Sunday, 28 December 2008

Our Predictions for 2009...

In the spirit of "New Year Messages", divining from the entrails of the dead economy, and the general prognosticating fever of the end-year period, Manuscripts Don't Burn would like to indulge in a little lighthearted speculation about what the coming twelve months might hold in store for the UK.

In 2009, the media will become almost hysterical about how marvellous it is for everyone to tighten their belts, pull together, and learn to darn our own socks. Words like "tempered in the fires of adversity", "school of hard knocks", and "Dunkirk spirit" will turn most tabloids into soggy repetitive clones.

And all the while the newspapers and tv channels will be desperately trying to distract everyone's attention away from the huge, turd-bomb of an elephant in the room: that the UK is in the throes of economic collapse, and the rich bastards are desperately stuffing their pockets and getting the hell out like rats leaving a sinking ship. Bailouts will proliferate, funnelling public money into private hands at an ever-increasing rate. Banks will repossess willy-nilly, and there will be no recourse other than... another government bailout.

The ship probably won't sink in 2009 - that'll more likely be 2010-11, after a long period of near lawlessness, rationing, food queues, power shortages, utility breakdowns, hunger, disease outbreaks (which will never *actually* be found to be due to the uncollected rubbish piling up in the streets) and civil unrest, which will be dealt with EXTREMELY violently by the police and army and consistently blamed on "anarchists" and "terrorist sympathisers". Thousands of British, students, unemployed, and concerned subjects of her majesty will be locked up without trial during these grim days. Tasers will be used on anyone so much as waving a placard. "I've done nothing wrong so I've nothing to fear" will be exposed as the cowardly sham it is.

Finally, once all the wealth that can be extracted has been extracted and the corporate fascists are safely installed in their heavily-defended tax havens, the EU will be called in to mop up the whole sorry mess. Like with East Germany in the nineties, Europe, despite having suffered its own knocks in the global depression, will shoulder the immense debt burden of putting what's left of England back on its feet again.

The only remaining question will be: will the huge landowners in England, who basically "own" us all anyway, go peacefully, be bribed with new laws which let them keep their millions of tax-free acres behind gated compounds, or have to be strung up before they'll let the rest of us get on with rebuilding the country? That one remains to be seen.

Either way, next year is unpleasant. The year that everything starts to go to hell.

Oh - and "abroad": Israel, Iran, Pakistan, India, China, US... There'll be lots of emotive news programs on Sky TV telling us how we should feel about the citizens of country X getting blown up by country Y - horrified, justified, indignant, or just plain "it's all a long, long way away and doesn't affect me..." Likely we'll all be far too busy to care - same goes for climate change too.

The most terrifying thing about "abroad" will be the out-and-out refusal to engage productively with Russia, which will continue its slide towards aggressive national socialism, bashing everyone over the heads with threats to cut off the gas and eventually the oil. It's an unending irony that, just as following WW1 the victors hammered Germany into the ground rather than rebuilding and extending hands of cooperation, thereby reaping disaster two decades down the line, the international community, led by the nightmare BushCo, saw fit to avenge itself on the fallen giant of the Soviet Union in the 1990s and try to ruin and dismember it, rather than offering the hand of understanding and friendship. Now, once again, just at the moment when we should be really paying attention and engaging diplomatically, we'll leave the Russians to stew as they suffer their own "Consequences of the Wall Street Crash", and similar to Germany in the 1930s, we'll reap the whirlwind as their society lurches to a vengeful right-wing extreme government intent on restoring national pride, whatever the cost.

Historians will wonder how we were all so blind. But we weren't, were we? It's not rocket science. It's just that we didn't *do* anything about it, dithering tomnoddies blustering about bugger-all... The tragedy of humankind is that it is so easily induced to forget...

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Chronicle of a Rape Foretold: Economic Collapse 2008

It's interesting that the majority of debates on the ongoing economic collapse start from the assumption that the task facing our governments is to manage our economies in the interests of the majority of its citizens, and that their actions and dialectics revolve around the best way to achieve this. And that, poor dears, they've made a bit of a mess of it this time.

