Monday, October 1, 2012

Debt's Revelations

As OWS evolves it brings the population’s awareness of the corporate death grip on society along with it. Currently a cluster of working groups are considering all the consequences of debt. 

So, from the new Debt Resisters' Manual, the latest issue of Tidal magazine, I note two things of interest: the connection to climate change, and, plain old greed.

In the current issue of Tidal,David Graeber describes debt as, "promises of future productivity." Debt even affects the weather!


...(paying off debt brings) the burden of having to work harder , while at the same time, consuming more energy, eroding the earth's ecosystems, and ultimately accelerating catastrophic climate change at just the moment we desperately need some way to reverse it. Seen in this light, a debt cancellation might be the last chance we have to save the planet.

Debt cancellation? Seems dramatic. Wouldn't our whole system subsequently freeze from a lack of trust? Wouldn't creditors expect debts to be only as good as the next whim of government mercy? In normal times, maybe. The bank on the corner (not all) has changed from an entity which serves debt to one which actively encourages it. The general population must be in debt for the system to function in the global marketplace. 

Behind the curtain there's now a mega financial institution which consolidates varieties of debt into negotiable instruments which are held by other global banks--not answerable to any national government. Such transactions come with fees and a profit for the institution exporting the package of debt and an expectation of interest gain from the receiving entity. It's become more exotic because Wall Street adapted a modest system to estimate when such transactions would be repaid and applied it to these newer, opaque objects. You could buy a financial instrument, a wager, really, but never be sure what was in it or where it originated. 

Video blogger Jive Dadson has a homey way of explaining these transactions. Listen especially to what he says about "models" as a root cause of the fix we're in. 


This two-headed hydra describes our financial life. (1) A consumerism gone wild and (2) a development of global capital markets requiring high volume of trading for viability. The former (1), by comparison, is the amateur in the room since enticements by the financial industry to the average citizen are applied with startling zeal; the industry's ingenuity to titillate our dissatisfaction with product fulfillment is remarkable--since nobody can afford all this junk credit is needed to pay for the stuff  Those credit accounts are bundled and traded; with every handling comes a fee and more money made.

Which brings me to the models/programs used by the financial analysts to squeeze every dime out of these transactions. True, everyone is in new territory and the chosen models can't keep up with the data in real time but what keeps propelling these personalities forward in ever riskier applications? 

Greed. It doesn't get more complicated than that. 


1 comment:

  1. Wow-should have known better than to pay off my student loan. Why bother-it's only money that the government could use to pay for Food Stamps or women with kids but no fathers. Comes to that, why pay taxes? The money only ends up in government hands anyway?