Sunday, August 26, 2007

You know, when I was chiding Lott...

...with the mantra "the market is always right," because that is, after all, the main idea behind his anarchic "free market economic" theory, we all knew that was a bunch of bull. Because, duh, the market is made up of a very high percentage of ignorant dolts who are only interested in "instant, total gratification" and couldn't care less about the long-term effects of their behavior or economic decisions or the behavior and decisions of the companies they buy and buy from.

I found an interesting article today that explains the fallacy of the market always being right. Here are a few tidbits from that article:

Impending Economic Crisis: The Myth that Markets Get It Right and Operate Efficiently
by Stephen Lendman Global Research, August 24, 2007

...Economist Paul Krugman is one of the latest with his views expressed in an August 16 New York Times op ed piece titled "Workouts, Not Bailouts." He began by debunking Wall Streeter Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's ludicrous April claim that the housing market was "at or near the bottom" followed by his equally absurd August view that subprime mortgages were "largely contained." Krugman's response: "the time for denial is past....housing starts and applications for building permits have fallen to their lowest levels in a decade, showing that home construction is still in free fall....home prices are still way too high (at 70% above their long-term trend values according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and) the housing slump (will be around) for years, not months" with all those empty unbought homes needing hard to find buyers to fill them...

Yikes. That makes my admittedly rough trendline look like extreme optimism.

...Economist Hyman Minsky was mostly ignored while he lived, but his star may be rising 11 years after his death in 1996. Some described him as a radical Keynesian based on the theories of economist John Maynard Keynes who taught economies operate best when mixed. He believed state and private sectors both play important roles with government stepping in to stimulate or constrain economic activity whenever private sector forces aren't able to do it best alone...he constructed a "financial instability hypothesis" building on the work of Keynes' "General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money." He provided a framework for distinguishing between stabilizing and destabilizing free market debt structures he summarized as follows: "Three distinct income-debt relations for economic units....labeled as hedge, speculative and Ponzi finance, can be identified..."

Oops - isn't that what has got our economy in trouble right now?

...In the end, this scandal may be more far-reaching than earlier ones because so many underwriters and other firms are part of the fraud or are seeking to profit from it. At this point, it's hard separating villains from victims as, in some cases, they may be one in the same. They're all involved in dispersing up to trillions of dollars of risks through the derivative alchemy of highly complex, hard to value, packages of mostly subprime CDO and various other type debt instruments that may even end up in so-called safe money market funds unbeknownst to their unsuspecting owners.

Before this scandal ends, they'll be plenty of pain to go around, but as always, small investors and low income subprime and other mortgage homeowners will be hurt most. Krugman says this is "a clear case for government intervention," but it won't be the kind he wants. He cites a "serious market failure (needing fixing to) help (as many as) hundreds of thousands" of Americans who otherwise may lose their homes and/or financial nest eggs. Faced with this problem, "The federal government shouldn't be providing bailouts, (it should) arrange workouts....we've done (it) before (and it worked) - for third-world countries, not for US citizens." It helped both debtors escape default and creditors get back most of their money.

By providing huge cash infusions to ease credit and reignite "animal spirits," the Fed and other central banks showed they aren't listening. It proves what Ralph Nader said in his August 19 Countercurrents article called "Corporate Capitalists: Government Comes To The Rescue" that's also on CounterPunch titled "Greed and Folly on Wall Street." With "corporate capitalists' knees" a bit shaky, Nader recalled what his father once explained years ago when he asked and then told his children: "Why will capitalism always survive? Because socialism will always be used to save it." Put another way, the American business ethic has always been socialism for the rich, and, sink or swim, free market capitalism for the rest of us...

Think your already badly mis-spent tax dollars aren't going to go to line the pockets of already wealthy CEOs? Of course it is, class. There never was any doubt, now was there?

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