Monday, August 8, 2011

Free market, it ain't

How will the current stock market turmoil play out? Probably in much the same way as it has always been. The monster (the stock market) will eventually be restrained and subdued. Like those at the betting table of a casino, the punters will count their losses or gains and then wait for the next round to begin.

The stock market, contrary to what politicians and financial experts like to tell you, does not operate in a supply-demand situation. It is built on a house of cards - a very big and strong one - that is not allowed to fail. Governments are run by people with lots of vested interest in the stock market, and financial experts make their fortune from leading more punters to the stock market. Together, governments and financial experts make policies to ensure the stock market is always upbeat. Indirectly, this creates an aura of prosperity for everyone, but really more so to enrich the power brokers. That is why governments want people to put their superannuation in the stock market and make policies to suit that objective. When everyone is bought into it, it is so much easier to legislate self-serving economic policies.

If the stock market were to operate in a totally free-market condition, governments that overspend will have to bear its consequences. Those in power may be replaced by a new team. Companies, no matter how large, will be allowed to fail. The rich may find their fortunes gone and the poor will have a chance to take their place. This is what the free market theory is all about, isn't it? Right now, governments in Europe and America are frantically trying to prevent the stock market from further slide. Yes, it is to prevents an economic meltdown that will affect everybody's lives. But ask yourself then why their proposed solutions are always to save the companies first, and why America's US$800bil bailout in the GFC went to save the financial institutions and not the people's jobs.

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