If there is one institution the operation of which alone is a provocation for the vast majority of society, not just amidst the economic crisis but in every era, if there is one institution that embodies most faithfully the basic operations characteristic of capitalism and market economy, greed for profit and power, it is the stock market.
Intimately connected with the history of the existing economic system, it is one of the strongest and most effective levers for pumping social wealth from the bottom of society and channelling it always toward a minority, the economic elite. A mechanism that loots and squeezes everything out of all societies, robs the produced social product, without producing or offering absolutely anything.
As stock markets play a key role in the redistribution of income from the social base towards the top, the centralization of economic power and the increase of inequality, they are among the main protagonists of the crises throughout the history of the market economy system and capitalism. It is where mostly, the leveraged (borrowed) liquidity which is “gambled” to acquire profit ends up, and where global wealth is distributed, changing hands between the plutocrats.
It is there that the strongest of the international economy are teaming up to devour the less powerful, since what takes place in stock markets is that the most powerful coalitions of capital are fighting against the less powerful coalitions in a war where the outcome is already predetermined. This is why stock exchanges are the temples of “social Darwinism” where “the social and economically powerful always prevail over the weak.”
It’s where ‘bubbles’ are created which generate profit for the few as they get bigger and for even fewer when they burst. It’s where all the phases of high and low economic processes take place, with the permanent losers outside the walls of the stock exchange, the “common people”, watching unable to intervene, the legal procedures of theft of the wealth produced by labour and how this labour “vanishes” into the pockets of the capitalists.
Stock exchanges, the great fortresses of speculation and greed are also at the cutting edge of the creation of this crisis. And their criminal operation is so blunt that they are continuing the looting of society in a particularly difficult period for the disadvantaged such as the one that we are experiencing now.
So, while more and more people worldwide go into poverty, while millions around the world are starving, while jobs are lost, businesses are closing and unemployment rages, stock markets around the world – including the Greek one, are carrying out an even more provocative “race” to the top.
It is a scandal of global proportions that companies are carrying out lay-offs or are closing ‘unprofitable’ areas, reducing workers’ wages, blackmailing them with the dilemma ‘unemployment or self-employment and a wage cut’, and at the same time shares and stocks rise, are yielding profits for shareholders and managers. While the funds of the large multinationals and financial giants like the American Citibank and bank of America, or the European UBS [Swiss global financial services company] are incalculably damaged and are on the verge of collapse one moment, yet the next (and after being given new economic stimulus packages from governments to “relieve the economy” as they say), their stock prices double, while the management and shareholders share the profits from the new stock market ‘bubble’ with public money.
The total “aid package” which is expected to be needed by the system internationally to avoid collapse is so far $5 trillion. The sharks of the international investment portfolios do not hesitate risking the free money from government grants, to form a virtual reality exit from the crisis, raising the points in the stock markets and creating new ‘bubbles’ of imaginary recovery in order to reap as much possible profit amidst an increasingly worsening crisis. In all stock markets including the Greek one, the State funds fueled another ‘bubble’, with the protagonists the banks, from which the capitalists cover their profits they lost from the crisis. In Greece, as wider and wider areas of the population sink into poverty, large corporations and mainly large banking conglomerates are constantly drawing profits.
The rise in the prices of raw materials, petrol and basic food products which, against the reduced demand, we will see rising more and more in the immediate future, is also a result of the ‘bubble’ created by the international elite. This cast of criminals using the investment portfolios as weapons bet the cash from the State funds from the rise in prices of products and food. They are vicious murderers because once more they are profiting from the food prices, they raise the prices and indexes in the stock market and reap billions, causing mass murder of millions of people from hunger and illness yet again.
There is nothing strange that none of the crooked mainstream politicians or economic analysts do not even have the decency to admit that the latest stock market “races” which are rising are nothing more than another ‘bubble’ fed with public money.
