Saturday, October 11, 2008
Refuge, flight, battle rejoined, victory, retribution
Brad Setser looks at a flood of demand for US Treasuries and suspects that it's central banks shifting into the securest dollar asset they can find; and away from other dollar-denominated assets.
The first comment on the same post says that the next stage is a run on the dollar.
Continuing the Tolkien fantasy theme, one recalls the flight to Helm's Deep, and the eventual breach. Ultimately, though at a cost, the good side wins, of course (Denninger explains today how we can face the mess and clean it up).
If he's right - and he's been right so far - it's first cash, then out of cash. But there's not enough gold to act as the world's currency (unless a horrific amount of wealth is permanently destroyed), and if we start up a new fiat currency, the moral criminals of the banking class will play the game all over again.
I note that Max Hastings in the Daily Mail calls for bankers to be "named and shamed"; this is milksop stuff. Yet they're still going to get billions in bonuses this year! Why does the Proceeds of Crime Bill not apply? Heavy, heavy fines, so that generations of bankers and traders will remember and hesitate. How about the last 5 years' bonuses, as a benchmark? Punitur quia peccatum est ("punishment is to be inflicted, because a crime has been committed").
But even that's not enough. What about the political class that opened the financial sluices to alleviate the discomfort of 2002-2003? And did it several times before, too? (See Jesse today on Greenspan's bubbles.) How do we mete out condign punishment to those greedy for power, as well as those for money?
I repeat, this is a crisis of democracy.