by Marvin Ramirez
(We made a mistake in last week edition. Instead of publishing this second part of the “government “shutdown and the debt default” part 2, we printed another story. We apologize for the inconvenience. Here goes the correct article. Thank you for reading El Reportero).
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Much of what we read, watch ad hear in the mainstream media about the issues like the shutdown and the debt default, is what the so-called experts, and friends of Wall Street. Their comments are geared to make us believe that everything is OK. The following article, authored by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, brings us the perspective we don’t get from the mainstream media. Due to its length, it will be published in two parts. This is Part 2.
The speculative endgame: the government “shutdown” and “debt default”, a multibillion bonanza for Wall Street
by Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Collapse of the Dollar?
Upward and downward movements of the US dollar in recent years have little do with normal market forces as claimed by the tenets of neoclassical economics.
Both JP Morgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon and Deutsche Bank’s CEO Anshu Jain’s assertions provide a distorted understanding of the functioning of the US dollar market. The speculators want to convince us that the dollar will collapse as part of a normal market mechanism, without acknowledging that the “too big to fail” banks have the ability to trigger a decline in the US dollar which in a sense obviates the functioning of the normal market.
Wall Street has indeed the ability to “short” the greenback with a view to depressing its value. It has also has the ability through derivative trade of pushing the US dollar up. These up and down movements of the greenback are, so to speak, the “cannon feed” of financial warfare. Push the US dollar up and speculate on the upturn, push it down and speculate on the downturn.
It is impossible to assess the future movement of the US dollar by solely focusing on the interplay of “normal market” forces in response to the US public debt crisis.
While an assessment based on “normal market” forces indelibly points to structural weaknesses in the US dollar as a reserve currency, it does not follow that a weakened US dollar will necessarily decline in a Forex market which is routinely subject to speculative manipulation.
Moreover, it is worth noting that the national currencies of several heavily indebted developing countries have increased in value in relation to the US dollar, largely as a result of the manipulation of the foreign exchange markets. Why would the national currencies of countries literally crippled by foreign debt go up against the US dollar?
The Institutional Speculator
JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank America, Citi-Group, Deutsche Bank et al: the strategy of the institutional speculators is to sit on their “inside information” and create uncertainty through heavily biased news reports, which are in turn used by individual stock brokers to advise their individual clients on “secure investments”. And that is how people across America have lost their savings.
It should be emphasized that these major financial actors not only control the media, they also control the debt rating agencies such as Moody’s and Standard and Poor.
According to the mainstay of neoclassical economics, speculative trade reflects the “normal” movement of markets.
An absurd proposition. Since the de facto repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and the adoption of the Financial Services Modernization Act in 1999, market manipulation tends to completely overshadow the “laws of the market”, leading to a highly unstable multi-trillion dollar derivative debt, which inevitably has a bearing on the current impasse on Capitol Hill. This understanding is now acknowledged by sectors of mainstream financial analysis. There is no such thing as “normal market movements”.
The outcome of the government shutdown on financial markets cannot be narrowly predicted by applying conventional macro-economic analysis, which excludes outright the role of market manipulation and derivative trade.
The outcome of the government shutdown on major markets does not hinge upon “normal market forces” and their impacts on prices, interest rates and exchange rates. What has to be addressed is the complex interplay of “normal market forces” with a gamut of sophisticated instruments of market manipulation. The latter consist of an interplay of large scale speculative operations undertaken by the most powerful and corrupt financial institutions, with the intent to distorting “normal” market forces.
It is worth mentioning that immediately following the adoption of the Financial Services Modernization Act in 1999, the US Congress adopted the Commodity Futures Modernization Act CALENDAR from page 4 2000 (CFMA) which essentially “exempted commodity futures trading from regulatory oversight.”
Four major Wall Street financial institutions account for more than 90 percent of the so-called derivative exposure: J.P. Morgan Chase, Citi-Group, Bank America, and Goldman Sachs. These major banks exert a pervasive influence on the conduct of monetary policy, including the debate within the US Congress on the debt ceiling. They are also among the World’s largest speculators.
What is the speculative endgame behind the shutdown and debt default saga?
An aura of uncertainty prevails. People across America are impoverished as a result of the curtailment of “entitlements”, mass protest and civil unrest could erupt. Homeland Security (DHS) is the process of militarizing domestic law enforcement. In a bitter irony, each and all of these economic and social events including political statements and decisions in the US Congress concerning the debt ceiling, the evaluations of the rating agencies, etc. create opportunities for the speculator. Major speculative operations –feeding on inside information and deception– are likely take place routinely over the next few months as the fiscal and debt default crisis unfolds.
What is diabolical in this process is that major banking conglomerates will not hesitate to destabilize stock, commodity and foreign exchange markets if it serves their interests, namely as a means to appropriate speculative gains resulting from a situation of turmoil and economic crisis, with no concern for the social plight of millions of Americans.
One solution –which is unlikely to be adopted unless there is a major power shift in American politics– would be to cancel the derivative debt altogether and freeze all derivative transactions on major markets. This would certainly help to tame the speculative onslaught.
The manipulation through derivative trade of the markets for basic food staples is particularly pernicious because it potentially creates hunger. It has a direct bearing on the livelihood of millions of people.
As we recall, “the price of food and other commodities began rising precipitately [in 2006], … Millions were cast below the poverty line and food riots erupted across the developing world, from Haiti to Mozambique.”
According to Indian economist Dr. Jayati Ghosh: “It is now quite widely acknowledged that financial speculation was the major factor behind the sharp price rise of many primary commodities, including agricultural items over the past year … Even recent research from the World Bank (Bafis and Haniotis 2010) recognizes the role played by the “financialisation of commodities” in the price surges and declines, and notes that price variability has overwhelmed price trends for important commodities.”
(Quoted in Speculation in Agricultural Commodities: Driving up the Price of Food Worldwide and plunging Millions into Hunger By Edward Miller, October 05, 2011)
The artificial hikes in the price of crude oil, which are also the result of market manipulation, have a pervasive impact on costs of production and transportation Worldwide, which in turn contribute to spearheading thousands of small and medium sized enterprises into bankruptcy.
Big Oil including BP as well Goldman Sachs exert a pervasive impact on the oil and energy markets.
The global economic crisis is a carefully engineered.
The end result of financial warfare is the appropriation of money wealth through speculative trade including the confiscation of savings, the outright appropriation of real economy assets as well as the destabilization of the institutions of the Federal State through the adoption of sweeping austerity measures.
The speculative onslaught led by Wall Street is not only impoverishing the American people, the entire World population is affected.
Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal and Editor of the globalresearch.ca website.
He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism”(2005).
His most recent book is entitled Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011).
He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.