Boom done with mirrors?

I thought this piece might be too simplistic to pass muster with someone more familiar with economics than m'self, but B says he thinks it's probably too abstruse for the casual browser, too much attempted too minimally. Must be just right then. I dunno. It does it for me, but you judge for yourself.

The argument is that it was basically a crisis of overproduction which drove the U.S. stock market boom, but it was a singleminded concentration on the needs of investors which created the disaster we visited on the third world but which has now landed in our own lap.

Industry after industry had made more products—autos to computer chips—than could be sold for a profit on the market. Market saturation of a particular product didn’t happen by itself. The “why” of the story is that the working majority hasn’t been able to buy what it has made.

Accordingly, overproduction reduced profitability for those who buy labor-power. No profits, no investment in more productive capacity. The result was lots of money with no place to go.

What to do? The response from the titans of the global market economy was twofold. One was that investment migrated from industrial production to financial speculation.

The other was the destruction of productive capacity. The International Monetary Fund and World Bank in part enforced policies that purposely plunged Third World and newly industrialized nations into depressions that devastated people’s living standards.

In the meantime, investment seeking profits flowed into the U.S. stock market.
[While] the flow of foreign funds into the U.S. [helped] consumers and corporations live beyond their means....[the] unsustainable trend of U.S. spending based on lending was given a boost by the nation's high-flying stock market.

In any case, the boom is now bust, and investors around the world know it. Is there a lesson going forward? Of course there is. The question is only whether we can get rid of enough of the fools and villains at the top to do something about it.
... describing the end of what some have called the speculative boom of all time by sidestepping what led to its creation covers up what needs to be covered. Namely, that a market economy system based on production to meet the needs of investors instead of human needs is the problem for the vast majority of humanity.

About this Entry

Published on June 26, 2002 12:40 PM.

previous entry: A first? "CFO fired"

next entry: New federal police department to be very secret