Tuesday, November 01, 2011

I'm afraid I'm at a loss....

Last week, eurozone leaders agreed a second Greek bailout worth 130bn euros as well as banks agreeing to take 50% losses on their holdings of Greek debt. It was meant to remove uncertainty and to help provide longer-term stability in the world financial markets. But now that deal is up in the air again. The Greek Prime Minister, in response to an increasingly bitter electorate, has now announced a referendum on the bailout deal. No doubt, this will take a little time to organise and, in the meantime, worldwide financial uncertainty (or maybe even panic?) will be back on the agenda (with 60% of Greeks apparently against the austerity measures, it seems likely that they will end up leaving the eurozone altogether).
Political leaders from the EU and beyond had hoped that last week’s measures would end (to some extent at least) speculation on the financial markets…. but surely, this was only ever likely to be short-term relief and that Italy, Spain, perhaps the UK and who-knows-who would be next in line? I don’t blame the Greek people at all – they are having to pay for poor government decisions/policies that probably go back an entire generation.
When it comes to finance on a personal level, I REALLY don’t have a good track record (Equitable Life investor, endowment mortgage etc etc!). However, what seems clear to even financially-naive people like me, is that our own individual efforts count for nothing. We work hard all our lives; we obey the rules; we trust our respective governments to take sensible decisions for the greater good; we strive to make the world a better place…. but, actually, we don’t stand a chance. It seems that the world is about greed; about power in the hands of CEOs, shareholders, bankers, city speculators; about profit and more profit; about dog-eat-dog and ignore the consequences…. and, rather like “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, things have got completely out of hand and no one seems to know how to stop the depressing cycle.
This is background for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York that started in September and have now extended to over 900 cities worldwide – including the “Occupy London Stock Exchange” (OLSX) outside St Paul’s in London. They’ve been protesting about "social justice, real democracy and challenging the unsustainable financial system that punishes the many and privileges the few".
Where’s Superman when you need him (and I’m definitely NOT referring to George Gideon Oliver Osborne)?

No comments: