by Luke Eastwood, The Burning Platform:
Since the crash of 2008 much has been made of the fact that the world did not end or the sky fall in on us – unless of course you are one of the people who have been touched by bankruptcy, homelessness, addiction or even suicide as a result of the crash. The truth is that, since the financial collapse, life has not improved, improved very little or even got worse for a huge number of individuals around the world.
Many political and financial pundits have highlighted the fact that the problems that caused the sub-prime crisis and subsequent bank collapses around the world are in fact a systemic problem. However, it appears that very little has been done to remedy the situation. The basic problem is not complex at all – it is very simple in fact:
- All closed systems have limits and the economic and ecological world system is nearing the limits of tolerance.
- The main beneficiaries of the current system are a tiny minority (often refered to as the 1%), which is in fact growing smaller, further exacerbating inbalance.
- No attempt has been made to address a flawed system that is ultimately unsustainable – papering of the crack is all that has occurred.
If you accept the 3 points above then it is easy to see that we are not in fact headed anywhere better in the short or medium term. If no attempts are made to deal with the distribution of capital, the availability of financially meaningful employment, the facilitation of resources and investment in genuinely productive and beneficial enterprises then circumstances will continue to deteriorate.
The short to medium term solution to the 2008 crisis was quantitive easing, or stimulus, however many would argue that the stimulus was given to the arse when it needed to be given to the brain of the patient. Stimulus in the wrong place is of no benefit if the system remains unchanged, or if the beneficiaries only gain more from maintaining the status quo, instead of engaging in reform.
So here we are in 2020, QE or stimulus never ended, although somewhat declining in recent years, it has now been ramped up again to frightening levels. We now have a situation where the broken system of 2008 is still broken but now with a level of leveraging across countries and corporations that is eye-wateringly catastrophic. If this is not a black swan moment in itself, the fact that we have to contend with COVID19, political and social unrest, locust plagues in Africa and Asia, increased threat of war, plus increased protectionism and nationalism should be ringing everyone’s alarm bells.
There is a significant drag in the system, a time delay or delayed reaction if you will. I personally regard this as being about 6 months lag between disaster A and full comprehension of the impact of disaster A. This is then followed by the repercussions of this new understanding, which is from that point onwards is reflected in financial markets, on main street, employment levels, the media and in every day life. At this moment we are seeing or are about to see Q2 figures from across the world, which is the beginning of the comprehension of disaster A, and a growing awareness that disasters B, C, D and E are in progress right now.