RE: [OPE] US Pledges Top $7.7 Trillion to Financial Institutions

Date: Wed Nov 26 2008 - 09:44:20 EST

>My experience is that leftwing people typically have very little understanding of the
> mathematics of debt, [...]
> But anyway if a student has an alarmist emotional story about "trillions of dollars of debt" I
> am inclined to be skeptical, because first of all I want to know what the quantities referred
> to mean, and what the real effects are.
Hi Jurriaan:
Bloomberg News Service, owned by the Republican Party Mayor of the City of New York,
is by no means a "leftwing" source. Part of the story here is that the actual
amount pledged had been kept secret from the public (for obvious
reasons) by the Bush administration and Bloomberg News Service was
only able to obtain the projected amount through the Freedom of Information
Act. So ... this isn't an "alarmist story": on the contrary, only the
barest facts are presented in a dry and unemotional way without reference to
how this will impact different classes and segments of the US population.
You are probably right that the US public doesn't know the meaning of
the numbers (i.e. what the "real effects" will be). Maybe we should discuss
(alternative) likely effects?
> But make no mistake, the ruling classes of today are the richest there have ever been in
> history, and if their system is threatened, they're going to pull out all the stops to save
> their system, whatever money it takes.
It's the "whatever ... it takes" which should most concern the working class.
> If necessary, they will reorganise the whole accounting system if it says that there is
> a deficit, so that the account is in credit, changing contractual and property arrangements.
> The main problems have little to do with lack of funds - there is a lot of "slack" in modern
> capitalism, i.e. a lot of idle funds, hoards etc. ("surplus capital"). They will say that they
> have no money, but they have loads of it. The real problems have more to do with
> political-ideological problems, i.e. whether you can get some sort of unity among the
> propertied classes for a recovery strategy that safeguards their wealth. That's also why
> they're interested in Mr Obama, because he has proved that he can unite people - he isn't
> particularly radical, but sufficiently sensible to be credible. The main problem with Mr Bush's
> archaeo-christianist fanaticism was that it disunited the elites, pitting them against each other,
> and that is the problem they now seek to overcome.
The great advantage of Obama, from a ruling class perspective, is that he will better be
able to force additional austerity on the working class and push through other policies
which lower the standard of living of most working people.
Yet, it is clear that there are increasing divisions within the bourgeoisie about how to
proceed. It's not at all surprising that in a time of crisis they would act like a group
of "hostile brothers". We can see some of these divisions recently: e.g. they argue about
whether financial institutions _or_ manufacturing firms should be bailed out.
The question of the day, though, is what would be the _real_ amount required to
bail out these financial institutions? 7.7 Trillion? 15 Trillion? 30 Trillion? No one
knows. (and, no, I'm not being "alarmist" when I write this: I'm stating a simple
fact - no one knows). And no one knows exactly yet what the "real effects" will be.
The question, though, isn't merely analytical: should we just become spectators in
 this process or intervene in struggles which benefit working class communities?
In solidarity, Jerry

ope mailing list
Received on Wed Nov 26 09:48:07 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Dec 03 2008 - 15:07:39 EST