Crise Global 63

Verão quente 2009
Esta globalização acabou!

Nationalization of troubled banks would allow for a “swift and orderly” restructuring, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told the Financial Times of London in an interview this week. — Dayton Business Journal.

…even the German water supply could be sold off one day in what Di Fabio calls the WTO’s “bazaar atmosphere.” — in “Germany Considers Putting Brakes on EU Power”. By Dietmar Hipp in Karlsruhe.

… the world is only at the beginning of a depression that will last for quite a while and will get far worse than it is now. The immediate issue for governments is not how to recover but how to survive the growing popular anger they are all, without exception, facing. — in “The Politics of Economic Disaster”. By Immanuel Wallerstein.

No próximo dia 2 de Abril terá início em Londres a segunda cimeira do G20The London Summit 2009. Para alguns observadores (1) esta será a última oportunidade de sair da actual crise sistémica do Capitalismo sem passar previamente por uma interrupção proteccionista profunda das actuais regras neoliberais da globalização. Dada, porém, a dessintonia crescente entre a propaganda populista e piedosa da generalidade dos governos mundiais e a manifesta inércia neoliberal da maioria deles, creio que as probabilidades de um fracasso da cimeira de Londres são muito elevadas. E assim sendo, temos que nos preparar para a inevitabilidade de uma mudança profunda dos termos de troca mundiais, a qual aponta basicamente para dois cenários possíveis e alternativos:

  • a deslocação, ao fim de 600 anos, do epicentro do imperialismo mundial — do Ocidente para o Oriente (2):
  • a divisão do planeta em duas novas zonas de influência protegidas por barreiras alfandegárias e financeiras claras, tendo por meridiano alargado de divisão e neutralidade o Grande Médio Oriente (ver mapa), e por zonas de disputa e “descoberta”, a África subsaariana, a Austrália e as zonas polares.

Em qualquer dos casos, Portugal, apesar da extrema fragilidade económica e política que actualmente atravessa, encontra-se particularmente bem situado para aproveitar a crucial importância que o Atlântico terá ao longo do dramático período de ajustamento das placas tectónicas da geoestratégia mundial.

A Europa precisa de duas cabeças efectivas de comando, assentes em dois triângulos estratégicos: o triângulo Paris-Berlim-Istambul, e o triângulo Londres-Lisboa-Madrid. O directório e a burocracia de Bruxelas têm que encolher e levar uma volta quanto antes, e a oportunidade para tal surgirá quando, ao longo da presente crise, se revelar a sua notória e paquidérmica incompetência. As iminentes falências da Irlanda e do Reino Unido, e em todo o caso, a profunda crise económica que não deixará de afectar estes dois países demasiado atrelados à dívida norte-americana, levá-los-à a perceber no prazo de uma década que o melhor mesmo será estabelecer uma forte aliança intra-regional com Portugal e Espanha.

Para lá das trapalhadas de um regime político —o português— à beira de um ataque de nervos, mas também cada vez mais próximo de uma imprescindível reestruturação do seu quadro partidário e da emergência de uma nova cidadania —activa, responsável, competente, organizada em redes sociais flexíveis, e com crescente influência política, social e cultural—, é preciso olhar com olhos de ver para o futuro. Precisamos urgentemente de uma visão!

Do meu ponto de vista, é preciso fazer apenas quatro grandes coisas:

  • recuperar muito rapidamente a vocação atlântica de Portugal e em geral da Península Ibérica, com tudo o que isso implica na renovação geral e estruturante das perspectivas económicas de curto, médio e longo prazo;
  • avançar rapidamente para a formação de uma União Ibérica no quadro do Euro e da União Europeia, tendo por capitais dessa União, Lisboa e Madrid (esta União deverá ser vista como passo transitório de uma união estratégica mais alargada, que incluirá no futuro a Irlanda, a Escócia e o Reino Unido, configurando-se então o Eixo Atlântico da Europa);
  • acabar imediatamente com a captura dos estados, governos e serviços públicos pela lógica neoliberal (desastrosa e falida) do Capitalismo, recuperando democraticamente o controlo público inteligente dos territórios e dos recursos estratégicos que aos povos pertencem;
  • reformar profundamente o edifício constitucional da democracia, tornando-o muitíssimo mais simples, participativo, responsável, fiável, transparente, solidário e justo.

