I think most readers with an economics background would be familiar with a liquidity trap, which is a situation where monetary policy is unable to stimulate an economy suffering a non-cyclical credit contraction, either through lowering interest rates or increasing the money supply because expectations of adverse events (e.g., exogenous deflationary factors, insufficient aggregate demand, or civil or international war) make persons with liquid assets unwilling to invest.
America is caught in a confidence or credibility trap, in which the changes, investigations, and reforms necessary to restore trust to an economy or market are rendered unlikely because doing so would expose a pervasive corruption that the principals fear would destroy any remaining trust. It could also endanger the careers of politicians and business people who may have permitted and even appeared to facilitate the control fraud that caused the financial crisis in the first place. Personal risk trumps public stewardship.
The fraudulent activity is covered up and therefore continues or at the very least appears to continue, crowding out most productive business investment and activity which cannot possibly hope to compete with the highly profitable fraudulent activity ad asset bubbles under such opaque and uncertain circumstances. Informed market participants are unwilling to invest their liquid assets in a system which they suspect is riddled with accounting fraud, insider trading, and regulatory weaknesses, except of course in a few situations and somewhat ironically in some existing frauds, such as a bubble in equity valuations for example, which they think they understand.
The American government is indeed acting as if it is involved in a massive coverup of a control fraud and corruption that could perhaps be the worst in its history. I think many people who are looking at this know in their hearts that all is not well, that there is something not quite right in the current situation. How else can we explain such massive and widespread financial fraud, with so few meaningful indictments, or even ongoing investigations with credible disclosures? And the worst perpetrators appear to be dictating the remedies and reforms to the system for this government sponsored recovery.
Hank, Tim, and Ben alluded to the consequences of the discovery and uncontrolled disclosure of this fraud, and it frightened the Congress so badly that they immediately gave up and signed over 700 billion dollars, and many billions more, to facilitate the coverup of this under the guise of recovery and stabilization. I would like to imagine that those in charge are attempting to prevent a panic while they put out the fires, but I see little serious remedies designed to save the public, much less than to perpetuate the firetrap. And so the corruption continues to smolder and fester, and thereby debilitate the nation.
More than an American scandal, this fraud reaches deep into the halls of power in Europe, some of whose national governments are already failing. What had been the Keating Five is now the Global Finance 500.
People say they understand this, but they really do not understand the implications of it. They intellectualize and theorize around it, try to deal with it by smashing it down into something they can get their mind around and accept. They may even try to turn it to their short term personal financial advantage. But they are not dealing with it and certainly not facing up to it.
The US banking system controls the issue of the reserve currency of the world, which impacts the price of virtually everything that is bought and sold.
And as you might expect there are many whose vested interest is to distract and to change the subject away from it. There is a great deal of money to be made by serving the desire to turn people's attention away from the problem to find someone else to blame, some other problem to focus upon, and some new victim class to absorb the public anger. It is an old story, often repeated in tragedy.
Thirteen Ways to Hide the Truth
But unfortunately, confronting the truth and fixing the situation is key to any sort of sustainable recovery. And this is the trap of crony capitalism and control fraud, when it has nearly exhausted its victims, and is having difficulty finding new ones to maintain its growth and facade.
Until that time there will be a procession of scapegoats, defaults, bailouts, and property seizures, both implicit and explicit, and a growing toll of innocent victims and systemic destruction, ending finally in the collapse of the US national currency and international trade.
If it had not been that the US is so large, and for the time being controls the bulk of the world's reserve currency, it is likely this would have already come to some conclusion before spreading so widely and pervasively. But the situation remains highly unstable and threatening, despite assurances to the contrary.
William K. Black is telling us something very important, as Harry Markopolos had been trying to tell some simple but important things to the investors in Bernie Madoff's investment scheme. The Madoff investors preferred to vilify and ignore him. It appears that the same thing is happening to William Black. And the final outcomes may be similar.
What can one person do besides to spread the word, and demand the truth in their own place and their own way? Support those who stand and tell the truth, sometimes at great cost. Insulate and remove yourself from the fraud as best you can to preserve your wealth and your integrity.
Above all resist the disinformation, propaganda, and distractions, and all the insidious rationalization and convenient skepticism to complicit apathy, making it clear that you will be neither a willing victim nor a silent bystander to the intoxicant of blame and hatred, and the victimization of others designed to turn the people on one another, be they Gypsy, Muslim, Jew or Christian, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, disabled, old, poor, ill or weak, or any other variety of outsider and convenient target.
For once the madness starts, it can never be controlled, and will eventually come for all, and consume all.
The Great American Bank Robbery
Video - Lecture
By William K. Black
1. Why do we have repeated, intensifying economic crises?
2. What can white collar criminology add to our understanding of what's going wrong?
Note: The William K. Black video was first served at this Cafe in August of 2009 in a post titled The Great American Bank Robbery. It was not so widely received at that time as it seems to be now. I view this as a promising development. The events of the past few years are opening people's minds to the possibility that things are not as they appear, and that the financial crisis and reform did not happen for reasons which they had not yet seriously considered.