Not only have governments around the world – led by the U.S. minister of finance – done nothing to avoid the channeling of public money into stock market speculation, they have also played the role of “tout” for stock markets by “propagating” that the markets, through the latest stock market rise, anticipate the end of the crisis and economic recovery for the rich families of the planet.
This “assessment” is confirmed by all kinds of mainstream economic analysts.
Worldwide production is in decline, job losses are in millions, many countries are now officially in recession, many are in immediate danger of bankruptcy and economic collapse while others have already collapsed, at the same time shares are “soaring” with a leading presence of the banks.
The Greek stock market index has doubled in less than two months, something that didn’t happen even in 1999 and its steady rising course continued all these months. Many shares went up 100%, doubling the stock value of businesses which at the same time shrink their operations and fire employees. Profits from the stock market ‘bubble’ fill the pockets of Greek capitalists and their foreign team-mates, while the majority of the Greek society drowns in the storm of the economic crisis. The measures of “exiting” the crisis never were and never will be anything more than measures to support capital.
The moment the government of Nea Dimokratia put through the packages of bloodsucking one after another in a vicious and futile cycle of attempts to avoid State bankruptcy, banks are doing just what banks do internationally, they exploit the €28 billion offered by the State to raise the prices of stocks and shares of their large shareholders.
Once more the Greek stock exchange has become a paradise of speculation for the international capital from which this period it draws large profits from its participation in the Greek businesses.
We do not believe that no one understands this. Why though does everyone keep quiet? Obviously criticism on the market and its functions is restricted for all parties, including the left. Either way, the answer is known: it’s just how the systems works.
Since all mainstream politicians are more or less involved in some investment activity, since the entire political system as its known relies its existence on the “sponsorships” of Greek and foreign capitalists (all parties have been bribed by Siemens [German engineering conglomerate], including the two parties of the left as their members have more or less admitted), despite any “dysfunctions” and “dis-figurations”, the system of market economy and capitalism are a commonly accepted denominator for all the professionals of politics – from the neo-liberals of the right and populist far-right who support the neo-liberal capitalist version, to the leftists who defend State-controlled capitalist operation. As a result of this consensus, the pillage via the stock markets remains untouched by this one more time.
What all political and economic authorities pursue in the end, is not to find ways out of the crisis – anyway all of their policies so far are making the situation worse not better – but to contribute so that Capital, wounded by the crisis, has the least possible losses, knowing that this will happen at the expense of the socially weaker layers. Their aim is not the relief of societies but the relief of the economically powerful who see their profits going down.
The same moment that politicians and mainstream analysts have the audacity to criticize large parts of the population because “they borrowed more than they could pay back, so they have a responsibility for today’s crisis”, Greek banks borrow, almost for free, public money from the ECB [European Central Bank] at a rate of 1% and they invest it in the stock markets with the Greek State as a guarantor.
The announcements about morality and temperance by State officials and bankers are completely outrageous, especially the moment the thieving banks borrow to people at a rate of 17%, giving an interest rate of much less than 1% and show no mercy when they confiscate property even for a few hundred euros. They are outrageous because the State shows no moderation when they give money to the banks, and borrows from them at very high rates. And if in the end the banks cannot pay-off the ECB, the Greek State guarantees to pay the bill. All this because “the economic system is in crisis” which means that the profits of the Greek banks are reduced in the first half of 2009 and are limited to a modest sum of €1.5 billion.
While the Greek government attacks with all means to take away the last euro from the pockets of mainly the lower social layers and pay-off the vultures of the international economic system, while it demands social consensus in order to impose new harsher tax collection measures, in the stock exchange they party with the €28 billion the suckers gave – i.e. all those who have nothing- to the banks.
The moment the cuts on wages, pensions and benefits become a whirlwind for the lower social layers, the moment poverty in Greece is about to go over 25% amidst the crisis and real time unemployment takes its greatest postwar dimensions, the moment the government sends the message “time for everyone to take their responsibility”, excluding the economic and political authority, as well as the privileged social layers, at the same moment tax evasions on high incomes come and go, – tax evasion for them is an informal law-, and shipping owners by law can enjoy the exemption from any sort of taxes.
