Saturday, April 30, 2011

This bodes ill for the future...

How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis - By Frederick Kaufman | Foreign Policy

More and more I find myself worrying that here in the US we've effectively dismantled the financial regulatory systems put in place by the generations that fought World War II--both immediately prior to that conflict and in the years following its conclusion. That system brought us 70 years of economic stability, which stands in sharp contrast to the volatile industrial economy that preceded it. One that had spent over a third of it's time in depressions since it emerged here in the 1870s.

As collateral damage, deregulation also seems to have helped undo or imperil much of the international Post-War system of finance, currency, and trading that our grandparents and their parents built. That series of agreements and assurances was a major factor in eliminating war between the major economic powers as well as a general decline in the frequencies of war overall.

Under that system of trade and finance, it became much cheaper and easier to buy resources rather than seize them. Most importantly, both our domestic regulation of commodities trading and international trade agreements helped to moderate food prices both at home and abroad as an instrument of stability and peace.

And now it's gone.

In tandem with that is the dismantling of our manufacturing base in the US. Shipping factories and jobs overseas this past decade has left us in a situation in which we can no longer even reliably produce or obtain critical medicines .

As I continue to read more and more about the financial crises of 2008 and the three decades of deregulation that made it possible, I've grown more concerned about the coming decades. Looking back now with the benefit of hindsight, I find myself wondering just how many of the most reasonably optimistic scenarios for our future were bound up in that now unraveling world system built by our grandparents and great grandparents.

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