The Zombie System: How Capitalism Has Gone Off the Rails – part 1/4

Published on Spiegel Online International, by Michael Sauga, Oct 23, 2014 (Photo Gallery).

Six years after the Lehman disaster, the industrialized world is suffering from Japan Syndrome. Growth is minimal, another crash may be brewing and the gulf between rich and poor continues to widen. Can the global economy reinvent itself? … //

… Running Out of Ammunition:

Politicians and business leaders everywhere are now calling for new growth initiatives, but the governments’ arsenals are empty. The billions spent on economic stimulus packages following the financial crisis have created mountains of debt in most industrialized countries and they now lack funds for new spending programs.

Central banks are also running out of ammunition. They have pushed interest rates close to zero and have spent hundreds of billions to buy government bonds. Yet the vast amounts of money they are pumping into the financial sector isn’t making its way into the economy.

Be it in Japan, Europe or the United States, companies are hardly investing in new machinery or factories anymore. Instead, prices are exploding on the global stock, real estate and bond markets, a dangerous boom driven by cheap money, not by sustainable growth. Experts with the Bank for International Settlements have already identified “worrisome signs” of an impending crash in many areas. In addition to creating new risks, the West’s crisis policy is also exacerbating conflicts in the industrialized nations themselves. While workers’ wages are stagnating and traditional savings accounts are yielding almost nothing, the wealthier classes — those that derive most of their income by allowing their money to work for them — are profiting handsomely.

According to the latest Global Wealth Report by the Boston Consulting Group, worldwide private wealth grew by about 15 percent last year, almost twice as fast as in the 12 months previous.

The data expose a dangerous malfunction in capitalism’s engine room. Banks, mutual funds and investment firms used to ensure that citizens’ savings were transformed into technical advances, growth and new jobs. Today they organize the redistribution of social wealth from the bottom to the top. The middle class has also been negatively affected: For years, many average earners have seen their prosperity shrinking instead of growing.

Harvard economist Larry Katz rails that US society has come to resemble a deformed and unstable apartment building: The penthouse at the top is getting bigger and bigger, the lower levels are overcrowded, the middle levels are full of empty apartments and the elevator has stopped working.

Wider and Wider:

It’s no wonder, then, that people can no longer get much out of the system. According to polls by the Allensbach Institute, only one in five Germans believes economic conditions in Germany are “fair.” Almost 90 percent feel that the gap between rich and poor is “getting wider and wider.”

In this sense, the crisis of capitalism has turned into a crisis of democracy. Many feel that their countries are no longer being governed by parliaments and legislatures, but by bank lobbyists, which apply the logic of suicide bombers to secure their privileges: Either they are rescued or they drag the entire sector to its death.

It isn’t surprising that this situation reinforces the arguments of leftist economists like distribution critic Thomas Piketty. But even market liberals have begun using terms like the “one-percent society” and “plutocracy.” The chief commentator of the Financial Times, Martin Wolf, calls the unleashing of the capital markets a “pact with the devil.”

They aren’t alone. Even the system’s insiders are filled with doubt. There is the bank analyst in New York who has become exasperated with banks; the business owner in Switzerland who is calling for higher taxes; the conservative Washington politician who has lost faith in the conservatives; and the private banker in Frankfurt who is at odds with Europe’s supreme monetary authority.

They all convey a deep sense of unease, and some even show a touch of rebellion … //

… (full text).

Capitalism- and Economy-Related Links:

Other Links:

Ebola: Why I Will Not Submit To Medical Martial Law, on Global (first on Activist Post), by Brandon Smith, Oct 23, 2014: One of the most dangerous philosophical contentions even amongst liberty movement activists is the conundrum of government force and prevention during times of imminent pandemic … // … If the government in question was a proven and honorable institution, then I would say pro-Medical Martial Law arguments might have a leg to stand on. However, this is not the case. In my view, medical martial law is absolutely unacceptable under ANY circumstances, including Ebola, in light of the fact that our current (US) government will be the predominant cause of viral outbreak …;
(see: U.S. is Responsible for the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa – Liberian Scientist, on Global (first on Silent Crow News), by Timothy Alexander Guzman, Oct 17, 2014);

Reflections on a violent day in Ottawa, on, by MATTHEW BEHRENS, Oct 23, 2014;

From Germany to Iraq: One Yazidi Family’s War on Islamic State – part 1, on Spiegel Online International, by Özlem Gezer, Oct 23, 2014 (Photo Gallery): A Yazidi family from Iraq had finally found peace in Germany, but now the father has headed back to fight Islamic State and the son is waging his own war at home. Although they’ve both become heroes in the community, their story may not have a happy ending …;
part 2: The War in Oldenburg;

Canadian govt to use Ottawa shootings to justify its preconceived M.E. agenda, on Russia Today RT, by Eric Draitser, Oct 23, 2014;

Who are the victims of Wednesday’s attacks at the War Memorial and on Parliament Hill? on, by Karl Nerenberg, Oct 23 2014: … but is it now time to restrict our liberties? …;

The forgotten coup: how America and Britain crushed the government of their ally, Australia, on ZNet, by John Pilger, Oct 23, 2014;

Eve of Election: A Fractured Ukraine, United in Uncertainty, on Spiegel Online International, by Christian Neef, Oct 22, 2014 (Photo Gallery): As the Ukrainian election approaches, citizens are both hopeful and skeptical about their country’s future. But their biggest concern isn’t the war in the east or Russian interference – it’s the country’s need for a working state …;

What Yellen didn’t say, on RWER Blog, by David F. Ruccio, Oct 21, 2014;

Punjab RTE crisis – 900 schools shut down, on NITI CENTRAL, by AKASH MAITHAL, Oct 14, 2014 (including video, 8.35 min – also on YouTube, uploaded there by NitiCentral, Oct 14, 2014);

… and this:

Mylène Farmer – Pursha Se Timeless 2013, 126.41 min, uploaded by Mr.Termont MT, May 14, 2014;
et Mylene Farmer on YouTube-search;
or – or: / / … etc.

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