While the government slashes the spending on public health, driving the public health system to death, it pumps millions from the public funds to “enhance businessmen” (most recent example the millions spent on air conditioners supporting the multinationals of this sector and the “help” it provided for the purchase of new cars supporting the multinational car factories). It gives away mythical sums to construction companies through the cooperation of private and public sector and the endless road construction which has destroyed Greece all over. And mainly, it constantly reduces the factors of taxing businesses, rich people and their profits when at the same time it squeezes the lower social classes to fill the public funds.
This policy will be continued by PASOK since for this party as well, competitiveness of economy is strongly linked to businesses profits. Therefore the purpose of every regime party is the strengthening of businesses, strengthening the plutocrats and capital in order to improve the economy.
Every political decision taken is a result of a planning that concerns the position of Greece in the international economic system and not a move of managing a single topic. As well that this planning does not only concern N.D. but also PASOK or any other government in power.
It is a political decision of the Greek governments to let the welfare and public health system decompose while they give money to the businesses. It is a result of their political position to destroy public education and promote, with laws, private education institutes.
It is a result of policy that the leaders sell out public property to the capitalists and then impose the commercialization of every social and economic function by fire and sword.
It is a result of policy that the State, whether its N.D. or PASOK, always supports and protects those who are on the top of the economic and social hierarchy with whom together they commit crimes against the societies by robbing them, and against the environment which they destroy legally in the name of development.
And if Attiki [region of Greece] burnt completely in the last fires, it was not a result of negligence and bad handling. The fact that every year Greece burns, the fact that there are few unburnt forests, the fact that forest arson is multiplying is not a result of negligence, it is as well, a result of politics.
Because it’s politics to not hire firemen for the forest fires and constantly hire cops, give away millions to hire “personal security” which have filled every corner of Athens. It is politics to not spend anything on forest protection, not buy any air-born fire vehicles, and spend billions on equipment, army helicopters and new modern security systems to protect the regime.
The recent fires that burnt whatever green was left in Attiki is known – even if its kept silent by the parties and media – to only serve the interests of the building companies that want to make a rubbish dump in the Grammatikos area. Just as the fires in Ilia in 2007 served the interests of the companies who benefited from the creation of the Ionian highway [Greek law reserves that burnt forest land can be speculated and sold].
Greece burns every year for the interests of the construction companies and the State assists in this destruction by passing legislations and laws that lead to the commericalization of the land and forests and legalize the destruction of the environment. Maybe all of Attiki was burning on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd of August, but on Monday the stock exchange indices went up again featuring, besides the banks, construction companies, the insurance companies whose stocks went sky high since they await new crazy profits from the home insurances that will come.
On top of the ashes of Attiki and the rest of Greece, on the destruction of nature, on the misery and slow death of all of us, for one more time capital sets up a festival of profit.
The moment the government intensifies the tax collection to fill the empty State funds, the known special accounts all ministries have are full of millions of euros of which nobody except the “appropriate ministers” know where this money is spent which is taken from the taxpayers.
While the holes of the public deficit are shown as the largest national threat, the government spends €3.6 billion on the European elections in one month alone, sending the deficit to even higher levels and then runs to Brussels and promises it will raise money violently from the people.
The moment the politicians and rich people with audacity recommend moderation in the lower classes plummet, the same moment the astronomical wages of the MPs and European MPs are alone a scandal of great proportions. equally scandalous and provocative is the doubling of the judges wages.
When most people in this country have to cut down on products of basic essentials and food, at the same moment political authorities with money stolen from the public funds enjoy trips, events, parties and “conferences” worth several million. When house evictions increase everyday, political leaders live in mansions built with public money.
