Friday, June 15, 2012

On "god's work" and finance capital

Doug Vaughan sent me a “quick note-reminder re: predatory finance capitalism” in response to my post on Eric Mann and Vietnam here.

“Like warong in Indonesian puppet theater, there is real class conflict behind the scrim of financial paper, often hidden from the players themselves.

The sleazy manipulations by Goldman Sachs are easily dismissed as only affecting the rich, the 1%, hedge fund investors, etc., with G-S playing both ends against the middle. But G-S is neither unique nor even particularly flagrant, only the most successful and therefore emblematic practitioner of what Blankfein called "god's work" -- and whether it's even legal is almost beside the point, or misses the political-economic (class!) point in the ethical-moral framing of the problem. As with "sovereign (public, governmental, state) debt" issues mentioned in an earlier post, you ignore the fact that many workers' pension funds are the institutional investors that have been gulled, swindled in the credit-default swaps and other schemes by which financiers exact huge commissions from both sides of the swap, purchase and sale; when the underlying instrument proves less valuable than touted, there are real losers -- usually workers' share of surplus value reposed in pension funds.”

Doug is right and one might add: steamily re-imagined as “God’s work,” these manipulations brought down the whole international economy, impoverishing millions all over the world and inaugurating a second great depression…

And regulation, like Glass-Steagall (what prevented deposit banks from speculating with the money of ordinary people from the depression until Clinton, at the behest of Phil Gramm and Larry Summers, abolished it; Romney is Mr. Unregulate the 1%), does have an effect.

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