Não creio, infelizmente, que estas quatros mudanças venham a ocorrer antes de passarmos por dificuldades ainda maiores do que aquelas que já estamos a viver. A conjuntura internacional aponta, porém, para um agravamento profundo e prolongado da actual crise de endividamento catastrófico do Ocidente. De uma maneira ou doutra seremos pois obrigados a redefinir estrategicamente as nossas prioridades, assim como a inventar novas formas de trabalho, de colaboração e de vida.

Não vale a pena perdermos-nos pelos novelos impotentes e corruptos das várias burocracias instaladas, como não vale a pena desperdiçar muito mais tempo com bodes expiatórios, por mais que estes mereçam ir para a cadeia, ou ser irradiados da esfera pública. Cumpram-se as leis e a Justiça, castiguem-se os culpados rapidamente, e ponha-se o país de novo a trabalhar e sonhar com melhores mundos! Quanto menos tempo gastarmos a lamber as nossas feridas, maiores vantagens teremos na casa de partida da nova era que se avizinha a passos largos — seja ela qual for.

ÚLTIMA HORA

Nem de propósito, 5 horas depois deste post ter ido para o ar, chegam-nos, via RTP e TSF, notícias interessantes de uma reunião preparada por Ângela Merkel sobre a agenda da Cimeira de Londres, marcada para o próximo dia 2 de Abril. A ler e seguir com atenção…

Europa avança para regulação e fiscalização de todos os mercados

22-02-2009 (RTP) — O grupo de países europeus do G20, reunidos hoje na Alemanha na cidade de Berlim onde preparam a cimeira de Londres de 2 de Abril, chegaram a um consenso sobre a necessidade de “nenhum mercado financeiro, nenhum produto financeiro, nenhum actor dos mercados poder agir sem regulação ou fiscalização”.

Europeus querem concretizar nova arquitectura financeira em Londres

22-02-2009 (TSF) — «Estamos convencidos de que, em conjunto, poderemos resolver a crise, e que a União Europeia dará o seu contributo», disse em conferência de imprensa no final dos trabalhos a anfitriã da Cimeira, a chanceler alemã Ângela Merkel.

A chefe do governo alemão anunciou que os países europeus do G-20 advogarão em Londres um controlo efectivo de todos os produtos e mercados financeiros, e também dos chamados fundos Hedge, altamente especulativos, e das actividades das agências de notificação financeira.

… A chanceler anunciou ainda que os países europeus do G-20 querem combater os chamados «paraísos fiscais» e as zonas económicas pouco transparentes, através da criação de sanções.

…A proposta de Berlim para criar uma Carta Global da Economia sustentável, que incluía princípios éticos para a actividade de todos os estados, mereceu o apoio dos restantes países europeus do G20, e deverá ser debatida também na Cimeira de Londres, e mais tarde na Cimeira do G8, em Itália.

O primeiro-ministro britânico Gordon Brown, depois de agradecer a iniciativa da sua homóloga germânica de promover a Cimeira em Berlim, sublinhou que «deve ser dada toda a prioridade às preocupações das pessoas que têm hipotecas de casas para pagar, às pessoas que têm medo de perder os empregos e às pessoas que precisam de arranjar capital e não sabem como».

NOTAS

  1. A very simple image illustrates the global insolvency characteristic of today’s global financial system: the financial base which banks, insurers and global financial institutions were resting upon, is collapsing in the same way as a city built on a huge fault would collapse, suddenly realizing that what was meant to be solid land intended to firmly support the city’s buildings is nothing but a thin crust of earth over a mixture of a void, toxic gas and unstable ballast. Of course the financial equivalent of this mixture is the highly volatile combination of US Dollars, USD-denominated assets and debts, produced in particular by the US, the UK and a number of developed and developing economies.

    This situation is not at all addressed by any of the measures taken today against the crisis worldwide. US, EU, Japanese and Chinese leaders content themselves with injecting massive amounts of new liquidity in the form of Dollars, Euros, Yen or Yuan, and with trying to substitute public debts for toxic private ones, as if adding more gas and exchanging very unstable ballast for unstable ballast would prevent the city from collapsing. In fact, these massive injections of liquidity, especially in the US where the amounts involved are now beyond belief (close to USD 10,000-billion in one year), result in an even more rarified gas created by a continual depreciation of the value money; while the exponential increase of public debt is making public assets (T-Bonds in particular) as toxic as the private ones they are supposed to replace.

