Jun 30, 2010

Global economy behaves like Monsoon; failing every 5-7 years

Monsoon plays truant. Monsoon goes dry. Monsoon may skip much of India this year. These are the usual headlines that we have become accustomed to. After all, a failed monsoon and the resulting drought are considered to be weather aberrations that happen at regular intervals.

Scientists tell us that on an average you can expect a drought year every 7 or 8 years. In other words, monsoon can go dry or skip the date once in a while. This is the long-term average but it does not mean that you cannot have two consecutive monsoons failing in a row.

India's over-dependence on monsoon especially for agriculture and food security has therefore come in for sharp criticism. I have often been asked why India is unable to wriggle out of the monsoon trap, and I have always felt amused at this stupid question. I am aware that it is convenient to use the monsoon failure tag to push for more big irrigation projects, which the financial newspapers in India are always keen to promote. While the economists and economic writers are unhappy with the monsoon not keeping its date religiously and faltering every now and then, I see the weather phenomenon is fast catching up with global economy where a financial collapse every 5-7 years is now becoming a reality. But no questions are being asked, no fool-proof system is being put in place. It is being accepted as if it is a monsoon failure, much beyond our control.

I thought monsoon is a weather phenomenon over which we have no control. But how come the markets too have picked up the monsoon pattern? How come the world has been forced to accept recurring market failures as if it is no different from a drought year, which can happen every 5-6 years on an average?

Look at how Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, explained to his school-going daughter what a financial crisis was. "It’s the kind of thing that happens every 5-7 years.” (New York Times News Service). Well, Jamie Dimon is right. Knowing that the governments all over the world are more than willing to bail them out of the financial mess every 5-7 years, he has nothing to fear. Nor does his daughter. She may not understand now, but the fact is that the bailouts have saved her father's job and also provided him huge bonuses to ensure her opulent lifestyle.

I draw your attention to an interesting article: "Get ready for the next 'Great Crash' " (Economic Times, June 30). The article says: ".. the history of modern markets is a story of meltdowns. The stock market crashed in 1987, the bond market in 1994. Mexico tanked in 1994, East Asia in 1997. Long-Term Capital Management blew up in 1998, Russia that same year. Dot-coms dotbombed in 2000. In 2007 — well, you know the rest.

And that was just the last 20 years or so. The stagflation of the 1970s, the Depression of the 1930s, the panics in the 1900s ... and back and back and back it goes, all the way to the Dutch and their tulip bulbs. "

At this wild rate, Wall Street's performance is much worse than that of the monsoon. With the G-20 leaders not expressing any urgency to stop this recurring phenomenon, and in fact seem to be simply endorsing the fraudulent economic system that leads to a cancerous growth, the next 'Great Crash' as the article says (see the link: http://bit.ly/dBjkdN) is coming fast. Guaranteed.

"Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow. But, in all likelihood, sooner than we think."

We are being made accustomed to the impending economic collapse. Because they have once again to use our money (as tax-payers) to bail out the fraudulent financial system. We did it in 2008-09 when we provided $ 20 trillion as bailouts. If we had refused to do so, the markets would have collapsed, the banks would have collapsed and the financial system would have been left gasping for breath.

We are certainly helpless before the weather gods. But we are being made to appear helpless before the great financial swindlers too. It is We, the people, who have failed to take the bull by the horn. Don't blame G-20 leaders or the World Bank/IMF, the fault for the financial cesspool rests with you and me. Unless we wake up, and exercise our authority, economic meltdowns will continue to happen, and your pocket would be emptied every time without you even realising it.

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