Stimulate The Economy, Not Goldman Sachs.


Abstract: Beyond the debate about the stimulus in the USA, the real question is:"Who is the boss?" What is the best method of governance? Can the economy do better with a measure of public thinking? A bit of public planning, for the vision thing, the French way, or only just the entrepreneur-hero, a la Ayn Rand? Rand is found in this essay to be naive, even self contradictory, since, from her own exalted definition, her ultimate role model ought to be Joseph Stalin, precisely who she escaped with her body… but, I would propose, not her mind.

Moreover Rand’s entrepreneur-hero has been swallowed, as Gold Man Sacks. Time for a re-think.


Recent US GDP numbers show that the slide of the USA into a clear and present economic disaster has stopped, no doubt thanks to Obama’s rather small stimulus (small, once one has considered the cuts in states’ spending). The idea of that Obama stimulus was, indeed, to stop the slide into the abyss. But the idea was never to learn to climb out, of the abyss. As Paul Krugman points out, "if we take 3rd quarter growth to be more or less equivalent to average Clinton-era growth, even after 8 years of growth at that rate we’d only expect unemployment to have fallen from the current 9.8% to a still uncomfortably high 6.3%. It would take us around a decade to reach more or less full employment […] that’s well into President Palin’s second term."

The USA is controlled by abyssal, not to say abysmal, critters: they like it down there, in the dark, obscurely financing their dark politicians, somberly advancing their entangled "derivative" plots and variously related conspiracies.

Its leaders want to think of the USA as an Ayn Rand society, where the entrepreneur is supposed to create all that be. Ayn Rand, a philosopher popular in the USA, was an ersatz of Nietzsche rendered innocuous enough for usage by the Chamber of Commerce (she has enthusiastic followers, such as Alan Greenspan, the ex Fed chief, full of bubbles in the shallows of his mind).

One difficulty of the Ayn Rand vision is that without capital, the entrepreneur is nothing, because he cannot do anything. He is at best an engine, without fuel. Then the entrepreneur has to meekly pray on his knees that he will be noticed by his one and only one jealous, greedy and unpredictable God, the Big Banker, who is Too-Big-To-Fail, and Goldman Sachs is its prophet,

Peace be Upon Them. But of course Big Banker does not need the entrepreneur anymore: he can call the White House and the Fed, and bark out orders to manipulate both the markets, and the capital he disposes of, which, as it turned out, is all the capital there is.

As Ayn Rand put it:"I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows."

Rand conveniently overlooked the fact that the Big Bankers would end up crushing everybody and everything with the supremacy of their own selfish reason. Rand should have known better. Of her real name Alisa Rosenbaum, Rand had fled Stalin. Stalin started his career by stealing banks at the head of an extremely heavily armed gang (the money fed the Bolshevik party). Stalin ended up being the world’s largest banker, since he controlled all the capital of the Soviet Union, all by himself.

According to Rand, the essence of her philosophy, which she somewhat deviously called "objectivism" is "the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." Stalin fit that definition perfectly.

Since Rand held that the only moral social system is "laissez-faire capitalism", this ought to be a wake-up call for those that consider that Rand makes sense, and, or, that it is moral to be opposed to democratic government… which is what they are doing when they claim that one should let the Big Bankers laissez-faire whatever they want with capital… because, as it turns out, Big Bankers control all and any capital. Democracy has fallen into an abyss dug by the Big Banker as "a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life".

To climb out of the Big Banker abyss, the US government, supposedly by the People, and for the People, should keep the economy from falling back into the pattern of a few unelected, incompetent Big Bankers taking all the decisions, enjoying all the profits, suffering none of the consequences, and being replenished by taxpayers’ money each time they suffer a loss (so that they can keep making campaign contributions and pay for the politicians’ "talent", as soon as the later stop "serving" the nation, and start splurging for themselves.) Since said Big Bankers take all the decisions, and their servants in Washington just implement them, no change has happened that Big Bankers could not believe in.

The debate about the principle and interest of a stimulus is a debate about central planning by elected public officials, versus private development planned by Goldman Sachs, for Goldman Sachs, and for those who pull Goldman Sachs’ strings. (Here "Goldman Sachs" is an all too real euphemism for politically connected individuals who their lackeys in government allow to control and create the nation’s capital.)

