What is truth?

Taken from Of Two minds blog

The entire economic and political structure is now dependent in one way or another on the continued expansion of financial markets.

The financial markets don’t just dominate the economy–they now control everything. In 1999, the BBC broadcast a 4-part documentary by Adam Curtis, The Mayfair Set ( Episode 1: “Who Pays Wins” 58 minutes), that explored the way f

In effect, politicians now look to the markets for policy guidance, and any market turbulence now causes governments to quickly amend their policies to “rescue” the all-important markets from instability.

This is a global trend that has gathered momentum since the program was broadcast in 1999, as The Global Financial Meltdown of 2008-09 greatly reinforced the dominance of markets.

It’s not just banks that have become too big to fail; the markets themselves are now too influential and big to fail.

Curtis focuses considerable attention on the way in which seemingly “good” financial entities such as pension funds actively enabled the “bad” corporate raiders of the 1980s by purchasing the high-yield junk bonds the raiders used to finance their asset-stripping ventures.

This increasing dependence of “good” entities on players making risky bets and manipulating markets has created perverse incentives to keep the financial bubble-blowing going with government backstops and changing the rules to mask systemic leverage and risk.

The government must prop up markets, not just to insure the cash keeps flowing into political campaign coffers, but to save pension funds and the “wealth effect” that is now the sole driver of “growth” (expanding consumption) other than debt.

To maintain the illusion of growth and rising wealth, the financial markets must continually reach greater extremes: extremes of debt, leverage, obscurity and valuations. These extremes destabilize markets, first beneath the surface and then all too visibly.

The technological advances of the past decade have enabled a host of financial schemes that together have the potential to destabilize the markets globally. Technology enables high-frequency (HFT) traders to only suffer one losing day per year, complex reverse-repo swaps/trades, huge derivative bets and shadow banking, where all the risks generated by these activities can pool up outside the view and control of regulators.

The entire economic and political structure is now dependent in one way or another on the continued expansion of financial markets.

This spells the end of the electoral-political control of the economy, as politicians of all stripes quickly abandon all their ideologies and policies and rush to “save” the markets from any turmoil, because that turmoil could destabilize not just the financial markets but the economy, pensions and ultimately the government’s ability to finance its own profligate borrowing and spending.

This dependence on the markets is pushing central banks and states into ever-more extreme policies, even as the risks of complex swaps and trades is rising beneath the surface.

A case can be made that the technologically-enabled complexity of the shadow-banking markets is now beyond the control of the state or central bank, which leads to a sobering conclusion: the next crisis will not be controllable, and destabilized markets will not be “saved” by tricks such as lowering interest rates to zero and increasing liquidity.

source: http://www.oftwominds.com/blogapr15/markets-control4-15.html

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: