So here we go, the first JF Uncut post: I will be discussing lots of topics that you would expect me to discuss and maybe some that will surprise you, but be assured, it will most certainly be UNCUT.
There is only one topic on everyone's mind right now, unless you are a hermit living in Outer Mongolia, but rumour has it that even he has got wind of what is happening back here in "corruption land" which is a very near neighbour of "incompetence land"
So after years and years of downright gluttony, the fat cats are bailing out fast - don't be mistaken, they are not being fired, oh no, after all, it is not their fault. Finger pointing has become the new International sport and absolutely no-one is standing up to declare themselves to blame - rather, they are all applying the "so what" approach.
The bankers who took extraordinary and totally irresponsible risks with OUR money, and paid themseves obscene bonuses year after year, are saying "so what" the Government will bail us out.
The politicians, who act as if they never saw it coming and whose criminally negligent failure to introduce financial controls and constraints on an industry that was hurtling down the track to destruction, also are now saying "so what" the taxpayers will bail us out.
So you, me and every other man in the street, the honest taxpayer who has worked hard, saved hard, made sacrifices - just to ensure a secure future for our families and loved ones are saying "so what next" in the certain knowledge that we are about to get financially raped - yet again.
Here's the latest: "Fear Grips Global Markets"
Stock markets across Europe have fallen after dramatic share price falls in Asia.
The FTSE 100 share index was down 8% at 3,964 points. It opened 9.8% lower at 3887 points, below the 4,000-point level for the first time in five years.
There were similar falls across Europe - Paris was down 8.4% while Germany was down 9.1%.
Investors fear a global slowdown, despite interest rate cuts and huge cash injections by central banks.
The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown (this is the ex "Iron Chancellor") has again called on other countries to follow Britain's bank rescue package. "What we need now is for other countries to be doing similar things," he told the BBC news channel.
He said he was confident the bail-out would eventually help stabilise the economy.
"Everybody depends on banks. We're trying to get the banks to do what they've traditionally done, to get the flow of money to businesses, to help people with their mortgages, to make sure people's savings are safe," he said.
Hmm!! Stable-door, horse, after, bolted, closing, the, Mr Prime Minister.
And it gets worse: In other major developments:
The British pound tumbled to a five-year low against the US dollar to trade at $1.6902 at one point, but recovered slightly later. It also fell against the euro to 1.245 euros.
Tokyo's shares plunged 24% during the week, double their weekly fall during the 1987 market crash.
Oil prices plummeted to a one-year low in European trading, with the price of US crude oil falling below $83 a barrel.
The three-month rate at which banks lend dollars to each other - known as Libor - has risen to 4.8% (this is really significant, because trust is a collective thing and right now, it is non-existent)
Finance ministers from the G7 are to meet in Washington later and President Bush is to make an address to the American people. (I cannot think of anyone less appropriate to address any nation right now - how can you talk about something you know nothing about?)
Moscow and Jakarta stock markets remain suspended because of excessive volatility.
Trading in the Vienna market was suspended until Friday afternoon.
So What Next, The Second Great Crash?
The ominous title above has been used all too many times since the First Great Crash of 1929. Book after book, article after article sounded the alarm. But Crash No.2 never came - until now, perhaps.
In fact, the world economy has suffered many hard, but temporary knocks since the end of the Second World War. In every case, severe economic pain was visited on the nation states, but the agonies were transient.
In the current crisis, the collapse of further major Wall Street and British firms, after promising lulls in the flow of bad news, has caught the politicians and the regulators by surprise every time. Because they failed to understand what was happening before the sub-prime woke everybody with its nightmares, these high and mighty people had no plans for coping with the awful results of profligacy, and so they had to improvise.
Yet financial crisis stemming from Wall Street was utterly predictable. The pattern is always the same. I once read a book called: "Can You Trust Your Bank?" The answer was No, but don't worry too much, because your government will always feel obliged to bail out the few villains to save the many suckers - and along with the latter, the national and world economies.
The catch is that the regulators and politicians are no more likely to anticipate events than the suckers. Forced to act by ignored but now all too evident crisis, the governing bodies under-react for the same reason that allowed the crisis to emerge in the first place; they don't really know what's going on - how the system broke down, who was responsible, and what is going to happen unless intervention paves the way for salvation.
This tale has been repeated again and again since the turn of the Millennium. The 'New Economy' played the same old game by persuading the suckers that all and any high-tech entrants were gold mines; the dot.com debacle duly followed as bad businesses, badly run, collapsed in droves.
Then, in 2004 Alan Greenspan, fabled head of the Federal Reserve, 'opposed tougher regulation of the financial derivatives' and for good measure praised the sale of 'adjustable-rate mortgages and refinancing for ordinary homeowners'. He can thus claim the dishonour of being the Father of the Sub-primes, which brought the US to near-ruin in a couple of crazy years.
The lessons are starkly plain and can be summed up in three words: TAKE GREAT CARE. Why didn't the big beasts of finance heed that warning? One reason is simple hubris. They thought they were marvellous and so did others. They knew they were marvellous because they made such incredible money.
Top managers made bad, ill-informed decisions with insufficient care because their own reward, not the wellbeing of the businesses, was foremost in their thinking.
At the risk of stating the obvious, it is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better: Tomorrow, I discuss "Opportunities & Threats" - where is this all going to lead us - be sure to join me on JF Uncut.
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