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Sunday, 12 October 2008 16:13

Finance to Serve the Economy

The following article is by Leslie Christian who has 30 years experience in the investment field is Chief Investment Officer.

American citizens have been informed by their leaders and many experts that the US financial system was on the brink of collapse last month. It probably was. And may still be. Americans have also been told that the U.S. entire economy is at risk. American "financial system" is not equal to the economy. The economy is the exchange of needed goods and services. The financial system exists to facilitate that exchange. American financial system has far exceeded that rather modest role. The fact is that the financial system creates wealth by creating money. But money isn't wealth at all. Some money is simply air.
It's sad to say goodbye to the "good old days," as flawed as they were. There's just too much debt backed by now-worthless assets like bad loans and securities structured from these loans. And it's scary to witness the disaster response mentality of the U.S. leaders.

It's as if Americans can only deal with problems when they become crises-before that, they deny and ignore them. Perhaps, after scaring America into a war in the Middle East, American leaders have come to believe that this is an effective way to govern.
Was the U.S. financial system really on the brink of collapsing? In this environment of crisis management and hyperbole, Americas may never really know. As if Congress and the Treasury can swoop in and solve the problem. As if they can possibly believe that a country that has more than 9 trillion dollars in debt can keep on printing money in order to save itself. In reality, it may be possible to ease or defer the pain, but, sooner or later, Americans will have to begin living within their means. It's actually amusing to listen to the experts talk about "taxpayers" money when, in reality, the funds to rescue American financial system will be borrowed on the world markets. Of course, then it becomes the taxpayers' obligation. So, it really isn't the money-it's the debt.

American people have been told a horror story about the economy, but they don't have to let it paralyze or immobilize them. And they shouldn't believe everything they are told. Americans need to test every statement; every scare tactic against their own experiences and what they know is true in their lives and communities. And Americans can choose to see that this "meltdown" is really a cleansing, a time that offers great opportunity to get back to the basics, to focus on what's realistic and what they can accomplish at a local economic level.
Let's get to the task of facilitating the efficient exchange of goods and services, which, in the process, employs people in productive capacities so they can then afford to buy what they need. It sounds simple, and it is simple. Americans have allowed themselves to be convinced that the Economy is a god when, in fact, it's the human system for getting things done. Despite the behavior of the Wall Street crowd, the economy is not a casino and does not need gambling to thrive.


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