FRIDAY, MAY 01, 2020
By bailing out the sources of systemic fragility with trillions of dollars, the Fed has shifted the risk to the entire financial system and the nation’s currency.
That the global economy is fragile is painfully obvious to all. What is less obvious is the bailouts intended to “save” the fragile economy actively increase its fragility, setting up an inevitable collapse of the entire precarious system.
Systems that are highly centralized, i.e. dependent on a handful of nodes that are each points of failure–are intrinsically fragile and prone to collapse. Put another way, systems in which all the critical nodes are tightly bound are prone to domino-like cascades of failure as any one point of failure quickly disrupts every other critical node that is bound to it.
Ours is an economy in which capital, wealth, power and control are concentrated in a few nodes of the network/ecosystem we call “the economy.” A handful of corporations own the vast majority of the media, a handful of banks control most of the lending and capital, a handful of hospital chains, pharmaceutical companies and insurers control healthcare, and so on.
Control of digital technologies is even more concentrated, in virtual monopolies: Google for search and Youtube, etc. and Facebook / Instagram and Twitter for social media, Microsoft and Apple for operating systems and services derived from OS, and so on.
The vast majority of participants in the economy are tightly bound to these concentrated nodes of capital and power, and these top-down, hierarchical dependencies generate fragility.
When unexpectedly severe variability and volatility occur, the disruption of a few nodes brings down the entire system. Thus the disruption of the subprime mortgage subsystem–a relatively small part of the total mortgage market and a tiny slice of the global financial system–nearly brought down the entire global financial system in 2008 because the GFS is a tightly bound system of centralized concentrations of capital, power and control.
Currently, we’re seeing the fragility of a meat production system that has concentrated ownership and production of meatpacking into a relatively few nodes on which the entire food supply chain is totally dependent.
And so what’s the status quo “fix” when this intrinsically fragile system comes apart? Increase its fragility by bailing out the most tightly bound, dominant nodes. This is what the monopoly on creating currency, the Federal Reserve, is doing on a vast scale.
Rather than reducing the fragility of the system, the Federal Reserve is increasing the fragility, guaranteeing a collapse of not just the financial system but the currency as well.