Sunday, June 17, 2012

Macrobusiness — Finance and the Mafia State

As I have argued before, it is impossible to deregulate financial markets because money is rules about value and obligation. So what happened instead when financial markets were “deregulated” is that the governments’ role as the setter of rules was handed over to traders, who made up their own rules: more than $700 trillion of derivatives, intense high frequency trading and so on. It results in a weird contradiction: governments trying to save their systems from the new rules being created by the traders, yet the traders relying on the state’s rules about finance to overlay their games of meta money. Meta money traders have to have conventional share trades between buyers and sellers to apply algorithms to manipulate the markets at high speed.

You need conventional commerce in commodities to use derivatives to play commodity futures, for example. It is why governments are constantly attacked by players in the financial markets who are simultaneously hard at work exploiting those “errors” to make money. Meta hypocrisy to accompany the meta money, I suppose.

The tsunami of this meta money, which is borderless, stateless and has no thought for its effect on governments or polities, still relies for its very existence on the rules set up by governments. And as has been obvious since the GFC, governments and tax payers are expected to clean up the mess when it inevitably all goes wrong. That can be done once. When it goes wrong a second time, the firepower will not be there, as is increasingly evident in Europe. The conventional rules will have been weakened too much by the rules invented by the traders of meta money....
The danger is that it is a road to anarchy, no matter how often one quotes Adam Smith and fantasises about the invisible hand. Even Alan Greenspan eventually figured that out: that letting self interest and greed run rampant is not a sure fire route to an altruistic result. Such liberalist logic can be defensible in commercial markets; it is nonsense in finance.
Rather than Bobbit’s market state, the breakdown of rules, the capturing of policy and the utter mess that is confused public and private interests suggests something more redolent of Moises Niam’s “Mafia State”.
It represents a comprehensive failure of government, and will not lead to the creation of a new type of state. It is rather a new type of chaos.
Read it at Macrobusiness
Finance and the Mafia State
Posted by Sell on News in Capitalism
(h/t Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism)

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