Reading the sad story of the City of Birmingham, Alabama featured in Rolling Stone of last
month, one comes off with a feeling of familiarity as an African and an
indirect (or perhaps direct) victim of organized (or perhaps institutionalized)
Western “conmen in suits”. The stories of municipal or private woes that have led
to the worst financial crisis in decades in the West which led to rising debts, failing states like Greece and
Iceland mirrors the tale of woes the trailed the influx of Western consultants
and loan peddlers in newly independent Africa in the 70s and 80s.
At its height, freshly indicted Goldman Sachs, along with its Wall Street cousins
like JP Morgan, Citi Group, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers & Bear Stearns
(now dead or on life-support) exploited the ignorance of consumers and
municipalities in America and Western European cities to create financial
instruments widely tagged “financial weapons of mass destruction” by Warren Buffet, Synthetic Swaps or CDOs (Collateralized debt obligations). CDOs were used to pad municipal
budgets, create low interest mortgage that postponed principal payments and
lent to consumers with shitty credits and low probability of paying back, which
in turn destroyed the global economy in 2008.
Similarly, the 1970 through 1990 was Africa’s lost decade due to ballooning debt given to
dictators like Ibrahim Babangida (that kleptomaniac) of Nigeria and Mobutu Sese-Seko of Zaire, who in
turn looted them and left their countries in ruins. Only now is the West’s
experiencing the horror of its own lost decade under greed-with capitalism gone
wild. The experience of America
under Goldman Sachs reminds one of the international loan sharking institutions
(Paris and London Clubs), who screwed the third world and still made out like
A read of Rolling Stone’s Taibi’s expose on Wall street looting of main street America or its precursor on how the great “vampire squid” called Goldman Sachs defrauded its customers and corrupted the
system, will reveal the same cunning human deviousness that preceded Africa’s
debt and poverty crisis, is what preceded its Western successor. Only this
time, one cannot but figure karma may well be at work. Payback as they say is a
sure thing (the b-word may be more appropriate here).
Today, Greece is reeling under a debt load that is threatening to put her into bankruptcy.
Iceland already is bankrupt, and many Scandinavian municipalities (like Narvik,
Norway) are reeling under the load of untold debt obligations brought about “shiny men in Armani suits” that sold them pieces of crap, and called it wizardry. Guess what? Nothing is new. The same Westerners that snorted their nose at Africa, and blamed her post-independence problems on poor African citizens
instead of smart pant corrupt bankers that forced debts down the throats of those newly and unsophisticated independent countries (through sell-out dictators) are today victims of their own deviousness. Truly, Karma is for real.
Of course, as soon as those smart pants at Bretton Wood and Paris Club educated bankers found their turf in Africa impoverished and unable to meet their tasking payments, where else would then turn than to pounce on their own? A read of the book, “Confessions of an Economic Hit man” (by John Perkins) and say the Faber’s famed documentary “House of Cards” or “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis, will reveal the same mental callosity called greed drove the impoverishment of Africa in the 80s, and now the West . The same bankers, or perhaps their progenies, wrote the lopsided development loans at World Bank for Peru and Ghana, and those crazy once sided municipal bond contracts that torpedoed Birmingham and Narvik.
It is hard and sad to say, but fact is the modus operandi and methodology is exact
the same and am afraid the result thereof is going to be similar i.e. no
serious repercussions for the offenders. First, they bribe the deciding
authority or blackmail them. In Africa they found willing dictators, in
Birmingham they found obscene men like Bill Blount and his friend, President Langford; basically men who
will be willing to sell their mothers for a pot of porridge. In return, they
gave loans whose ins and outs are confusing even to a professional. Using a
series of churning tactics, refinance it is now called and it used to be debt
servicing, the lender ensures fees and interest rates are paid many times
over. In the end, innocent taxpayers are left with the bills with the clear
connivance of regulators and governments that should know better.
It is on the repercussion side that this current crisis seems to be mirroring the
crisis that saw nations like Argentina, Ghana and Nigeria reeling in the 80s and 90s under debt. Like Paris
modern day Shylocks that demanded flesh and blood for their debts, Goldman
Sachs and JP Morgan are not any shy about demanding payments. They did the same
in Russia in the 90s, here they go again.
Indeed, regardless of the underlying fraud and shifty dealings behind the transactions
that gave rise to the current financial crisis, the governments of the world
are not awake to their duty of demanding retribution of these evil doers i.e.
the very banks that created the mess. Forget all the hype, Goldman Sachs
insists it is “doing the work of God”; and with Obama’s lawyer as their chief counsel, the
Securities Exchange Commission is chasing its own shadow. Now, Obama instead of
forcefully demanding reforms is busy begging the criminals to join him in reforms; whoever gives up their
loot that voluntarily?
Perhaps through the concept Karma one can explain why Western Sovereigns, who
themselves supervised the fleecing of African nations, cannot now demand that
their own corporate pinheads play by a different rule field than they played on
just a short while ago. For going by this logic, quite a number of debts owed
by the most highly indebted nations of the world in the third world may today
face annulment due to the fraudulent origin of its originators and servicers.
The West never demanded Paris nor London Club to give up the loot, why should
I hope Western institutions, and their citizens quickly come to terms with the
fact that the latest scheme originating from Wall Street is basically payback
for a regime of greed, callousness and wickedness she unleashed on the rest of
the world in the recent past. Greed is like genie, once it is out it cannot be
easily put back into the bottle. Once the fat cat financiers that drove hundreds of countries in South America and Africa into default and permanent poverty in the 80s got to perfect and master
their scheme on the third world, in no time, their homes and families as well
as friends were next on the list of target. A criminal knows no bounds.
I am very sure as soon as the West is impoverished these criminals will soon look
east. China, are you listening? It goes clockwise, starting from Africa.
Welcome to our world.