And within all these “scandals” which are born from the advanced merger of political and economic authority, with the millions that change hands through economic and political factors, with the exchange and buying-selling of public health, with the bribes, the “gifts” and “favors” with profit in mind, show that it’s a joke for someone to expect from a political system that is naturally corrupt, rotten and greedy for money and power, that exists to perpetuate inequality and poverty, which, when it mentions common interest, it only means the interest of the rich which it serves, to follow policies that will relieve the economically weak.
It is expected that no matter which government comes out from the elections it will not easily manage to hold the social peace and that there will be new social relations to the policies that aim at sacrificing the lower social layers in order to save plutocracy and its profits.
The future revolts for bread and basic foods are expected with mathematical precision in the countries of the capitalist periphery, since the rise of prices caused by the stock market may even surpass the prices of 2008 and will bring a new large explosion of hunger and poverty of the already poor, the outcasts of capitalist development. Also expected are the social explosions and clashes in the developed world, mainly in the countries of the semi-periphery such as the Eastern European countries who are already under the sword of the IMF [International Monetary Fund].
The next explosions are expected in Greece as well since the next government of PASOK will intensify its attacks against society to impose the orders of the financial adjustment which are dictated by the officials of the international elite (Brussels, IMF) and impose the neo-liberal reforms. It is expected that the States and the economic elite pull more and more on the rope of exploitation of society and are at the verge of rupture with large parts of the worldwide population.
It is a fact now that it is becoming harder and harder for the rich and poor to co-exist, since it is revealed clearly now that the worldwide plutocracy is a parasitic organ that lives on at the expense of the societies themselves. It steals the produced wealth without producing anything and whose existence alone is a crime against humanity. These criminals who murder millions of people with the stock market ‘bubbles’ they create, will never be punished by any regime party and they are not the ones that will pay for the crisis.
Even if some of the governments tear their garments in public, promising to put an end to the greed of specific economic factors – meaning a section of the over-paid executive managers – their job was, is, and will be, to help the economically upper class in the greedy hunt of profit and support it with public money when “business is bad”.
The punishment of all these vultures who appropriate social wealth for themselves, who live spending millions, who live as parasites on the expense of billions of people on the planet who do not have the basics for their survival, the punishment for the greedy capitalists will not be impose by any State or government. Their punishment can only be imposed by societies in revolt, which will take away from them every economic and social privilege, which will take away the wealth which was stolen from them, in order to socialize it, putting it at the service of the social revolution.
The economic system directs the worldwide economic terrorism
Well before today’s economic crisis broke out in the system, many tremors preceded from the numerous social crises all over the planet. These crises which were the result of the violent international spreading of capital’s dominance, increased the gap between rich and poor, bringing the gap to never before seen historical levels.
The crisis of the debt of third world countries and the bankruptcy of many countries during the ’80s and ’90s, the explosion of inequality and hunger that reached its peak in the period of neo-liberal globalization, the supplying crisis that has hit many countries for decades now and which is constantly getting worse, the formation of a new “third world” through the advanced capitalist countries, are stages of worldwide social crisis which has been cultivated by the market economy and capitalism for many years now. Even before the crisis broke out, 25,000 people a day – more than 8.7 million a year – lost their lives from malnutrition. But these deaths were not a crisis for the economical and political authorities. They were an unavoidable and unimportant to them fact.
The system, before coming to this dead end, had “successfully overcome” a series of previous crises with the valuable interventions of the State mechanisms, central banks and economic organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank, who supported it whenever it was shaken (credit crunch crisis in ’80, collapsing of insurance companies at the end of the same decade and stock market crisis of ’80, credit crunch crisis from the collapse of the economy in Mexico in ’94, crisis in the bond market after the collapse of the economies in southeast Asia in ’97).
But every overcoming of a crisis in the operations of the system led to a greater gathering of wealth and power in the hands of the elite and left behind it even more painful social crises for humanity. At the same time it cultivated the myth that the system is immortal. In a few words it set the terms for a large and worldwide economic crisis.
