by John Ward
Bear with the pessimistic reality of this post: there is light at the end of the tunnel we’re in – only a lack of citizen determination can deny it to us.
The strong possibility that there has always been a lot more to Covid19 than meets the eye is being increasingly borne out as events unfold – or unravel, depending on your viewpoint.
The most striking evidential dimension of this opinion is the 180° change of Establishment mood from hyper-pessimism about the coronavirus to turbo-charged gung-ho optimism about how quickly the world’s economies will get back up to speed. This is a level of cognitive dissonance that only liars would adopt: the financialised global economy was showing obvious signs of debt-doom before C19 came to the fifty kinds of rescue that have helped everyone from Emmanuel Macron to the New York Fed dig themselves out of a pit while carefully avoiding the pendulum.
You may have thought such a thing impossible, but to my mind, optimism about rapid recovery is an even bigger falsehood than Novel Coronavirus as the Impaler of Mankind.
The distractive power of Covid19 spin on steroids cannot be overestimated. In Blighty – our own little corner of the Anglosphere world – it has weakened citizen protection against the obligatory, and thrown the Political Class into another kind of spin entirely. But such is applicable to every sphere on the planet.
The two key elements here are the slavish votecentricity of politicians on the one hand, and the naked ambition of unaccountable bureaucrats and advisers on the other.
From the moment the virus reached our shores, Whitehall mandarins in general – and Megamandarin Sir Mark Sedwill – had the upper hand over the new Johnson Administration. This is an absolutely crucial point to take on board, because Sedwill is a Trojan Horse packed with Sir Humpreys armed to the teeth with devious guile, and utterly committed to the EU > NATO > neocon agenda of competing blocs.
Lacking the experience or expertise to grasp the profundity of Civil Service divisive tendencies when faced with a Government they don’t like, El Greco BoJo and his inner circle gratefully accepted the odd decision by Mark Sedwill to wheel out a virology “expert” called Neal Ferguson….whose sole credentials consisted of three previous failures and a left-wing bias against everything that the Borisonians stand for.
Ferguson played on the politician’s fear of that ethereal Mistress, Public Opinion, and the Johnson crew’s terror of carrying the can for deaths.
However, informed sources are suggesting that the Number Ten inner circle has woken up to at least some of the sabotage that went into (a) the ridiculous decision to shut all ages up in their homes, and (b) the shambolic failure of Whitehall & NHS bureaucracy to focus on the genuinely vulnerable over-60s demographic.
Yesterday afternoon, word began to creep out that the PM was keen to appoint a Coronavirus Tsar not answerable to Sedwill – but loyal solely to him, the elected Prime Minister. Unfortunately, this turns out to be Simon Case, who has accepted the previously dormant role of Number Ten permanent secretary.
Oh dear. He (left) used to be pps to the thinly disguised Remainer Theresa May. He was previously Director-General at the UK-EU Partnership – liaising closely with the G7 and G20. Before that, Simon Case was Director of Strategy at GCHQ.
Sir Mark Sedwill must be laughing his head off at the idea of Bojo’s new Tsar being a fan of Boris, UK independence and Brexit.
In fact, overall Sedwill continues to take the piss. Boris has given a £5 billion go-ahead to Britain’s plan for an independent satellite system. It is alleged that Sir Mark has been encouraging the departments concerned to lobby against the scheme on the standard grounds of it being “poor value for money”. Admittedly, no area of British life has more experience of getting lousy value for money than the Civil Service….but of course, Sir Mark Sedwill’s main concern is to scuttle any plan that proves Britain’s ability to thrive on its own.
None of this, however, explains why the élite “confidence” in rapid recovery is suddenly everywhere in the media. For the answer to that seeming conundrum, we must look elsewhere by gaining some height in our helicopter.
