Inside Job is a great documentary. When I viewed it the cinema audience clapped at the end. Watch it here for free (Hat tip Jesse).
It does an excellent job of highlighting the corruption behind the Global Financial Crisis. But it does not cover the deliberate breaking of the law on the transfer of property titles in many states. The lack of criminal prosecutions of senior bankers in relation to this is beyond scandalous, it proof of how far down the path of crony capitalism America has strayed. Let’s hope this is not another case of where the USA leads, the rest of the English speaking developed world follows.
If the legal system continues to fail to do its job there will eventually be a wholesale loss of trust in the system. When that happens the country becomes ungovernable by anything other than brute force and terror. Let’s not go there. That’s why this report of a sheriff launching a criminal investigation for mortgage fraud is so heartening:
Oh Mr. Sheriffs — GO GET ‘EM!: Christopher Conley, High Sheriff of Carroll County NH, holds a press conference at the County complex on 7/2/12. He announces that he is forming a task force to investigate mortgage fraud. Fraud is occurring across the United States. Properties being foreclosed on that are owned outright. Financial institutions that stake claim to a property without a deed. The Sheriff states: “In each case there is no accountability be the financial institution, no one to present a reply, no decision maker to speak with. If you are a property owner and are experiencing any of the above. Contact the Sheriff at CarrollCountysheriff@carrollcountynh.net, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Attn: Deputy Brian King, PO Box 190, Ossipee, NH 03864, 539-2285 x317. Hat tip Market Ticker Guy
There is more at stake than many realize. The tide of sleaze and corruption must be turned around before the descent into despotism and anarchy. Otherwise the resultant conflagration will leave civil war like levels of carnage. The lives of many will be brutal and short or brutally cut short.
Since the making of Inside job we have had the MF Global theft of segregated accounts and the LIBOR manipulation scandal. The public exposure of the LIBOR manipulation will turn many trusting of people into a diehard cynics. The implications of the manipulations are enormous:
The Libor Scandal Explained: Barclays Bank has today been fined a combined £290M by regulators in the USA, UK and EU for manipulating the LIBOR; an acronym which stands for “London Interbank Offered Rate”. If you think this doesn’t sound sexy, you’re right. But if you think it isn’t critically important and one of the worst scandals to be exposed from the GFC so far, you’re wrong. The LIBOR is meant to be an objectively-set interest rate. It is used as the reference rate for an estimate $350 trillion in derivatives, not to mention an unknowable number of mortgages, international loans and financing arrangements. Many GFC scandals have involved institutions and hedge funds swindling each other out of paper wealth which never really existed. This one has involved one or more banks ripping off any number of governments, businesses, pensions funds and homeowners, and the fines so far are only the precursor to civil lawsuits and further criminal investigations. Hat John “Dinkum” Wagner.
MF Global shows you that you can’t be sure your money is safe anywhere in the system. A recipe for money under the mattress, falling prices and a full on depression if ever there was one. Of course many have been aware of this problem for some time – do check out some of the links in the attached document. Allocated accounts aren’t what they used to be. “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine too” comes to mind. Who else might that have appealed to?
People’s foul nature echoes down the ages. It is not just in adversity that the character of a man is revealed, but in their moments of greatest triumph. It is not just absolute power that corrupts, little Hitlers can spring up anywhere. Perhaps there was more to the old fashioned cultural pressure to be a gracious winner than first meets the eye. It evolved in the culture for a reason, it may have increased the ability of the culture to propagate through time. I’m not sure if the bragging self aggrandizement of much of contemporary English speaking society will prove similarly helpful for its constituents. Time will tell.
In the mean time, stay safe. Do not trust even formally trustworthy brands with your money. There are tougher times ahead, but they will not be totally unprecedented. History may not repeat, but it does rhyme. The nimble and quick witted can not just survive, but thrive. Although life being what it is even the best of us can be caught by black or grey swan events. But setting in place fall back options now, while it is still possible, can pay enormous dividends. Your health as well as your wealth may depend on it.
There are actions and options you can take to maximize your freedom of movement in the troubled times ahead. These will greatly increase your chance of maintaining some control over your destiny. Let’s do what we can now so we can later be called happy. Happy in times when the truth of the old adage “Until he is dead, do not yet call a man happy, but only lucky.” becomes more apparent. But these will be the subject of future posts.