    … the disappearance of the global financial base will result, at the end of 2009, in a speeding up of the process of power-, wealth-, influence- and living standard-reduction for a large number of major geopolitical players – but at varying speeds and in different proportions: the world is about to drastically shrink but not in the same way for everybody. This evolution will be a key component of the phase of global geopolitical dislocation, some sort of a sudden card reshuffling on a global scale. As we have highlighted many times, the big economic players, as much as many states or regions, will be concerned.

    … protectionism is back, because the globalisation of the last two decades has come to a grinding halt. Global leaders’ speeches on this subject are pathetic insomuch as they keep repeating their opposition to any such return and their will to revive the Doha round of free trade negotiations17; but in fact, they are doing the exact opposite, witness Obama’s “Buy-American” campaign18, Gordon Brown’s competitive devaluation of the Pound Sterling, Nicolas Sarkozy’s aid to the French motor industry, Angela Merkel’s carefully “Germany” targeted stimulus plan, or Hu Jintao’s project of Chinese domestic demand stimulation.

    … Practically speaking, the April 2009 G20 Summit is probably the last chance to put on the right tracks the forces at play, i.e. before the sequence of UK and then US defaults begin. — in LEAP/E2020-GlobalEurope Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB).

  2. A conquista de Ceuta pelos portugueses, que marca o início simultâneo da ascensão global do Ocidente e do declínio da China, foi em 1415. A transferência para Xangai do comando financeiro mundial deverá ocorrer até 2015, coincidindo muito provavelmente com um período de profunda, prolondada e violenta decadência dos Estados Unidos da América.

REFERÊNCIAS

  • China Starts Investing Globally

    February 20, 2009 (New York Times)

    SHANGHAI — China is taking advantage of the economic downturn to go on a major shopping spree, investing in energy and other natural resources that could give it an economic advantage it has never had before.

    Some economic analysts say they believe that China’s investments pose a threat to competitors like the United States. In the last move, Beijing said on Friday that one of its big state-owned banks, the China Development Bank, would lend the Brazilian oil giant Petrobras $10 billion in exchange for a long-term commitment to send oil to China.

    China signed similar deals this week with Russia and Venezuela, bringing Beijing’s total oil investments this month to $41 billion. They represent an important investment. Supplies of commodities like oil are likely to tighten again once global growth picks up, and China will have a toehold it lacked during the recent boom, when it grew phenomenally even with limited access to resources.

  • A Swiss Bank Is Set to Open Its Secret Files

    By LYNNLEY BROWNING Published: February 18, 2009 (The New York Times)

    In the hush-hush world of Swiss banking, the unthinkable is happening: secrets are spilling into the open.

    UBS, the largest bank in Switzerland, agreed on Wednesday to divulge the names of well-heeled Americans whom the authorities suspect of using offshore accounts at the bank to evade taxes. The bank admitted conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and agreed to pay $780 million to settle a sweeping federal investigation into its activities.

    It is unclear how many of its clients’ names UBS will divulge. Federal prosecutors have been examining about 19,000 accounts at the bank, but UBS ultimately may disclose the identities of only a few hundred customers.

    But to some, turning over any names at all heralds the end of the secret Swiss bank account, whose traditions date to the Middle Ages.

  • Eastern European Economies About to Explode in a Chain Reaction of Debt Defaults

    Feb 16, 2009 – 06:34 PM. By: Mike_Whitney (The Market Oracle)

    Eastern Europe is about to blow. If it does, it could take much of the EU with it. It’s an emergency situation but there are no easy solutions. The IMF doesn’t have the resources for a bailout of this size and the recession is spreading faster than relief efforts can be organized. Finance ministers and central bankers are running in circles trying to put out one fire after another. Its only a matter of time before they are overtaken by events. If one country is allowed to default, the dominoes could begin to tumble through the whole region. This could trigger dramatic changes in the political landscape. The rise of fascism is no longer out of the question.

