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Oct 10, 2008



This week, Lando and I are talking about the meltdown of the American financial system, or more specifically what it says about our culture. Is this crisis within the U.S. economy simply the latest symptom of a culture that has coddled failure? Are we burying our heads in bailouts and compromises rather than addressing the true roots of our problems? Also: Sound parenting advice!

Opening Music: "Alive WIP v2" by George Carpenter
Closing Music: "Blau.ton" by Rauschwerk


darwingodwin
over ten years ago

I listened to this episode a couple of weeks late - but as for Spain\'s economy... Spain is like the wild west - you can do anything you want but don\'t be stupid enough to get caught. This includes banks, real estate devolpment, sex, and everything in between. Two examples: Lots of new housing developments are in the works. But they cannot get enough water and utilities to them. You can see them like great upturned arcologies on the horizon. However, if you rattle the wrong cage and ask for your \"water rights\" it may be discovered that you have been duped by ponying up the money to some corrupt city planning commisions that allowed this new development \"pyramid scheme\" to be constructed on federal park land. You watch the city bulldoze (LITERALLY!) the place into the ground and you have no way to recoup your losses. Example number two occurs near my duplex. A main road is known for prostitutes. During the day it is Eastern European women and at night it is the African women. This is all organized and legal. ITs illegal to be a \"john\" but the city keeps the streetlights off so business will flourish. BUT, the scariest thing about Spain right now is the Roman Empire / Catholic Empire thinking. Which, oddly enough, is evident within each individual. This manifests itself as an admiration of brute power. Society must be controlled! So, in order to function as a law-abiding citizen, you live in fear of breaking a law that is never enforced (unless you raise your head and look the wrong person in the eye...) Spain doesn\'t really care about the US or any other country - unless they used to be a part of the New World, and can be viewed as culturally backward... BUT - they have Vermouth on tap and that\'s pretty dang cool...

Big Dave (OZ)
over ten years ago

The response to the Economic meltdown was slightly different over here, we have a recently elected Labor Government (Democrat Equivalent), and they did take the other view, give the money to the people who will spend it, families, pensioners, first home buyers. Now the first home buyers already get some assistance, but that bonus has been increased, and pensioners and families will get a one off bonus of at least $1000. The government has also guaranteed all savings in banks and credit unions for the next 3 years, to prevent a rush on any institution caused by bad rumors. Our banks have not been approving bad loans either, but they have been investing in U.S. banks that have, so the banks have lost some money.A big point in our favour though, is that our government is in surplus (money in the bank) not in deficit as in the U.S., this gives them a lot more scope to kick start the economy, but so much is affected by what happens in foreign markets, we\'ll just have to wait and see.
I work for the Australian division of a large multi-national company, rewarding failure happens over here to, we even have a very simple term for it - fucking UP - it seems that if you get it wrong, screw up, stuff up or are just generally incompetent, you still get your bonus, and if you\'re especially good at it, you get promoted, but it does seem to happen mainly in sales and marketing, well they are good at bullshitting. Within the more operational divisions, service finance, and logistics, we don\'t let people get away with that kind of rubbish.

Lando
over ten years ago

Thanks for the all the comments guys. It\'s hard to know how the rest of the world is really doing at a time like this. I think it\'s fantastic that we have a view from England, Spain and Australia right here on one page. I also find it very interesting just how interconnected all these economies are to each other. Wish I would have paid for attention in economics back in school. World War I made America the banking capital of the world and look what we\'ve done with it. Do you guys think another war could shift the banking nexus of the world again, and if so, where? I know that we are all connected, but there is always an anchor point. I often wonder if amidst the financial collapse of the old giants, a new economic power could rise from Africa or Asia. China is linked to the US so I don\'t they could do it. Oh well, as long as we\'re all hanging in there for now. My vote, OZ sounds the most stable, lol. Thanks again for all the comments.

Dave (UK)
over ten years ago

Glad I held off replying to last week\'s show as I would have only repeated myself.

As for the UK, things as I see them are pretty much declining. I\'m not sure what the news is reporting because I don\'t watch or listen to much. Drudge says the govt. is nationalising some banks. I also hear a lot of municipal councils had money invested in Iceland so there might be some trouble ahead paying wages.

In my real-life I supply the construction industry around London so get to see economic impacts at ground zero (asitwere). There has been a noticeable slowdown in project uptake and competition is getting pretty fierce over the morsels scattered by companies still actually developing (rather than letting land remain undeveloped as some are).

It\'s pretty much where the whole cycle meets itself. The top is contracting and therefore the bottom cannot recycle the income back into the system. There is much in the way of an (im)migrant work-force so whether any of them return to their respective homelands is anyone\'s guess. Chances are it\'s worse where they came from.

I\'m with Lando on the solution to a certain extent. The Samson Option. I know, their house of cards will fall, they will fall, and the rubble will land on everyone else. Well, it\'s about time. The way I see it is this Bailout Plan (TM pending?) serves no-one but the imbeciles who created the initial damn mess. It\'s the same old story, only it\'s not failure that\'s rewarded. The spoils go to those who have stolen, cheated, lied, backstabbed, turned their backs on families in favour of financial remuneration.

I used to think that Economics should be classed as a social-science (and that\'s being generous); not much better than astrology; reading tea-leaves; studying chickens\' internal organs. I have more sense now fortunately. Those who \"bear\" responsibility for this clusterfuck are in fact very well educated and the best in their field. If this is the case I can only draw one conclusion...

If they were too clever to fuck it up, it was designed.

Lando
over ten years ago

Thanks for the comment Dave (UK). Your last line there is actually kind of a spooky idea. When you really make it to that upper echelon of smart business and smart government people, what kind of plans do they carry out for the sake of their pocket book. I mean, when you are that rich, you are pretty much insulated from the struggle of the common man. But, if it was designed, those in power should never forget the French Revolution. When the mob gets wound up enough, they kill everyone.

Dave (UK)
over ten years ago

Agreed, I\'m certain there\'s a dusty pitchfork around here somewhere...