Letters: The bankers' coup d'etat begins to collapse
Michael Moore, in his film on the credit crunch, alleged that there has been a financial coup d'etat by the banks in the US, led by Goldman Sachs, which has a revolving door with the US Treasury. It's hard to resist his interpretation and not to see it spreading to Europe (Report, 9 August). What private interests are expressed by investment houses, ratings agencies, banks and other financial institutions now driving European fiscal policies into ever-deeper austerity? Or are we supposed to believe, as naively as BBC economics journalists apparently do, that the representatives of these financial institutions – the "chief economists", the CEOs, the hedge-fund managers, paraded on our screens nightly – are merely giving us neutral, objective truths about economic "crisis"?
Is it coincidence that these "experts" are never heard advocating expansion of welfare, investing in the public sector, enlarging the protective state? All too often they work for financial institutions which are government creditors and who are now jostling to be first in line for payouts – elbowing citizens and small businesses out of the queue.
Economics is no different to any other social science – its facts are rooted in values, its expertise is refined opinion, its appeal is based on power and persuasion, not proof. We should meet these people with open, democratic challenge and debate, not the enthralled, passive acceptance modelled by so much of our media. Coups d'etat only succeed through consent or lethargy.
Saville Kushner and Barry Kushner
• This is not a solution but another chapter in the slow collapse of an economic system. We saw this in the 1980s with the unravelling of Stalinism. But as state planning came into disrepute, another dangerous economic ideology was taking hold: that an unregulated financial system was all that was needed.
After two decades of this madness, the fault lines in the new economic paradigm began to show in 2008 and we have since been witnessing its slow death. Globalised finance has mesmerised the ruling elites in the richest countries of the world. And we now have the spectacle of India – a country where some of the poorest in the world live and suffer abuses at the hands of a corrupt political class, aiding and abetting in the confiscation of their land by extractive industries – now holding $40bn in US government bonds, so that the richest in the richest country in the world can enjoy low levels of taxation.
Admittedly richer than India in terms of average income, China is still a country where the hinterlands are inhabited by vast numbers of the world's poor. Globalised finance has enabled China to allow global consumers, some of them poor, though living in rich countries, to buy Chinese goods below cost because of the subsidy to China's industry extracted from the rural poor.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds