Monday, November 24, 2008

Globalised banking 1944 - 1983

The following flow chart describing developments in the global banking and finance industry between 1944 and 1983 has been mostly compiled from information provided in Michael Moffitt's 1983 book 'The World's Money - International banking from Bretton Woods to the brink of insolvency'[1]. The common theme is clear; that the form of globalisation that has taken place over those decades has been largely determined by (mostly) western transnational corporations and with one overriding goal - worldwide profit maximisation.

Bretton woods (1944). -->The birth of the Eurodollar (1949) --> accelerating concentration of industry and banking --> American, Japanese and European corporations extend their global reach. --> the spectacular rise of the intracorporate (nonmarket) economy of the global oligopolies --> increasing intervention of government into the “private sector”--> A common tilt in investment and speculative decisions. US pressures European countries to restore convertibility of their currencies under the provisions of Bretton Woods (1958) --> Marked speculation in currencies begins with the re-emergence of hot money --> Development of the Euromarket (mid 1960s) --> a new generation of young bankers with the desire to go global. --> desire to build a global bank free of government regulation. US government prohibited interest on chequing accounts --> corporations and wealthy individuals transferred money out of these accounts and into financial products that earned interest (eg Treasury securities) --> banks forced to find new ways to attract corporate savings to stop the drain of funds --> negotiable certificates of deposits invented (CDs) by Walter Wriston of Citibank. --> banks bid competitively for corporate funds. --> the Euromarket undermines domestic monetary policy (1966). The 1973 oil shock [usury?] --> Petrodollar recycling 1973 --> bankers court the Saudis for deposits and conglomerate international banks try to drum up loan business from the 3rd world --> syndicated loans -->Growth of 3rd World debt --> Debt extended with eye to natural resources --> Interbank market--> Vast new opportunities to wheeler deal on a global scale --> Governments lose influence over events -->A regime of floating exchange rates is midwifed by massive speculation against the US dollar (1975)--> Despite the IMF the banks soon take over the business of lending to governments --> No way of recognizing a loss on a sovereign loan [Usury] -->European, Japanese and Arab banks take US share of global finance --> East-West Trade increased dramatically. Meaner terms are implemented on 3rd World loans [Usury]--> further debasement of credit standards in loans to 3rd World --> new forms of big business emerge in advisory role on loan reschedules to the 3rd World --> US Government bail out banks that made irresponsible loans to the 3rd World --> House of cards --> Global debt crisis now permanent. Usury in the form of extraordinarily high interest rates is institutionalized to preserve dollar hegemony (Volker, Oct 1979 ) --> IMF is now a supranational agency intervening in domestic politics --> Zero coupon bonds created by banks to avoid Government tax on interest. -->Economic and social disaster in poor countries (1983) --->

…In the short run, the challenge of the global corporation concerns stability; in the long run, development. There has never been a time since the Great Depression when there has been more economic uncertainty around the world [1974]. But the corporate prospect of a world without borders offers something more distressing than uncertainty. It is a vision without ultimate hope for a majority of mankind. Our criterion for determining whether a social force is progressive is whether it is likely to benefit the bottom 60 percent of the population. Present and projected strategies of global corporations offer little hope for the problems of mass starvation, mass unemployment, and gross inequality. Indeed, the global corporation aggravates all these problems, because the social system it is helping to create violates three fundamental human needs: social balance, ecological balance, and psychological balance. These imbalances have always been present in our modern social system; concentration of economic power, antisocial uses of that power, and alienation have been tendencies of advanced capitalism. But the process of globalisation, interacting with and reinforcing the process of accelerating concentration, has brought us to a new stage…” [1]

[1]‘The World’s Money – International banking from Bretton Woods to the brink of insolvency’ by Michael Moffitt. Touchstone Book, Simon and Schuster New York. 1983. ISBN: 0-671-50596-3 Pbk.

[2]‘Global Reach – The power of the multinational corporations’ by Richard J Barnet & Ronald E Muller. Simon and Schuster1974. SBN 671-22104-3 Paperback. Page 364


Myrtle Blackwood said...

The murder of Orlando Letelier in 1976 appears to have great relevance to the life of Michael Moffitt (the author of 'The World's Money' which was the book mentioned here that provided so much valuable history of global banking).

From what I can observe it was the same Michael Moffitt and his wife Ronni Moffitt that were in the car with Letelier when the car bomb went off. Michael's wife died and he was injured. [There are acknowledgements for the help of Orlando Letelier and Isabel Letelier in the front of Moffitt's book.]

This is how it was done
Saul Landau, IPS-TNI Fellow, and Ralph Stavins
The Nation, 26 March 1977

TheTrucker said...

I am not a Pat Buchanan fan. But sometimes he gets a few right and charity begins at home. My government does not have the right to steal what is mine and to send it to anywhere else. And the corporations most certainly do not.

Meanwhile I also have no right to oil in the middle east or in Venezuela; no right to the rain forests and no right to any banana plantations or pineapples.

We have a situation where we may not be able to continue to trade bank money and government money at par. It matters who controls the military.

Myrtle Blackwood said...

"I also have no right to oil in the middle east or in Venezuela; no right to the rain forests and no right to any banana plantations or pineapples...

I wouldn't go that far Trucker. Trade is okay as long as there's no coercion. And trade between one subsidiary of a global corporation with another subsidary of the same enterprise is no trade at all.

OTOH, I believe that the 'consumer ethic' is the dynamic behind the enormous and inequitous power that large corporations have over our lives. If we were to produce more at home and trade in local communities we could see the development of a genuinely 'free' (without coersion) form of trade.