France, with its three trillion dollar GDP, has resisted the crisis better than any other large economy. Not by accident. The French socioeconomic model has become very different from that of the present day USA: the short term French stimulus was augmented by a medium term, and then a long term stimulus. (The short term stimulus is publicly financed, longer term ones are increasingly public-private partnerships, where the government’s role is to facilitate private investment in projects that elected officials, and other democratic institutions, plus the People in general, view as of public interest. An example of long term stimulus are the Greater Paris plan, with a giant, fast, automatic 24/7 subway, supposed to break ground in 2012, or various, and many very high speed rail, or nuclear plants, or investment in various physical plants, etc. France will finance some by a National Emprunt.)

Now, of course, France is not on the radar of the officials of the USA; it is the bad example, better forgotten as totally irrelevant (lest it be reclaimed by the American populace).

So GDP grew over a quarter at a 3.5% annual rate, no doubt mightily helped by the financial sector. But GDP Growth is relative to population growth: if the later increases fast, the former needs to grow just as fast, just to stay still. The population of the USA is still skyrocketing: it’s now 307 million, it was just 300 million two years ago (source: CIA). So the GDP number, in the case of the USA, ought to be replaced by the GDP per person.

A lot of the GDP growth in the USA having to do with financial growth (which means nothing to those who don’t get financial bonuses, 99.995% of the population), how is that sort of "growth" to be distinguished from the metastatic growth of anthropologically useless financial "derivatives"? I want to know: "Collaterized Debt Obligations Squared", anybody? Of course no one knows what a "Collaterized Debt Obligation" is, and, a fortiori, a CDO of a CDO, which is what a "CDO Squared" is. Rest assured: it can be way worse: Big bankers have invented "CDO Cubes", the CDO of the CDO of the CDO. The Big Banker is a big hero, and you are a Big Zero. Keep on voting for your dark politicians.

"CDO Squareds" and various even more grotesque "derivatives", that is a lot of what the USA produces nowadays. Rest reassured: it produces increasingly less of everything else. Only American style financiers can buy those "[products" and "financial innovations" from American style financiers, and they have no collateral (Why? Because the total market of derivatives being 800 trillions, 40 times world GDP, no real collateral for these financial notions is imaginable).

Because the best and brightest have been detoured towards organized finance, there has been increasingly precious little best and brightest for any other activity, thus the expertise of the USA in non-finance has faltered. The miserable nightmare called the "Dreamliner" illustrates this best.

What an example indeed. Plane making is a master economic activity, because it leads thousands of the most high tech subcontracting technologies, from energy, to material science, to software or the most sophisticated electronics. The democratic allies won the war against Hitler by bombing his mad kingdom to the point that one million soldiers were manning anti aircraft guns, and still all the Nazi industry had to go underground, or hide in small units in the forest, and, or be destroyed (which it mostly was). In Japan, the US Army ran out of objectives to bomb. Boeing produced thousands of superb bombers, during that war, so mighty and fast, they could fly over Japan without escort. Fast forward 65 years: financiers have done what the fascists could not do, they have conquered Boeing, and hold it captive in Chicago.

To make planes, a company such as Boeing now contracts with the entire planet, especially with Japan and Europe, where the know-how of the real world is (remember, the USA specializes in the "derivative" world).

Boeing wings come from Japan. Huge parts of the 787 aircraft’s body arrive from Italy. Britain delivers engines, and China contributes rudders. France is producing the (carbon fiber) landing gear, doors, glass cockpit, and overall design software ("Catia"). It’s estimated that close to 70 percent of the 787 "Dreamliner" is a dream built outside the United States. That means fewer than 1000 jobs in Puget Sound to assemble the new jetliner (Boeing used to be based in Seattle).

Clearly the "Dreamliner" has become a nightmare for US workers. And it should be a nightmare for prudent and patriotic Americans: do they really want to depend upon the French for airframes in the near future? (Of course depending upon the French would be like depending upon the mother country, it is not a problem; but the USA has only one mother, and depending upon other countries than France, could be a strategic disaster; France knows that there are strategic industries, and acts accordingly.)

Instead of the real world, the USA is becoming expert at the Goldman Sachs world. That American world has become derivative, instead of integral (this is an insider joke for those who know rudiments of calculus, as a few Americans may still do outside of Wall Street).

