This is going to be a very difficult year. The coronavirus and the return of the credit crisis are two immediate reasons for this.
Last year it was obvious that the financial markets were in crisis again. The reality of our financial situation – for individuals, for businesses and for the nation – has become more vulnerable as the debt situation has got worse. Our national debt has increased beyond all expectation that there could be enough economic growth to be able to manage the payments on this debt. All advanced nations have sunk deep into utterly unsustainable levels of debt. No one believes that this debt load can be managed, that interest payments can be met. The markets have lost the ability to challenge governments and central banks by selling currencies or stocks. Stockmarkets, on which our pensions and unemployment benefits depend, are up only because central banks have been pouring new credit into them in order to prevent them from crashing. These banks have been creating new debt, to function as new money, at an unprecedented rate. The emergency measures have gone on longer and vaster than ever before. Central banks have prevented markets from establishing real values and letting the truth of our situation from emerging. We have avoided recognising how impossible our situation has become. This long emergency intervention by governments and central banks has concealed our situation from us. We have been borrowing from the future. But since we have not achieved any growth, we are unable to repay but have simply been taking from future generations. Our borrowing has funded our present consumption, not gone into useful investment. No new source of energy has emerged. No government, media or population wants to hear this truth. Those in authority understand that their remit is simply to conceal from us the truth of our economic situation.
But we Christians are determined that truth must always be revealed; the suppression of the truth is one reason for the crisis. A reckoning is not only unavoidable but it is good. Christians offer truth: we do so by asking questions of governments and media, and so letting the contradictions in their claims become clear. We do not set out policies or one political approach. We ask questions to all the assertions and assumptions that express the worldview of our leaders and media. We do not try to have the last word on any subject. But we do not let anyone assert their view without challenge. We do not believe that the way things are is the way they must always be. Christians do not silence one another or refuse to allow questions to be asked. There are no forbidden subject areas. We are responsible for calling the mighty to account and for pointing out to our own generation the consequences of its long self-deception.
It is a relief to see our situation with greater honesty, when we recover from our self-deception and the nation begins to recover its sight. Our single greatest deception has been our assumption that economic growth will continue forever, that growth is the norm and that we will soon return to it. There has been no real economic growth for many years. Debt-fuelled ‘growth’ is not real growth. We should consider whether the economy and standard of living we have known are now gone for good. England has slipped into a long Lent, a time of passion, fasting and decline, but it has been undiagnosed, because we have not named it as such. Truth is the only medicine and truth can only emerge through public debate and judgment.
Globalism is the belief that we do not have to work for ourselves to produce what we consume but can give that task to distant populations that are driven by their masters as a slave society, and so that we can benefit from their labour without having to acknowledge their servitude. Their servitude is the result of our willingness to buy from them and export our industries to them without considering the long-term loss this has brought. We have acted as their masters without acknowledging them. We have given up and lost the skills by which we once supported ourselves so made ourselves vulnerable. The consequences are becoming clear now. Globalisation has meant our industries have gone overseas. It has left us without industries and so without skilled work and good wages. The world has turned into a globally-coordinated command economy. One inevitable result of the centralisation and collectivisation of our economy is that there will now be re will be shortages and failures of supply.
The government response to the Coronavirus fear has revealed our social fragility and low morale. There has been no public resistance to these new restrictive powers that are now driving us further into isolation from one another. If we allow our governments to control our life and ability to assemble, we will be unable to talk and debate with one another, to be informed or reassured by one another or decide on any course of collective action.
Governments can’t stop this depression and deflation. All money printing is fundamentally immoral. It’s thievery because it transfers wealth from the holders of money, savers, to the holders of the new money. Quantitative easing is, in the real world, deflationary because it signals to markets that the central banks are so scared of the future that it cannot be trusted to market forces. This feeds the fear and causes people to hoard money they feel is undervalued, thereby exacerbating the cycle.
The problem with financialization, is that it creates no real goods or services. It is nothing but an elaborate skimming of value produced by others, a looters’ paradise that siphons most of the gains into the hands of a few financial puppet-masters.
Globalization’s gains were also sluiced into the hands of the few, while neoliberalism’s propaganda machine spewed the bogus benefits of globalization: cheaper TVs and computers. The nation’s essential industries were sent overseas with one goal and one goal only: maximize profits for corporate insiders, their political lapdogs and the top 5% who own most of the shares.
The pandemic has done nothing but knock down the brightly painted facade, revealing the decayed, rotted shack of reality. Globalization and financialization always served one goal: maximizing the profits of the few, by any means available, at the expense of the many.
The Covid-19 panic is a coup. In this coup the medical industry and pharmaceutical corporations have taken control of government. Their vaccination and tracing projects will are intended to regulate which of us may have access to employment and public life.
This is also a coup by the public sector, directed against the private sector. The public sector no long wishes to acknowledge that it is dependent on; government no longer wishes to acknowledge that it is dependent on the national working population. The parasite is attacking its own host. Governments have divided which the population has been divided into essential workers and non-essential – making the clear their view that government and government employment are essential. They think that they can do without us, place a large proportion of the population on furlough. It is another example of the great inwards-turning of a society that cannot bear the demands of reality, and so which has given up.
But, ‘an ‘economy’ is the most complex integrated man-made organism on the planet with billions of interdependencies. Its complexity is understood by no single human. That’s the beauty of it. Politicians can’t fathom it or understand any part of it. Usually because they’ve never produced anything of value that needed to be marketed and sold. Trying to make adjustments to it will continue to cause unimaginable problems. Leave it alone. Let humans manage their own risk.’
The West is failing for two reasons. It lacks sound money. Unlimited currency means unlimited government, unlimited debt and servitude and eventually limitless collapse. Secondly it has replaced markets with massive central planning and crony socialism. Markets reveal the truth of values. Central planning attempts to repress the truth of values.
The global financial system suffered a new financial heart attack in autumn 2019 when it suddenly turned out that the US govt debt was no longer valid as collateral for a loan, even an overnight loan. The US started to convert this debt into money, which is to abandon their responsibility to the currency and surrender it to hyperinflation. To paraphrase Dmitry Orlov, our governments have taken advantage of the global panic in order to enact authoritarian measures to cover up for the fact that the financial assumptions which have sustained Western living standards have collapsed. The reason why governments have so overreacted with the Covid-19 panic measures is because these have allowed them to conceal the real financial crisis beneath, and so prevented populations from understanding the extent of the collapse and both the responsibility of governments for this collapse and their helplessness. I hope to write a more articulate piece than this, some of it cobbled together from contributions on Zero Hedge, when I come back from farmwork to academic work in the autumn. I don’t expect the situation to be any better or clearer then than now, but it will be a relief to get back to the lectionary.