The phrase ‘confidence trick’ has always been one of the best, for it refers not just to the naive confidence of the mark in the scammer, but also the air of confidence given off by the fraudster. Andrew Bailey – the new and somewhat languid Governor of the Bank of England – has been giving interviews far and wide of late, the general drift of their content being that the Old Hag in Threadneedle Street will throw caution to the winds when it comes to QEing the UK economy back into shape. The Merkel-Macron rescue deal for the EU is being presented in the same manner. Yet these are the same people who were telling us beforehand how only tight monetary controls would see us through.
A heavily financialised global economy dominated by the unreal valuations of bourses and their various alchemic practices has always been hugely dependent on confidence. The share price of Tesla cars, for example, means every model they sell must retail around the $280,000 mark. The New York Fed has pumped trillions into the repo market’s liquidity desert, but still the Dow Jones index stands at a farcical 24,465.
It is my belief that the stock market’s price performance miles ahead of real economic returns goes back some three decades: even since 2009, the annual rate of bourse returns for investors has been 14.3%, whereas economic growth per annum has barely exceeded 2%.
These are the facts: the overreaction to Covid19 has cost the world’s economies many trillions in lost gdp….but long before the virus made an appearance, it was obvious that priced into share valuations was a surreal assumption that somehow, future corporate performance on the ground would ‘catch up’.
The stark reality, by contrast, was and is that only unsustainable levels of credit could keep even a 2% growth rate going. And allied to that, only fiat currencies – freed from success-related ties to real gdp and the value of gold – could retain a real buying power sufficient to keep the population at large in retail therapy.
All of it is about confidence, ‘because we say so’, Zirp borrowing rates and distraction.
Well, we had the distraction of a hyped global pandemic, but that distraction has run out of road. So now, the narrative is “We’re gonna spend, spend, spend but look – miracle of miracles – we all stuck together through deadly C19, and you didn’t die….apply that determination to recovery, and all will be well.”
It is of course completely devoid of any logic or factual basis – but then, so was the South Seas Trading Company.
It’s all about fear and greed. They made us scared of our own shadows; now the 3% want us to believe in the power of phlogiston to transmute credit into the biggest gold find in history.
Reality will intervene sooner rather than later.
The world’s banks are now more stretched than they were when Lehman Brothers collapsed. The lending requirements they’ll be asked to fulfil are way beyond them. There will be failures, and those failures will take creditors down with them. They will also talk politicians into salvation, and that in turn will dilute the buying-power of currencies at every point of the compass.
I believe it is the ironic way of the financialised, globally mercantile world we inhabit that oversupply of “unbought” goods should make them cheaper to buy – but falling demand caused by unemployment, disappearing welfare safety-nets and decimated real currency values must soon make those goods unaffordable.
However, there is an opportunity here that could free most of us from dependence on ever more controlling élites hellbent on reducing us to serfdom.
The opportunity is a 21st century equivalent of barter – that is, physical and localised markets where honest citizens can exchange goods in a mutually beneficial way.
You can’t tax barter. Even if you tried, the freedom of people to exchange without the use of currency is not something any government could stop. Barter removes the need for bank deposits. It becomes the next stage in bitcoin, p2p Web3 ideas, plastic currency-blind Worldpay sans frontières cards, crowd-funding and so forth.
There is no need for such a sector of any economy to revert to an unreal mediaeval farce of Holy Grails and witches as exemplified by Monty Python sketches. Establishment trolls are desperate to seal mutualist ideas in that fantasy frame, but then that’s their job. The truth is that barter markets would quickly develop into remote online swapping sites based on physical delivery. They would, comparatively overnight, collapse the power of multiple supermarkets, return Personal Destiny Control (PDC) to local communities, and render the banking system (and its vision of electronic Smart Card money) irrelevant.
I’m not talking about merely a mindless extension of EBay; if The People really value freedom – even the most malign cloud is lined with silver bullets with which to kill globalist monopolism and centralised mega-bloc control.
Give it some thought. Give me your views. And give some leeway to the idea of reducing our dependence on malignant Establishment mendacity.