To insist that private individuals, unelected and incompetent, known as the Big Bankers, who, like God, are too "big to fail", will solve all the problems of the USA, as the present US government persists to believe, requires, first of all, to suspend a healthy sense of reality, and then to leave the US interest rates so low for so long that they will discourage the dozen of millions of would be savers out there in the USA. Then who is supposed to save to finance the USA? The Chinese? How patriotic is such as plot? Why does the USA thinks China is propping up the USA? Because China, differently, from Ayn Rand, is intensely altruistic? Or is it because China has a plan? What would be more normal, for China to have a plan about what to do with the USA, for a country that makes detailed economic and social plans, all the time, and stick to them? Is China crafty like a fox, while the USA is disorganized like a chicken?

If the organization of the economy, and society of the USA, sounds like a mess, it is because it is one: a few individuals, notoriously incompetent, unelected, all no doubt laureates of the Nobel Prize in Greed, for their impudence while robbing the planet, are driving the "changes they can believe in", or rather the lack thereof. The Big Bankers are the best example of this species. But they are not the only one. A good example is the health care debate, where "progress" could happen only if profiteers were promised they would profit some more (so this is the only aspect of health care "improvement" one can be sure of, and polls show that the American People is wise to that, hence the low popularity of the proposed Obamacare, which will force all Americans to fork money over to private insurers, if a "public option" does not pass.)

It is certain that the USA needs to change development models, from hoping that private initiative, and greed, will be enough to organize the entire society, to a touch of central planning, and public empathy, helping the private sector to get focused as needed.

Public planning, and public socio-economic engineering are not un-American. It used to be the case, say under Teddy Roosevelt (who broke the firms that were too "big to fail"), or Franklin Roosevelt (who prevented the banks from playing Wall Street with the public’s money, something reverted by Clinton, Summers and Geithner), or even under republican president Eisenhower (the Interstate freeway system of the USA was a government program, that is a stimulus program, apparently inspired by the earlier German one; in France, "freeways" were developed instead by the private sector, encouraged by the state, and so are not "free"). Of course Johnson created Medicare, etc. That was the good old USA, not in any sense very different from, say, hmm, the French republic. Some of what plutocratic propaganda nowadays views as "European" welfare was actually implemented in the USA first.

If the People of the USA, and its elected representatives, regained control of economic planning and capital, economic growth could be torn away from the casino in the sky of Wall Street, and its unregulated "derivatives", and economic growth could be instead concentrated where the People and the country needs it, in the real world, instead of the derivative world.

Such a stimulation of the real economy would also allow to bring interest rates up, since they are presently exaggeratedly low. Non-existent interest rates for saving accounts punishes savers, aka average Americans, and especially retirees, while punishing the prospects of the workers. Near zero interest rates also risk the danger of a run on the dollar. A run on the dollar is an increasing risk, as the USA is increasingly losing its industrial edge, meaning that the economy of the USA has ever fewer added value goods to sell as the dollar goes down, thus preventing an automatic stabilization of the currency (as foreigners would purchase American goods, which they cannot do, if such do not exist).

As it is, the economic system of the USA has socialism, and even social welfare, for the biggest and the ugliest, those who are free to create and dispose of the capital of the entire nation (not to say the world). That would not be Ayn Rand’s proverbial entrepreneurs, creators armed with visions, as she naively hoped, in another age, but the Big Ugly Bad Bankers, armed with all the world capital, which they just stole, before losing it all, and then stealing it all over again, drunk on greed.

When the Big Ugly Bad Bankers lose it all, the US government grabs, from average Americans, from taxes and borrowing in their name from other nations, all the capital that the ex-capitalists just lost, and reinstates them precipitously in their capitalist role, same as they had before. It’s communism for capitalists, and exploitation for everybody else, and everything else, and, first of all, for the future, including that of the entire planet.

At least Stalin had one good excuse: he knew the Soviet Union would be, within a decade or two, the object of an exterminating attack. So he mobilized all its capital, and his associates and victims with and below him, knew this analysis was cogent enough, with stakes high enough, so they let him get away with it. Notice too that Stalin’s fundamental emotional drive could be viewed as altruistic: saving the Soviet Union. Today’s Gold Men sack everybody for no reason in particular, except that they own the world. Always had, always will. Starting with the White House, and its dark pursuits.

As Meyer Rothschild (a made up name from "Red Shield"), creator of the fractional reserve central banking system put it:"Let me control the money of a nation and I care not who makes its laws." But then what? At least the bandit Stalin or his colleagues, such as Lenin or Trotsky, had higher purposes. But the greedy financiers have none beyond financial greed. When they, and only they, drive the investment policy of a nation, financial greed is all there is in that nation’s future, and that is not enough, as the USA will find, soon enough.

Patrice Ayme

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