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Debt is the Tool of Modern Imperialism

Greece and Global Class War

by ROB URIE

Then

By 2008 the neoliberal project that had been propelled by bullshit, wishful thinking and copious quantities of bank money freed from any pretense that it could ever be repaid was coming unwound. The same ‘favor’ that American mortgage lenders had done communities of color and exurbs in the U.S. found peripheral Europe’s political ‘leaders’ and plutocrats ready, willing and able to borrow money that stood little chance of being repaid by them. As soon as it became publicly evident that trillions in bank loans were unlikely to be repaid bankers, and the government officials who work for them, looked around to see what groups were (1) able to pay interest, and eventually principal, on debt that they had seen no direct benefit from, and (2) lacked the political power to resist being forced to repay it.

Lest this seem too diabolical to be plausible, this is the basic lending model that has been used by Western banks and backed by Western governments and the ‘independent’ institutions they control for some six decades now. The U.S., Germany or France have long lent money for infrastructure projects, agricultural ‘upgrades’ like the Green Revolution and direct purchases of technology and / or munitions. This indebted the citizens-by-degree of both internally and externally organized nation-states while making large profits for the corporations who could sell their wares thanks to the ‘largesse’ of Western states and banks. This practice in some measure explains how corrupt and / or incompetent government officials and plutocrats in Greece managed to line their own pockets while permanently indebting the good citizens of that storied nation.

From a creditor’s perspective pools of wealth like pensions, bank deposits and health care funds tend to be fungible and therefore ripe for the picking. That ordinary citizens in many cases labored their entire lives and forewent direct compensation in exchange for these benefits has had little to no bearing on their being taken to settle debts incurred by others. Lest these seem wildly primitive, backwater type acts, the current battle over public and private pensions in the U.S. is precisely and exactly this. And while the Federal government backs the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) limited guarantee of bank deposits in the U.S., bipartisan ‘Grand Bargains’ and newly negotiated details of coming bank bailouts suggest that bank deposits may be about as ‘sacred’ as Social Security and public sector pensions in the next crisis.

The most corrupt large-scale bank bailouts were engineered in the U.S. by Democrat President Barack Obama and his Lieutenants Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers following from (George W.) Bush administration efforts. The decision was made early on to fully restore Wall Street while leaving the major players who had destroyed the global...

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