August 14, 2007

Beware the Bail Out on Our Backs, and Inflation

Julian Delasantellis, writing for the Asia Times, exposes the central banks via a funny analogy.

"There's an old story about the late British statesman Winston Churchill at a party. Probably on one of those many nights where never in the field of human excess had so much cognac, brandy and scotch been consumed by a person who historians now say was not an alcoholic, he staggered up to a socialite matron and posed a question:"

Churchill: "Madam, would you sleep with me for 5 million pounds?" (In the 1930s, when the British pound was worth more than twice as much to the US dollar than it is now, this was a particularly impressive sum over which to surrender one's virtue.)

Woman: "My goodness, Mr Churchill ... Well, I suppose ... we would have to discuss terms, of course."

Churchill: "Would you sleep with me for 5 pounds?"

Woman: "Mr Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!"

Churchill: "Madam, we've already established that. Now we are haggling about the price."

"Thanks to last week's events in the financial markets, we now know the price at which the world's three largest central banks, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, will drop their posturings about the importance of setting good examples regarding promoting sound banking, lending and credit usage policies and put their principles up for sale."

We are witnessing what happens when legislators change the rules to promote rampant capitalism, and the bubble it creates begins to deflate. In the US, the central bank (Federal Reserve) buys up bad debt (mortgage backed securities held by banks) thereby pumping new money into the phony "free market." Economics 101 tells us this monetary inflation will lead to price inflation as the value of the free flowing dollar drops.

But get ready to fight with Congress. The next thing we'll be hearing is that some of these banks and high-flying financial institutions, which give out six-figure bonuses, are "too big to let fail." Congress (read "the US tax payer") will be asked to bail them out. Our answer should be "No." Economics 101 says that businesses must be allowed to fail so that the word "risk" means something, and to clean out the dead wood.


Asia Times, August 14, 2007,
Central banks' easy virtue, easy money

Julian Delasantellis is a management consultant, private investor and educator in international business in the US state of Washington. He can be reached at

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