Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Americas next depression

The coronavirus is turning out to be the black swan event of 2020. Thanks to the regular international flights that are a staple of globalisation, the virus was able to spread outside of China and become a global pandemic that threatens to kill millions of people. The death toll rises steadily each and every day, as the number of infected continue to climb. The West was extremely reluctant to close their borders and shut down international flights, due to the negative impact it would have on trade and tourism. They were more worried about the economy than their own people, in a perfect snapshot of our amoral cultural values. This gave the coronavirus a window of opportunity to pass into Europe and North America, gaining a presence in both continents. By the time Western leaders finally decided to bite the bullet and shut down the borders, it was already too late. The only course of action left was to order people to self-isolate, in the hopes that the rate of infection could be slowed down.

As long as the number of victims doesn't exceed the capacity of hospitals to treat, then the death toll can be kept from spiraling out of control. But the obvious consequence of a quarantine is that the crisis will now last much longer than Western governments had anticipated. With millions of people stuck at home, their economys are slowly coming to a standstill. The growth in GDP that they care so much for has now been thrown to the wayside. And that isn't the only problem. In America, a crisis is now taking place in the stock and bond market as investors liquidate their assets and pull their money out of the system. The losses that have taken place this week are historic in every sense of the word. This is portent of untold disaster. In the last few years, American corporations have taken advantage of very-low interest loans from the Federal Reserve, and used the money to increase the value of their stocks. They have racked up a record amount of debt in the process, creating a bubble-type situation in a frightening repeat of the 2008 crash.

Wall Street has clearly shown that they have learned nothing from that episode, which bankrupted millions of people and threw the entire country into a prolonged recession. If things do not change course quickly, then there is every possibility that another financial crash will happen this year. Americas economy was already in a weakened position due to decades of bad monetary policy, combined with profligate spending on social programs, the military, and imperialistic wars. The fear and uncertainty spread by the coronavirus may very well prove to be the straw that broke the camels back. The Federal Reserve is largely responsible for creating this crisis, due to its constant monetary intervention that keeps the market addicted to ultra-low interest loans. They and Wall Street are partners in crime that are putting the entire country at risk.