The monopoly of democracy….
The International Monetary Fund has had an interesting week. On the one hand it has been demanding more money from its member countries (so much for the cupboard being ‘bare’ – funny how it has suddenly found extra capacity) while on the other hand warning about the dangers of fiscal cuts which imperial growth.
Obviously the last development is quite a coup for opponents of austerity economics but it will its a development that on the surface looks a bit weird – surely the IMF are the high priests of neo-liberal economics? Well, yes they are but their perspective is a little different. Firstly, they are obviously asking governments for more money so that partly explains their stance. What they really mean is dont make cuts which endanger the size of the new contribution we are asking you to make.
Secondly, however I would say its position as a supra-national organisation means that it is not as in-hoc to the finance sector as national governments. In fact, national governments are best described as the bound and gagged hostage of their banks and financial markets. They may scream but nobody currently hears it. If we rewind then we start with the market crashes, then move onto bailout and end up in debt and austerity. The factors that caused the crash are multiple and range from a steady and crippling accumulation of household debt, depressed wages etc right through to reckless speculation, all played their part.
However, what caused nations to develop such elephant sized deficits was not feckless public spending as is oft stated but the rush of Western democracies, to a man, to bailout their banks. This in turn occurred because of the immense political power and influence that the finance sector and banks wield over politicians and politics. This influence has grown, not declined, with the advent of the crisis purely and simply because governments of all shades have spent so much money on an endless cycle of bailouts that the political fate of the politicians is bound to the fiscal fate of the banks.
Our democracy is, in reality, the monopoly property of banking giants and City whizzes who have successfully locked politicians of all stripes into an everlasting embrace which none can escape. This is a tragedy for our democracy because it can only lead to be it being less representative and increasingly alienated from the people it is meant to serve and represent. Not that the banks mind – all they want is a government that will continue to be their cash-cow. Alot of political chatter has been going on about vested interests – well, it is my submission that this is the number 1 vested interested that is crippling our country and has its slimy tentacles wrapped round the throat of our democracy and choking the life out of it. If we are waiting for politicians to break free of this choke-hold and fight back, sadly, I fear we may be waiting along time.