It is better to be an outcast, a stranger in one’s own country, than an outcast from one’s self. It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind.
Chris Hedges

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

US vs. UK

I am beginning to wonder if this global financial crisis is just the fallout in a game of chicken between New York and London. Britain stopped building anything a long time ago and North Sea Oil revenues allowed them the capital to reestablish their throne as the center of the planet for bankers. Wall Street fought back by engaging in the same chancey trading of shadow banking instruments. When current customers were sated they just created a new subprime market. The winner will only be declared when one cries, "Uncle" and cannot fool the world into buying more of their bonds.

The Financial Services Act, 1999 was America’s response to what was happening in London, where Glass Steagal didn’t exist in the first place. The UK can’t be blamed for trying to recapture the financial predominance Fleet Street enjoyed during the time of Queen Victoria, but it has to be acknowledged that the derivatives market was an invention of the Poms.

The lack of transparency in European accounting requirements allowed banks there to adjust their books to offset and postpone losses in a way US banks could not (until last April’s G20 Conference anyway). However, these losses will have to present themselves eventually. Timing is everything. It may well be a footnote in history that America survived by pouring enough cash into the financial bubble to wait out a more devastating European crash that followed.

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