August 28, 2015
“Nothing to see here. Move along”.
That statement has become a cult phrase in some circles, representing the order of a quintessential authority figure telling a random bunch of sheeple to remove themselves from a place or event at which said authority figure wants them not to congregate.
In fact it is one of those not-quite-correct quotes — no-one ever said it in exactly that way. Obiwan Kenobi in Star Wars didn’t say “nothing to see here”, only “move along”. From Star Wars the trail leads through “The Far Side” cartoons of Gary Larson and on to NYPD Blue and South Park and thence to Men In Black, where it was used — but by then as conscious parody.
Yet in a world increasingly similar to 1984, in which the authorities are becoming increasingly authoritarian and evermore intent on suppressing curiosity, let alone access to knowledge itself, that line is being used — albeit in paraphrase — with ever-greater frequency.
This week has seen perhaps its greatest-ever usage, and on a global scale. The financial, economic and political Establishment of every country on earth, from Communist China, through Capitalist America and on to Wahhabi Saudi Arabia and Jewish Israel — as well as everything and everywhere between — has joined forces in proclaiming it in response to the sharp falls in financial markets. This joint effort was neither planned nor co-ordinated, rather it was a spontaneous knee-jerk reaction by all the governing classes and their lackeys, in the face of what they saw as an emergent potentially dangerous threat to their well-being.
The seemingly-sudden eruption of sell orders in markets — and in the middle of August! — had caused the slumbering masses to stir. The sheeple have been conditioned to regard the direction of the stock market as the weathervane of the economy: Rising prices mean that all is well — and the opposite. The fact that there is plainly no connection between rising prices and the well-being of the general public — as distinct from the wealth of the top 1% and 0.1% of the population — is suspected by many, but who has time to obtain the truth, let alone the guts to publicise it?
The liquidity drug
Under the pretence that strong markets mean a strong economy, the moneyed elites have drugged the financial system and the real economy by providing ever-larger doses of “liquidity”. They have used the temporary and declining beneficial effects of this drug to persuade the sheeple that the economy is recovering. Every year in the US, forecasters proclaim that this will be the year in which the economy reaches “take-off velocity” or “self-sustaining growth”, or some other slogan that expresses a return to an increasingly remote ” old normal”.
Yet every year the disappointment is repeated — albeit with different scapegoats to blame. This year, apparently realizing that again blaming the incidence of heavy snow — in winter! in New England!! — might strain the credulity even of Twitter-ised sheeple, the mainstream analysts and their publicity machine have struck lucky. They have been given a target for blame of impeccable credentials — the Chinese economy.
Readers of this column will not have been gobsmacked by ‘revelations’ that the Chinese economy is doing poorly. As early as 2011, I presented analyses (not mine) to several corporate conclaves showing that the great era of Chinese growth was done and that from here on it was downhill. Needless to say, at that time this was a marginal, almost eccentric view, pooh-poohed by the Goldman Sachses and Morgan Stanleys of the world.
But these brave outsiders were correct and the mainstream choir was, once again, caught off-guard, unable to change its view even after the world had moved on and left them behind.
China to blame
So, yes, the slowdown in China is to blame — that’s not an excuse, it’s a bitter truth. But then what? If markets are going down because of China and China is set to sink lower, then that means markets will fall further and — SELL! GET ME OUT!
That kind of behavior — panic, in a word — is unacceptable to the Establishment, because it will expose the systematic manipulation that now characterises most important markets. That is precisely what actually happened on Monday and Tuesday morning and, had it continued, the entire financial system would have collapsed in short order.
To prevent that, TPTB (The Powers That Be) ordered their agents to stop the rot. In China this has meant allowing many securities not to trade, while providing government money to state entities to buy shares. Western countries use more sophisticated tools, but the underlying strategy is the same. In addition, the entire system — ministers and senior officials, central banks, commercial bankers, brokers, captains of industry and commerce, respected media pundits — all were conscripted to the effort of persuading the public that this is just a fleeting event, a “correction” — overdue and hence necessary, even desirable.
In short, the message was the classic one:”Nothing to see here, move along”. That’s anyway what everyone wants to hear and desperately wants to believe. Lo and behold, by Thursday the markets were recovering smartly – so it must have been true. There was nothing to see. Nothing happened, certainly nothing to worry about. Move along.