The fact that we are living a never-seen-before worldwide social inequality, is not a result of bad management by the system, but it is because of its very nature and the development model that has been globally imposed and which started to form post-war (WW2), to take its final characteristics in the era of neo-liberal globalization.
Monetary capital has been at the wheel of this model for years and stock markets are mechanisms of strategic importance for the gathering of capitals and power in the hands of the economically powerful of the planet.
When we refer to monetary capital we mean the merger not only of the industrial and bank capital but also the capital invested in the stock markets and the exchange markets. This merger which was presented from the beginning of the last century, in the time of neo-liberal globalization, and with the push of technology, has reached such levels that it makes any separation impossible and unrealistic.
Today international banking groups, multinational industrial businesses, large insurance companies and investment formations of every form can be controlled from the same centers and the capitals change position constantly depending on the perspectives formulated for maximum profitability. It is not an accident that today the same people, the same families of modern Croesus [Tycoon] through the model of a shareholding company control industries, banks, insurance companies, and posses an investment portfolio for every kind of stock market investment.
The enormous growth of stock market capital has its roots in the post-war development and the “golden-age of capitalism”. The super profits of that period along with the rapid industrial expansion began to seek new investment opportunities. It was a time when large industries used their profits from the investments on a national level, cooperated with many unforeseen investment formations and through the creation of the first post-war stock market explosion and “bubble” in shares, gave an unforeseen push to the expansion of multinationals by introducing international conglomerate groups.
The expansion of the multinationals happened at the same time as that of the banks, which transformed into powerful international conglomerates with the profits of the “post economic miracle”. The profits filled the drawers of the banks and it was the raw material for the explosion of the euro-dollar market, which cancelled in practice the imposition of State inspection on the international movement of capital. The first “big business” for post-war monetary capital was through the large market of loans in countries of the region.
It was a well set-up “job” in which banks, multinationals and center governments cooperated in.
Regional countries borrow in order to create development projects which were useless for them and their needs, benefited only a small minority of people in these specific countries which got richer, but the drawers of the multinational who carried out the projects got full. With this procedure the monetary capital preformed this cycle: from the central banks, it went to the region in the form of loans and ended up back at the center again, this time in the treasuries of multinational construction conglomerates, while the banks counted crazy profits from the loans they granted. The profitable “stroll” of international capital which from the center banks goes to the developed countries, is a solid policy in the post-war worldwide growth.
The same strategy is followed by the international economic elite in the case of South East Asia, since for years it prepared the field of attack with reports about the “enormous growth potential” which these countries supposedly had as well. When finally these countries went bankrupt, they were transformed into colonies for Western Capital, and they and their people were hostages to economic capital, forever wearing the shackles of debt.
Maybe officially the central role in the post-war economy was played by the government, but already from the ’60s financial capital started to regain its lost power and demanded the leading role in global economic operations.
Through the explosion of the euro-dollar market – which acted as a catalyst in the liberation of the movement of capitalism and brought the first decisive cracks in the system of State intervention – the depreciation of the fixed exchange system – which brought the explosion in the exchange market -, financial capital grew gigantic, managed to liberate the banking system, created a worldwide network of stock markets and exchange markets, and managed to get put behind the wheel of global development and economic operations.
The attempts to divide financial capital into “productive, socially useful industrial capital” and “parasitic speculative”, or in other words, the division of capitalists into “productive and creative industrialists” on one hand, and on the other, “parasitic speculators”, which is included in the rhetoric of all mainstream parties and mainly those of “social democracy” and the mainstream left, is impossible, misleading, but also dangerous.
It is impossible and misleading because it withholds that every operation of the system, every sector and industry is part of the same destructive development model. It is dangerous because it tries to isolate the responsibilities of today’s crisis onto some sectors of the system and onto specific roles in order to save the reputation of the rest of the system, which ‘we will have to correct a bit’.