Monday, October 03, 2011

"Goldman Sachs rules the world"

Stock trader Alessio Rastani had a moment of remarkable candor on the BBC last week.

"For most traders we don't really care about having a fixed economy, having a fixed situation, our job is to make money from it. Personally, I've been dreaming of this moment for three years. I go to bed every night and I dream of another recession. When the market crashes... if you know what to do, if you have the right plan set up, you can make a lot of money from this."

"This is not a time right now for wishful thinking that governments are going to sort things out. The governments don't rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world," said Rastani.

He expressed an eager hope that the economy would crash in the next year because it was going to make him very rich. These are the people who will control events. Unless we restore some of the regulations removed by the last four presidents prior to Obama. One good idea would be to place a tiny transaction tax on share trading.

"...a tax of just 0.05 percent (one twentieth of one percent) levied on each stock, bond, derivative or currency transaction would be aimed at financial institutions’ casino-style trading, which helped precipitate the economic crisis. Because these markets are so vast, the tax could raise hundreds of billions of dollars a year globally for cash-strapped governments and could increase development aid."

It might also help limit the large financial speculators who buy thousands of shares for split seconds and then sell them, forcing the markets quickly up or down in massive computer driven gyrations. Those gyrations are making traders rich because they earn fees for every transaction. These traders profit from a panicked market. They profit from inadequate public information, from their own prior information or inside information, from asymmetries of information and from broad insecurities and public worries.

Barbara Ehrenreich has a very good piece in the Washington Post. How strange it is to live in a country where most people are hurting, worried and living at their limits but the rich are treated like a special protected class. It's worth reading and sharing.

"...consider Daphne Guinness, profiled at length in this past week’s New Yorker, who is apparently best known for wearing clothes, which she draws from a wardrobe of 2,500 garments, 450 pairs of shoes and 200 handbags. On the day she was interviewed, she wore a high-collared, presumably bespoke shirt by uber-designer Alexander McQueen, “a pave diamond brooch,” silver sheaths on two of her fingers and “custom-made sparkly silver Mary Janes, with a three inch platform under the toe” — not the heel, the toe. Well, to each her own, but she might as well walk around Manhattan wearing a sign saying “My husband stole your pension.”" The super rich are flaunting again because they've been rebranded by the Republicans as "Job Creators"––without creating any jobs. Their money isn't invested in factories or employees but luxury goods.

But anyone or any party that takes the side of the poor against the rich or the powerless many against the powerful few will find he has powerful enemies. Money puts people in office and guess where the money is. Meanwhile we have a large powerful political and media apparatus devoted to the aid and protection of the very rich: the Republican Party, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and the entire Murdoch operation, and most of talk radio.

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