As Paul Krugman’s op-ed piece in today’s New York Times points out, Ireland had a true economic miracle, but over time this “miracle” gave way to a housing frenzy fed by the banks and speculative real estate developers. As the economy prospered they fed on this prosperity and worked together to create a massive housing bubble. When the bubble burst, the country was thrust into economic ruin and is now facing deep austerity prospects that will hurt everyone except the bankers who are international and comfortably insulated from assuming losses or any other form of responsibility for the social violence they have happily wrought. The situation in Ireland mirrors that of the United States and many other nations.
This is how it happens. In stable economies banks are rather boring players on the economic stage. They exist to keep people’s money relatively safe and to lend money in a regulated manner to create and maintain prosperity. The rules of lending need to be regulated to protect all the savers who place their hard-earned cash to the banks in trust. Savers tend not to want to have their money played by a group of gamblers who game the table and stack everything in favor of themselves.
Thus the clever bankers used the nation’s prosperity to express their repressed greed. But here’s the important part. As they made themselves grotesquely rich, they used a very small part of their money to buy their government. Politicians come cheap and they are more than happy to become whores for the super-rich friends. Thus the financial sectors own the governments of the United States and Ireland and most other places that experienced a big housing bubble from which they made their trillions. Greed and wealth made them extremely powerful.
Because they are, in essence, the government itself, they enforce the laws in ways that can only favor them and hurt everyone else. They create the policy that keeps them perfectly secure from criminal or civil prosecution, that maintains gratuitously low tax rates for the ultra wealthy and makes sure that what was the middle class pays for their continued fiscal vulgarities through painful austerity measures that affect the super-rich not in the slightest.
In this way they create a two class society. The middle class is hollowed out and transformed into the upper Lower Class and the wealthy become much richer, even as the local economies collapse into penury. The ultra-rich will scream that we cannot afford large deficits in order to leverage their impact on creating the austerity measures that enable them to get a lot richer even in times of economic crisis and decline.
Thus the bankers and their friends in the healthcare and military industrial complexes get to run the whole show. And then they speak speak as if we’re all in this together. We aren’t.
The truth is, they treat everyone but their class as ignorant rubes. They keep the rubes entertained by the idiotic television shows that are everywhere and through fear that unless we follow the orders they demand of us, that things could get so much worse.
It’s time to see reality. This is all part of waking up to what is real. It’s time to see these people (and they are discrete individuals with names and addresses) as the blood-sucking parasites they truly are. It’s time to express our need for basic justice. We must cease listening to any politician owned by this class. It’s time we take to the streets. It’s time that we refuse to swallow their ceaseless lies.
The point is not to spread the wealth. The point is to live a life that is just and fair. This class is truly a cancer on the world. The time has come to re-invent civilization as something that can exist in harmony with all of our fellow human beings and the animals and plants that make this world a wonder in a very cold universe. That time has come and that time is NOW!