Thursday, 27 May 2010

Financial Markets a Bigger Terrorist Threat than Al Qaeda?


By Girish Menon



In 2004, after the Congress coalition won an unsurprising win over 'India Shining's' BJP, the stock market operators began pounding the Sensex and the incoming government's hand was forced to appoint Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram to key positions in the Indian government. This calmed the stock markets and the Congress coalition was forced to dilute if not abandon it's more redistributive economic manifesto. This is one of the many instances when the interests of the financial markets assumed greater importance than the will of the majority.


We have in the last few years also witnessed government bail outs of banks all over the world. There was unprecedented hysteria stirred up all over the world and hitherto governments who were dogmatically opposed to nationalisation or subsidies were opening up their treasuries to bail out the stock market crooks and gamblers.


In Europe, governments who were forced to increase their spending to get their economies out of recession are now being warned by the same crooks and gamblers that if their books are not balanced their credit ratings would be lowered. Concerted attacks on stock markets and the Euro are the weapons used to get EU governments to impose economic policies that support financial markets and against the interest of the majority. The Greek example probably followed by the threat to Spain and Portugal are examples of governments being bullied by financial markets.


We as ordinary citizens have been repeatedly told that Islamic terrorists among others are undemocratically trying to undermine the mandate given to elected governments. Hence democratic governments need to use force to defeat them. However, especially in the last few years financial markets operators have been dictating government policy by threatening a collapse of the stock market or the currency. The owners and managers of financial market firms have no democratic mandate and yet seem to have a free run of the public purse. Tax money has been diverted from welfare programmes to prop up stock markets and currencies which are continuously being hammered. These government bailout expenditures may even be higher than government expenditure on 'fighting terrorists'.


Al Qaeda and the Taliban appear small fry as compared to the movers in the world of finance in their ability to make democratic governments implement anti democratic policies. So will I be wrong in concluding that financial market terrorists are a bigger threat to economies than Al Qaeda, Taliban et al?

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