FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

SubPrime People

Now that bankers of the world have been knocked sideways by American workers in pain – a phenomenon that goes by the name of the “subprime lending crisis” — will the bankers try to fix living conditions for people who make up the subprime base of the global economy? The answer of course is fat chance.

Having once again subprimed the pump of the global economy upon the backs of the most marginalized classes, the banker-driven conversation these days would have us forget the people whose feet are sliding and focus instead on questions of monetary policy. This is globalization as ideology, a mind-framing game that squeezes all it can from flesh and blood workers while denying their basic human value.

Asia Times economist Chan Akya, for example, admits that globalization has allowed bankers from Beijing, Geneva, and Los Angeles to simultaneously milk the labor of Mexican migrant workers in the USA. And he concurs with global consensus that hard times among subprime workers in the USA is the effective trigger for global market tremors. But with a cynical conclusion, he isolates the real pain of “subprime” humanity as a costly political problem to be laid at the feet of the USA administration, and encourages Asian-sphere financiers to turn their investments inward.

Akya’s conclusion is cynical because what remains untouched is the presumption that globalization should continue with top-down arrogance. He gives us no reason to believe, for example, that the increased bargaining power of newly withdrawn Asian financiers will be put to work on anyone’s behalf but bankers who are now able to throw pretty lights upon Tiananmen Square.

And Akya fails to make plain how much Asian bankers owe to American subprime workers who this past decade have been trading with China on a daily basis at Wal-Mart. In sum, Akya’s economics is seedling to the next world war, which is what happens when financiers draw lines between each other on a map.

A lot can be learned about the “subprime” crisis by browsing the abstracts of the Fannie Mae Foundation’s Housing Policy Debates (HPD). There we learn that subprime lending is shorthand for new racism in banking. Instead of “redlining” neighborhoods filled with struggling workers of color, bankers have for the past decade “subprimed” them — giving credit to these working poor at predatory rates (cf: Wyly HPD 15.3).

At the turn of the century, 16.8 percent of households in the USA lived in “housing induced poverty” – the kind of poverty that can be caused by predatory mortgage rates (Kutty HPD 16.1). At any point in time, social investment into these households could have slightly relieved the pain of inequality through housing-allowance entitlements, job improvements, or human rights (cf: Priemus HPD 16.3,4).

In fact, affordable housing helps to grow healthier children (Newman HPD 16.2), which is another way of saying that today’s predatory lending is already replicating tomorrow’s fukked-over class. Is it any wonder therefore that subprime borrowers tend to be disenchanted with the home-owning experience?

The global lesson to be drawn from the subprime crisis is that bankers should be made to take interest in human development, not simply be allowed to extract interest from it, as they build their houses of cards. Or to put it another way, in a globalized world, banking policy is public policy. And public policy has no business taking lessons from predatory economic theories.

Bank bailouts, says Akya, can only damage the image of government. But bank bailouts in the form of mortgage vouchers given to “subprime” working peoples would surely bring us one step closer to globalization with a human heart.

Issuing housing allowances as entitlements has been tried in the Netherlands, and apparently it works well there (Priemus HPD 16.3,4). People who are secure in their housing are people who can afford to dream of better days to come, and such hope does good things for workers, their children, and — do we have to say it? — their employers, too.

Whether you belong to a Party that calls itself Republican, Democrat, or Communist, you could find some way to honestly repay subprime workers for carrying your whole world on their backs these past few years.

GREG MOSES is editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. He can be reached at gmosesx@prodigy.net



 

More articles by:

Greg Moses writes about peace and Texas, but not always at the same time. He is author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. As editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review he has written about racism faced by Black agriculturalists in Texas. Moses is a member of the Texas Civil Rights Collaborative. He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com

August 05, 2020
Roy Eidelson
Black Lives Matter: Resisting the Propaganda of Status Quo Defenders
Melvin Goodman
The Department of Homeland Security: the Ideal Authoritarian Tool
Paul Street
Misleaders at a Funeral: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Eulogizing Racial Justice in the Name of John Lewis
Seiji Yamada
Hiroshima, Technique, and Bioweapons
Vijay Prashad
How Trump Managed to Lead the World with the Worst Response to the COVID Pandemic
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Alternative
Jonas Ecke
The Worst Hunger Season Yet to Come: Global Moral Failure in the Time of Covid-19
Rafiq Kathwari
The Battle for Kashmir
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Arch-Kleptocrat is Found Guilty
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
 U.S. Cold War China Policy Will Isolate the U.S, Not China
Lee Camp
Why Housing Is a Human Right
Sam Pizzigati
For Egalitarians, a Sudden Sense of Possibility
Jonathan Cook
Can Israelis Broaden Their Protests Beyond Netanyahu?
Thomas Knapp
Ten Years After Lieberman’s “Internet Kill Switch,” the War on Freedom Rages On
Binoy Kampmark
Staying on Message: Australia, the US and the AUSMIN Talks
Elliot Sperber
The View From Saturn 
August 04, 2020
John Pilger
Another Hiroshima is Coming…Unless We Stop It Now
Dave Lindorff
Unsung Heroes of Los Alamos: Rethinking Manhattan Project Spies and the Cold War
Kenneth Good
Escalating State Repression and Covid-19: Their Impact on the Poor in Kenya
Dean Baker
We Need an Economic Survival Package Not Another Stimulus
David Rosen
Globalization and the End of the American Dream
John Feffer
The Pandemic Reveals a Europe More United Than the United States
Patrick Cockburn
The Government’s Failed Track-and-Trace System is a Disaster for England
Ramzy Baroud
‘Optimism of the Will’: Palestinian Freedom is Possible Now
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Yale Faculty on Hydroxychloroquine and Its Use in COVID-19
Manuel García, Jr.
Ocean Heat: From the Tropics to the Poles
Sonali Kolhatkar
Why the Idea of Jobless Benefits Scares the Conservative Mind
Greta Anderson
Framing Wolves in New Mexico?
Binoy Kampmark
Pulling Out of Germany: Trump Adjusts the Military Furniture
Shawn Fremstad – Nicole Rodgers
COVID Stimulus Checks Shouldn’t Penalize One-Parent Households
Adam Shah
The 1 Percent’s Attack on Unemployment Benefits is a Sign of Our Broken Democracy
Evaggelos Vallianatos
On the Beauty of Life
B. R. Gowani
Mohammed Rafi: Singer and Human Par Excellence
David Krieger
Eight A-Bomb Haiku
August 03, 2020
Linda Pentz Gunter
The Resistible Rise of Nuclear Gangsters…and Their Downfall
John G. Russell
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
Cal Winslow
Their Heroes and Ours: California’s Health Care Crisis
David Barber
Renouncing White Privilege: A Left Critique of Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility”
Linda G. Ford
Free Joy Powell! America’s Political Prisoner for Fighting Police Brutality
Prabir Purkayastha
Trump’s Withdrawal From WHO: a Cover-Up for His Abject Failure on COVID-19
Dean Baker
The Plunge in Consumption of Services Leads to a Record 32.9 Percent Drop in GDP
Ramzy Baroud
Human Rights Defenders: Palestinian Eyewitness Testimony of the Execution of Abdul Fattah al-Sharif by Israeli Soldier, Elor Azaria
Karen J. Greenberg
Accountability is Gone in America
Cesar Chelala
A Wrong Message for the Pandemic
Jonah Raskin
Chesa Boudin: Reformer in the San Francisco DA’s Office
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail