Goodbye Lenin, Hello Bernanke

Goodbye Lenin, Hello Bernanke, by Ian Verrender.

In the space of a mere eight years, the former US Federal Reserve Bank Chair Ben Bernanke has managed to achieve what Lenin could barely conceive. He’s convinced the US, the UK, Japan and Europe to embark on a revolutionary journey to completely subvert free market instincts. …

Unlike his Russian predecessor, Ben has opted for the calm, congenial exterior of Central Banker from Central Casting, complete with a mogadon monotone designed to lull his audience into a state of torpor.

He’s also wisely decided to modify the wealth distribution bit. As western governments have raided the kitty, plunging themselves into an ocean of debt, much of the proceeds have flowed directly into asset markets – stocks, bonds and property – which has helped maintain the flow of wealth towards the wealthy. Brilliant! …

Even investment banks, having ridden this artificial boom for seven years, have grown wary of the overbearing influence the state on financial markets.

Take this note from Macquarie to clients last week, reprinted by blogsite Macrobusiness: “We believe that the global economy and investors are residing in the twilight zone between an era of relatively free market capitalist economies (with its own set of signals) and a new environment which is likely to be completely dominated by the state.”

Who knows where this all will end? Many are concerned that all this Central Bank intervention not only has prolonged the inevitable, but created an environment for a much greater collapse.

Others are starting to think that it all may never end; that we’ve discovered the elixir of permanent wealth; that given governments have bought all their own debt, they’ll just forgive themselves or extend the payment date into the never never.

But even Lenin realised there were limits to revolutionary activity.

That article was on the ABC. On some topics, like finance, the ABC can still make the authorities uncomfortable (“talk truth to power”), but it does it precious little of that nowadays. Instead, on most topics today the ABC talks power to truth, squashing people like Sonia Kruger (next post).

hat-tip Damon