Thursday, October 9, 2008

Another Economy Explanation

Oh! I just came across a pretty good article that tries to explain the economic crisis - by comparing it to a casino! I kept hearing about this whole "casino economy," and now I finally get it.

Here ya go:

"This Sucker Could Go Down," by Peter Constantini.

And here's an older, but interesting article by Ali Khan from Counterpunch (a leftist magazine, by the way) that critiques the economic crisis from the perspective of Islamic financing: "Meltdown in American Markets."

God, things look like they keep getting worse and worse. I wonder how bad this "Crash of 2008" is going to be by the time it's over.


Jeremy said...

So, by this metaphor, would the crash basically be the equivilant of getting your knees broken by some dude with no neck? and attempting to bail out these institutions something like borrowing more money from the mob to pay off what you already owe? We need a gamblera anonymous meeting: "Wall Street jerks, we're all worried about you. . ."

Nicholas Karavatos said...

The Peter Costantini article you linked makes a reference to Joseph Stiglitz. Here is a Joseph Stiglitz article at which originally appeared in The Nation: titled "A Better Bailout."

Also worth looking at is an article by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) titled "Let the Rich Bail Them Out" at

Also of interest is Robert Reich's "The Almost-Done Deal, and the Era of Angry Populism" at

That's a great Liaquat Ali Khan article, though I wonder at the appropriation inherent in using the modifer "Islamic." For example, are there religious doctrains that do not "warn the faithful to avoid games of chance in which the probability of loss in is much higher than the probability of gain" or actually sanction such? None that I know of.

Are there religious doctrains that promote the "pursuit of greed and thrill" or actually sanction such? None that I know of.

Is it true that "Islam ... prohibits investments in companies peddling ... weapons"? How then did the Empire spread without paying the workers who made swords, knives, armor, and everything else that went into what we now refer to as the military-industrial complex? I assume that was regarded as "straightforward investments in companies engaged in socially useful activity."

Sorry, I know it's offensive to many to interpret the causes & effects, the nuts & bolts of the Islamic Empire with the same analytic tools as any other empire in human history, but for good or ill, I do.

I feel I have encountered a substitution "riba" here in the Middle East in the same way I encountered tax increases under Ronald Reagan in the US - through user-fees.

One day at AUS's Sharjah Islamic Bank, one of the officers put the unrelenting hard sell on me to get one of their credit cards. I kept asking her what was in it for them? Why did they want me to have it so badly? She outright refused to answer my question, so I asked her to please stop trying to push their bank credit card on me. I told her when she would answer my what's-in-it-for-them question, then I would discuss it with her. She fell silent and went on to other business.

Khan's article is great, and should be read by investors in the majority-Islamic part of the world economy, for sure, if only as a reality-check. Essentially, it reminds all of us, every one of us under the regime of Late Capitalism practiced around the globe today, that nothing is more sound, more ethical, more grounded and far-sighted than honest, compassionate, 1+1=2 monetary policy.

I'll be sharing Khan's article for it's timely advice. The immorality of a generation of Hyper-Capitalism has always been trumpeted, but now the ears of the world have been unwaxed.

What will happen now to the Muslim OPEC Monarchs/Theocrats and their Courtiers? If they had been as ethical as the Anarchists of the world, they wouldn't have been buying American debt ("maysir") as an investment. Though the Gulf pumps money out of the ground, their day of reckoning is about to dawn.

"Halal/Kosher" economic practices have been alive and well the world over. Yes, even (and especially) as secular social practice. Social Justice and Social Responsibility isn't confined to any one religion or religion itself - but thank God (?) it is at the radical heart of all religion.

Thanks for that link.

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