Systemic failure – in the news the week ending March 16, 2008

Paul Krugman in the New York Times:

I used to think that the major issues facing the next president would be how to get out of Iraq and what to do about health care. At this point, however, I suspect that the biggest problem for the next administration will be figuring out which parts of the financial system to bail out, how to pay the cleanup bills and how to explain what it’s doing to an angry public.

Paul Krugman “Betting the Bank”(March 14, 2008)


From the Independent UK:

One UK economist warned that the world is now close to a 1930s-like Great Depression, while New York traders said they had never experienced such fear. The Fed’s emergency funding procedure was first used in the Depression and has rarely been used since. A Goldman Sachs trader in New York said: “Everyone is in a total state of shock, aghast at what is happening. No one wants to talk, let alone deal; we’re just standing by waiting. Everyone is nervous about what is going to emerge when trading starts tomorrow.”

Margaret Pagano, “Wall Street fears for next Great Depression” (March 16, 2008)


In other news:

Greg Palast links exposé of Governor Eliot Spitzer to his exposé of the banks –

Greg Palast, “Eliot’s Mess” (March 14, 2008)

One Response

  1. Thanks for giving Greg Palast’s piece a bit of spotlight, Ellen.

    The show being put on for us by the complicit news media makes no distinction between substantive events, such as the economic meltdown which the ‘Federal’ Reserve is attempting to avert, and the magician’s distraction of the latest tragic tale of some high-profile entertainer or politician. But those human-interest tales, which are crafted to snag our emotional intelligence, can also hide a deeper story, as is the case with Eliot Spitzer.

    Surface details are all you’ll see on big media’s stage, and there will be something else to distract your attention before that vagrant thought about searching out ‘the rest of the story’ can metastasize into a cancerous bump of curiosity. Those kinds of tumor must be excised before they become noticeable, after all, or the veneer of inconsequentiality might be scarred.

    Being aware of the show biz aspect of ‘the news’ requires a change of focus. While you maintain that focus, you can see the staging, not just the show. But all it takes is a moment’s distraction, and you revert to being just another member of the audience. So don’t forget to nudge the person in the next seat, and quietly point out the stagehands that aren’t far enough out into the wings. When enough of us are out of those seats, the whole theater will vanish.

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