Excerpt From ‘Debt Generation’ – We Are All Kettled Now

We Are All Kettled Now

30 Mar 09

For anyone who has never been ‘kettled’ it is when the police at a protest suddenly close ranks and refuse to let anyone leave. You suddenly find you are held against your wishes. The police will not explain why, and they won’t allow any exceptions. You suddenly have no control over what is happening, and no discussion is permitted. A decision made by someone you have never seen now exerts complete and total control over your life.

We are all in that position now.

So vast is the debt our government has burdened us with that this one fact will now determine most of the politics of the next decade. Other hopes and desires – the wish for better schools, a better health service, better care for the elderly – will wither in the shadow of the debt repayments. If we are forced to pay back from taxes all the vast sums that have been sucked out of public spending and given to the banks, the country will not recover for a generation.

The economic ‘plans’, forced on us without debate, are all based on the banks returning large parts of the money they have taken from us. This means, whether we like it or not, we all have to hope that the banks make profits as quickly as possible. We have all been ‘kettled’ into having to hope and work for the largest possible growth in world trade and finance. We have to hope that the rich get richer, and quickly. The lords of finance and their servants in politics decided this for us.

There never was any discussion or debate of possible alternatives when the financial crisis began. It was declared, and universally agreed (always a bad sign) that the problem was liquidity, not solvency. That meant the only answer ever proposed was to provide liquidity at all costs. Liquidity being our money to cover the massive losses they had incurred. This, we were told, wasn’t really a cost at all, but ‘an investment’. An investment which would pay back all the loaned, borrowed and printed money long before the debts came due through reinflated levels of growth and asset value.

That was, and is, their only plan. And so absolute is the certainty in the minds of all concerned that none of them can even conceive of looking beyond the closed circle of that logic. No counter-argument is allowed or taken seriously. No warning signs are read as such.

Their so-called ‘free market’ has seized control and locked us in to a course of action in which democratic choice has been foreclosed. The growing realisation that this is what is happening will bring about increased anger. The smug reaction to anger is to label it ‘mindless’. The mindless anger of the ignorant who don’t understand the necessary steps being taken by those who know better. That is the boiled down assumption of all our leaders, all the economic experts and most economic journalists.

The truth is quite different. People like me are angry because exactly the same people who, in 2008, assumed they knew how to run the global economy still assume they, and only they, know what must be done now. And their prescription is as simple as it is arrogant: put it back they way it was.

We are told that the debts accrued by those in charge must be paid by us rather than honoured by them. No debate.
We are told we must get lending back to the old levels. No debate.
We are told we must get the consumer consuming again rather than saving. No debate.
We are told that we must agree and complete the Doha round of global free trade liberalization. No debate.

To be robbed is one thing: to be condescended to by the people who robbed you is another altogether.

That is why many people like me are angry. We are angry because the financial elite are shoving their ideology down our throats. We are angry because we might have wanted to have a say. We are angry because we had different ideas that were never even considered.

Here we are at the point in history when many of us are looking at the imminent threats of climate change and oil scarcity, clearly seeing the dangers of unbridled growth, and yet at this point democratic choice has been kettled. No debate.

And that is why this crisis is no longer just about lack of confidence in the markets: it is now about the legitimacy of our governments. The entire political class has been captured by the same ideology. They all, to one extent or another, believe ‘the market’ is going to save us. No other solutions have even been allowed into the debate.

We shouldn’t waste our time arguing over which party is most to blame. All the parties and the economists and the City boys all agreed, and they still do. In their minds the banks had to be bailed out and their losses made ours. We were taken to war without discussion and on false pretences; the same has happened with this financial crisis. So enough of who is to blame: they all were and are.

They all believe in a system that says we must create demand and then feed it with debt. This necessarily involves increasing demand by the creation of yet more debt. It always crashes and always will. That is how their system works. If we allow it to be the solution, it will create another crash and another. Each time the rich will reap profits on the way up and rape the public purse on the way down. It’s win, win for them and lose, lose for us.

Plus ça change!

Debt Generation – By David Malone