Monday, January 8, 2018

Global Financial Crisis - An opportunity, or a threat?

When those responsible for global financial policies say they want to avoid another global financial crisis, I do not believe them because a crisis suits both private capitalists and state capitalists (eg the Chinese). It gives them the opportunity to get "assets" such as ports (eg Piraeus) and other utilities at a low price, creates the legitimacy to reduce labour costs, dismiss workers and make their employment contracts more flexible and, more generally, allows them to prescribe and apply austerity policies.

Another reason why politicians were not really dissatisfied with earlier global financial crises that have occurred since the sixties of the twentieth century is that they created the opportunity to maintain the military supremacy of the United States. In each international crisis of the dollar the countries have taken the deliberate political decision to continue supporting the global financial system based on the dollar, thus financing the military costs of the US, or have been forced to support it since there was no alternative.

Do the euro and renmimbi threaten the survival of the global financial system based on the dollar? No. The European Union continues to support the dollar-based system, as it continues to support NATO, and China may say that it favours a larger role for SDR, but that is not a threat to the current system, nor is the incorporation of renmimbi in the SDR basket a threat.

Will the current global financial system based on the dollar be with us forever? Here we have the famous saying, I think (but I'm not sure), of a well-known Dutch central banker, Jelle Zijlstra: 'When we had a crisis of the pound sterling as the key currency of the IMS, we were able to move towards the adoption of the dollar. But, where can we go when there is a crisis of the US dollar? To the moon?'

However, I still believe in the possibility of transforming the current global financial system into a better system, eg by adopting an updated version of Keynes' proposal of an international clearing agency (see Jane D'Arista's upcoming book "All Fall Down: Debt, Deregulation and Financial Crises", and Jan Kregel's A Blueprint for Reform of the International Monetary System (2)).

Why do I believe that? Because at a certain moment it will be in the interest of those responsible for global financial policies to reform the system.

So far the poor have suffered from global or regional financial crises, while the rich have benefited from them. But that does not mean it will always be like that. Climate change is now seen by the rich as a threat.

When will global financial crisis be seen by global financial policymakers (businesses, central banks and ministries of finance) as a threat rather than an opportunity?

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