety while he demands to be shown the available rooms.which leads us to The Future of Global Finance by liaquat ahamed:
While he is being shown the room, the hotelier takes the €100 note round to his butcher, who is pressing for payment. The butcher in turn pays his wholesaler who, in turn, pays his farmer supplier.
The farmer takes the note round to his favourite “good time girl” to whom he owes €100 for services rendered. She, in turn, rushes round to the hotel to settle her bill for rooms provided on credit.
In the meantime, the Russian returns to the lobby, announces that no rooms are satisfactory, takes back his €100 note and leaves, never to be seen again.
No new money has been introduced into the local economy, but everyone’s debts have been settled.
It has long been recognized that the global financial structure — built as it is around the dollar as the world’s reserve currency — has a fundamental design flaw that makes it inherently unstable. The problem was first identified back in the early 1960s by the Belgian-American economist Robert Triffin, in “Gold and the Dollar Crisis.” Writing about Europe’s accumulation of dollars, he argued that the system carried the seeds of its own destruction. Foreigners could acquire dollars only if the United States ran current account deficits — that is, spent more than it earned. But lending money to someone who lives beyond his means has obvious dangers, and the same is true of countries. Thus, the American deficits necessary to supply dollars to the world for international transactions simultaneously undermined confidence in the currency. It was only a matter of time, Triffin predicted, before the system would be hit by a crisis...note this isn't about the crisis just past so much as it is the perpetuation of a system -- prone to boom and bust -- requiring ever greater
Britain fought a series of wars with France for a century and a quarter. France was a far larger and wealthier foe - the strongest power on the continent. The conflicts repeatedly left France financially exhausted and bankrupt. Britain's debts mounted astronomically as we have seen, but Britain went from one peak of economic and financial strength to ever higher peaks after each conflict. The secret financial weapon was public credit and the Bank of England which managed the debt.now, not everyone was happy, but it's worked more or less over the centuries and, depending on how you're counting, we're apparently on version 3.0 (BW2 edition) of central bank mediated finance. yet while obama seems unable to, as schama puts it, "make – as American history yearns for him to do – money moral again," perhaps mead is on to something when he concludes that...
A million pounds were borrowed in 1692 to fight the French. By the time Louis XIV died, the debt was over 50£ million. The War of the Austrian Succession pushed the debt to 140£ million. It was almost 250£ million by the end of the wars that included the American Revolution, and 800£ million by the time Napoleon was safely ensconced on St. Helena. These were HUGE sums. They have been calculated as 222% of GDP after the American Revolution, and 268% of GDP at their peak in 1822.
Mead explains how the Bank helped finance these wars. It sold government bonds that became assets in private hands and facilitated the development of the financial system that aided commerce. Influential people came to rely on government bonds and Bank notes and Bank shares for income and liquid wealth. The nation's civil and business leaders thus quickly had a stake in the success of the new monarch, William III, who had recently chased James II from the throne. "Government debt, historically a source of weakness, had been transformed into an instrument of strength." Alexander Hamilton copied the English financial system, and the young United States enjoyed similar financial and economic success.
Lula is right: the global crisis emerged from a system built, with all its many flaws, by blue-eyed palefaces. But if countries like Brazil can stick with their own versions of Dutch finance, the future of the system will increasingly be shaped by people who look more like Lula—and the palefaces are going to have to run hard to keep up.afterall, as lula sez, "when my presidency ends, I will go back to my home industrial city town, 800 meters from my local trade union that projected me my political life. And if I fail, when I go back to my hometown, it's going to take another century for another worker, another member of the working class to reach the presidency, because they're going to say that the workers do not have the competency to run a country."
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