Thursday, October 30, 2008

Greed, financial crisis, declining dollar and anger at the US for getting the world into this mess.

Understanding what's happening with the banking crisis, drop in the stock market, and so forth is beyond the "pay grade" of most of us. Yet, it seems to me that most of it is tied to greed and irresponsible behavior by people on Wall Street, poor judgment by people in Congress and lending institutions, and Americans living beyond their means. The result will be a rude return to reality for all of us in the United States. Whether it causes a return to a Depression Era-type experience or a mild imitation is anyone's guess.

One aspect of the problem will be the impact on the US dollar. It's declining value will force Americans to live within their means, because goods purchased abroad will be more expensive. This article by Paul Craig Roberts lays out the case for a devalued dollar and the frustration and anger other nations are feeling towards the US for getting the world into this mess.
The U.S. government's budget deficit is large and growing, adding hundreds of billions of dollars more to an already large national debt. As investors flee equities into U.S. government bills, the market for U.S. Treasuries will temporarily depend less on foreign governments. Nevertheless, the burden on foreigners and on world savings of having to finance American consumption, the U.S. government's wars and military budget, and the U.S. financial bailout is increasingly resented.

This resentment, combined with the harm done to America's reputation by the financial crisis, has led to numerous calls for a new financial order in which the United States plays a substantially lesser role. "Overcoming the financial crisis" are code words for the rest of the world's intent to overthrow U.S. financial hegemony.

Brazil, Russia, India and China have formed a new group (BRIC) to coordinate their interests at the November financial summit in Washington, D.C.

On Oct. 28, RIA Novosti reported that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin suggested to China that the two countries use their own currencies in their bilateral trade, thus avoiding the use of the dollar. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao replied that strengthening bilateral relations is strategic.

Europe has also served notice that it intends to exert a new leadership role. Four members of the Group of Seven industrial nations, France, Britain, Germany and Italy, used the financial crisis to call for sweeping reforms of the world financial system. Jose Manual Barroso, president of the European Commission, said that a new world financial system is possible only "if Europe has a leadership role."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that the "economic egoism" of America's "unipolar vision of the world" is a "dead-end policy."

China's massive foreign exchange reserves and its strong position in manufacturing have given China the leadership role in Asia. The deputy prime minister of Thailand recently designated the Chinese yuan as "the rightful and anointed convertible currency of the world."

Normally, the Chinese are very circumspect in what they say, but on Oct. 24 Reuters reported that the People's Daily, the official government newspaper, in a front-page commentary accused the United States of plundering "global wealth by exploiting the dollar's dominance." To correct this unacceptable situation, the commentary called for Asian and European countries to "banish the U.S. dollar from their direct trade relations, relying only on their own currencies." And this step, said the commentary, is merely a start in overthrowing dollar dominance.

The Chinese are expressing other thoughts that would get the attention of a less deluded and arrogant American government. Zhou Jiangong, editor of the online publication, recently asked, "Why should China help the U.S. to issue debt without end in the belief that the national credit of the U.S. can expand without limit?"

It strikes me though the countries most angry bear some culpability by abetting our dysfunction or efforts to live beyond our means.

1 comment:

Steven Ertelt said...

All the reason to vote for McCain! See