Thursday, October 23, 2008

crisis? but whose crisis? not harley davidson's, surely...

the american economic system is geared to suck even the smallest savings back into its mill through its articulate and complex arrangements of the banking and finance sector. it relies on obtaining cheap money from the populce by way of bankers, which then is invested in supposedly lucrative enterprises.

unlike europe, where a tradition of landlording is historical and historic heritage, there are few opportunitiies for the american moneyed and rich classes to roll in luxury on a rentiér model of what financiers term "pure profit". you cannot buy a flat on park avenue for instance, let it to someone and laze around in malibu squandering the rent away. taxes, costs, overheads, over- burdens etc. will leave you poorer than a pauper.

if you are a beach bum type like me, the only way you can beat the system is invest enough capital in the securities and exchanges market to get you by and to cross your fingers hoping it will not come down crashing with all your debauchery and dreams too - in the 1987 "crisis", which indeed was an earthquake in the american finance system that served to funnel capital toward the cheaper labor markets of asia, an ex-executive on an easy circumnavigation with his wife had to return stateside to get a well paying job for a couple years, so he would not have to sell their yacht (then moored in bodrum) because all their savings had gone gown the drain. well, the quirks and snags of "impure" profit. a french rentiér would be much less shaken.

since americans could not rationally buy houses or other real estate in order to draw an easy income from, realty turned into a field of speculation in the heydays of finacier-ism of the 90's and early 21st century - as opposed to the monetarism of the 80s and early 90s. houses, etc. construction is usually profitable, it launders money well and real estate is truly the rarest good available, so there is always a profit margin that cyclically becomes exaggerated.

thus, buying and selling real estate made money, even with mortgages, i.e., money that is only on paper. the loose finances anchored to america's inbound economy with limited profit margins grabbed the milkier mortgage system like a bonanza, instead of seeking outlets within the universal global market.

real estate and mortgage practically operated on the same level of "money that was not there, virtual money" (1). money that produced some inverted form of pure profit that was denied to the much more honest and controllable endeavor of landlordship.

now that the whole mortgage dream-system is dead, papers report, the demand for skilled labor has already increased - since the last year of bill clinton or thereabouts, unskilled, cheap workers were in demand, signifying the plight of real, unproductive, uncompetitive, un-global american economy.

production economy is back, or waiting to make a come-back, even in america.

since the current "crisis" was a composite result of a failing and unyieldy inbound, introvert "national" economy, talking for the future of production in america should mean a more competitive american presence in the world, as opposed to a more domineering and bullying old fashioned hegemon in military fatigues.

look where harley davidson have come in the last five years or so... from a slumberous style and technology belonging in mid-20th century that caused the legendary machines to be called "hardly-ableson", to once more a world wide magnet for motorcycle freaks (2).

so this is not really a crisis for harley. it is still "crisis? what crisis?" for enterprises and sectors and businesses and what not that can behave as universally as harley did.

and now that the "crisis" blew up the money on paper, we're talking real money. american savings will now most likely go to banks and finance markets that have the world as their playing field. as a very large, indeed, the largest part of that world, american economy will ingest a good deal of such savings made at home and elsewhere, perhaps even in turkey. international, trans-border mergers and a de-nationalization of the most volatile, versatile and fluent element of economics, "capital" will have to dictate a new world order, too, where the nation state, if it wants a say in things will also somehow de-nationalize.

in question is a new world order that dubya and his cohorts could not and will not understand. luckily for america and the entire globe, with mccain on an apparent slide -thanks a lot to sarah palin - the republican anachronism seems to be fading in both its present and promised forms. a couple more weeks and hussein barack obama, it seems, will ascend the world's political throne.

he is lucky... he comes forward at a turn where things, unless clipped by some sick and parochial mentality typified in the dubya regime, have only up as a way to go

(1) if what we were taught in macro economics is true, there can be no "money that is noot there" (money used here to signify general resources that may be converted into capital). economy does not tolerate any hiatus and simply fills it in. as it turns out, the states, the bane and brunt of the capitalist system, had the funds and were sleeping on them! however, since they need it to finance wars, armies and a huge bureaucratic apparatus ever ready to cook even further ills, the seeming hiatus may still be filled also by elements even worse than governments, like those headquartered in medellin or the afghan-pakistan border.
(2) present company begs to be excluded... i still favor italian élan and styling and bmw engineering, although my previous "wouldn't be caught dead riding a hardly-ableson" attitude is now of the past... i appreciate and welcome the transformation of harley and hope it is a harbinger of other american industries and services - which will have to turn global in ownership, too.
(3) that's why i supported hillary and would love to see a clinton in the coming democratic administration. once this stage is passed, any flaws in the foundations-in-the-laying of the renovated world-system can only lead to more devastating tremors in its structure. a world-weary, street-savvy u.s. administration would become a blessinng for the world. joe biden is simply not up to standard and hussein is too green behind the ears. i only hope his passing over hillary was not the sum of a petty grudge left over from the campaigns.

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