A wider perspective gives us no grounds for this assumption. Governments rarely work for the benefit of their populations, but rather for the most effective exploitation of their populations for the benefit of the small minority of the faction currently controlling those governments, unless forced by threat of violence and social unrest to do otherwise. This isn't conspiracy theory; Manuscripts Don't Burn would argue it's the tacit common sense working agenda of the political classes, but one which our corporate- and government-controlled media do not like to see discussed.

The situation we're facing today is planned. It's been in the offing for thirty years; the gradual and insidious redistribution of wealth from bottom to top, reversing the more egalitarian redistributions following WW2 (in the face of the Soviet ideological opposition - however illusory that turned out in the long run). One has only to speculate on the relative wealth of a typical family between now and, say, thirty years ago to realise that today's families are considerably worse off, working harder, and carrying greater debt than our parents' generation. Money is flowing upwards, being concentrated into the hands of a small minority calling itself "big business", who themselves control the governments and electorates via "oligarchical intimidation" (witness Mandy's recent "interview") and media propaganda. The future is one of austerity and indenture for the masses, whilst the elite lounge on their yachts preaching about how it's important for us all to "make sacrifices". Haw-haw-haw.

The goal here is nothing more and nothing less than a return to the pre-WW1 status quo of quasi-fascist social organization, with a vast and easily-exploited workforce providing 99% of the labour in return for 1% of the wealth. Anything else foisted upon us by the mock-discussions in the corporate media is just smoke and mirrors to distract us whilst they rob us of our birthright.

We can engage in these pretend debates as much as we like (should we inflate our savings into non-existence or not? what kind of perpetual indebtedness and indenture do we want? which tyrant are we going to vote for - Mr Bad or Mr Crazy? ooh - the breathlessness of choice!), but we're simply parrotting the intended obfuscations which have been given to us in this distracting, irrelevant discourse. The real business of course continues apace, hoovering up the wealth and leaving us bereft, hyperinflating our currencies out of all value and centralizing the concrete assets - in the form of land and resources - in the hands of the "business" elites, leaving us with nothing but handfuls of worthless paper. There's nothing short of actual violence that we can do to change that, for all our self-important "debating" and hot-air. Witness Greece as a foretaste of what's to come in all Western societies in the coming years, when the security forces use lethal force to stifle anyone who dares protest. These anti-terror laws and snooping bills weren't there to "protect" us after all... who'd'a thunk it?

"The Federal Reserve is utterly terrified." Give us a break - yeah, Manuscripts Don't Burn is sure those private and discrete, unaccountable billionaires are quaking in their boots at the prospect of us having to give them all our possessions AGAIN. Terrified to bits. Wouldn't you be? What a joke.

Angry, us? Does it show?

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Thanks to GolemXIV on the next wave of the crash...

Manuscripts Don't Burn hasn't posted here lately, as you'll doubtless be aware - but we'd like to post a copy of a fellow blogger, GolemXIV, from the Guardian website today. Thanks, GolemXIV!

"The point is there is nothing of any consequence the gov or the BoE can do about deflation. The deflationary forces are just too amssive.

Just take a look at the next wave appraoching the beach.

Next year, 09, we get the first spike of the next TWO classes of american mortgages to start defaulting. Sub-prime is almost all through by early 09 but Alt-A and the even more toxic Option ARMs will start to make the headlines.

Nearly 4 Million small businesses in the US have Alt-A and of them 1.2 Million are ALREADY 60 day delinquent. As for the ARMs you really don't want to even look.

For those who don't know ARMs are mortgages where for an introductory period you can CHOOSE how much to pay or not pay all the way down to pay nothing. WHat you don't pay gets added on to your mortgage up to 125% of the loan. Then this new HUGE amount gets put on to a MUCH higher rate.

The market expects massive default rates.

This will mean even more massive write downs. This is part of why the banks have been hoarding all the cash we gave them.

So cutting a percentage point or two or messing about with a couple of VAT points really is about as impressive as getting your todger out, thinking you'll piss on that forest fire inferno and show it who's boss."

Manuscripts Don't Burn has been reading GolemXIV's comments attentively throughout this historical crisis. So far, he's been spot on every time. Interesting times...