    The UK Telegraph’s economics editor Edmund Conway sums it up like this:

    “A ‘second wave’ of countries will fall victim to the economic crisis and face being bailed out by the International Monetary Fund, its chief warned at the G7 summit in Rome….But with some countries’ economies effectively dwarfed by the size of their banking sector and its financial liabilities, there are fears they could fall victim to balance of payments and currency crises, much as Iceland did before receiving emergency assistance from the IMF last year.” (UK Telegraph)

    Foreign capital is fleeing at an alarming rate; nearly two-thirds gone in matter of months. Deflation is pushing down asset prices, increasing unemployment, and compounding the debt-burden of financial institutions. It’s the same everywhere. The economies are being hollowed out and stripped of capital. Ukraine is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary have all slipped into a low-grade depression. The countries that followed Washington’s economic regimen have suffered the most. They bet that debt-fueled growth and exports would lead to prosperity. That dream has been shattered. They haven’t developed their consumer markets, so demand is weak. Capital is scarce and businesses are being forced to deleverage to avoid default. All of Eastern Europe has gotten a margin call. They need extra funds to cover the falling value of their equity. They need a lifeline from the IMF or their economies will continue to crumble.

  • Nationalize the Banks! We’re all Swedes Now

    By Matthew Richardson and Nouriel Roubini Sunday, February 15, 2009; in The Washington Post.

    The U.S. banking system is close to being insolvent, and unless we want to become like Japan in the 1990s — or the United States in the 1930s — the only way to save it is to nationalize it.

    As free-market economists teaching at a business school in the heart of the world’s financial capital, we feel downright blasphemous proposing an all-out government takeover of the banking system. But the U.S. financial system has reached such a dangerous tipping point that little choice remains. And while Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s recent plan to save it has many of the right elements, it’s basically too late.

    … Last year we predicted that losses by U.S. financial institutions would hit $1 trillion and possibly go as high as $2 trillion. We were accused of exaggerating. But since then, write-downs by U.S. banks have passed the $1 trillion mark, and now institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and Goldman Sachs predict losses of more than $2 trillion.

    But if you think that $2 trillion is high, consider our latest estimates at the financial Web site RGE Monitor: They suggest that total losses on loans made by U.S. banks and the fall in the market value of the assets they are holding will reach about $3.6 trillion. The U.S. banking sector is exposed to half that figure, or $1.8 trillion. Even with the original federal bailout funds from last fall, the capital backing the banks’ assets was only $1.4 trillion, leaving the U.S. banking system about $400 billion in the hole.

    … Nationalization is the only option that would permit us to solve the problem of toxic assets in an orderly fashion and finally allow lending to resume. Of course, the economy would still stink, but the death spiral we are in would end.

    Nationalization — call it “receivership” if that sounds more palatable — won’t be easy, but here is a set of principles for the government to go by:

    First — and this is by far the toughest step — determine which banks are insolvent. Geithner’s stress test would be helpful here. The government should start with the big banks that have outside debt, and it should determine which are solvent and which aren’t in one fell swoop, to avoid panic. Otherwise, bringing down one big bank will start an immediate run on the equity and long-term debt of the others. It will be a rough ride, but the regulators must stay strong.

    Second, immediately nationalize insolvent institutions. The equity holders will be wiped out, and long-term debt holders will have claims only after the depositors and other short-term creditors are paid off.

    Third, once an institution is taken over, separate its assets into good ones and bad ones. The bad assets would be valued at current (albeit depressed) values. Again, as in Geithner’s plan, private capital could purchase a fraction of those bad assets. As for the good assets, they would go private again, either through an IPO or a sale to a strategic buyer.

    The proceeds from both these bad and good assets would first go to depositors and then to debt-holders, with some possible sharing with the government to cover administrative costs. If the depositors are paid off in full, then the government actually breaks even.

    Fourth, merge all the remaining bad assets into one enterprise. The assets could be held to maturity or eventually sold off with the gains and risks accruing to the taxpayers.

    The eventual outcome would be a healthy financial system with many new banks capitalized by good assets. Insolvent, too-big-to-fail banks would be broken up into smaller pieces less likely to threaten the whole financial system. Regulatory reforms would also be instituted to reduce the chances of costly future crises.

    Nationalizing banks is not without precedent. In 1992, the Swedish government took over its insolvent banks, cleaned them up and reprivatized them. Obviously, the Swedish system was much smaller than the U.S. system. Moreover, some of the current U.S. financial institutions are significantly larger and more complex, making analysis difficult. And today’s global capital markets make gaming the system easier than in 1992. But we believe that, if applied correctly, the Swedish solution will work here.

OAM 539 22-02-2009 10:20 (última actualização: 18:41)

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