A Bailout Under Cover Of A Virus
Two preliminary notes.
While I often—usually?—like what Tucker Carlson has to say, his recent segment in which he again tried to blame China for Covid was not one of those times. To me, it simply served to divert attention from the people who were really to blame—people right here in the US. The people who run our medical-scientific establishment, which means the federal government in various forms.
Thanks for reading Meaning In History! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Most conservatives still buy into the Adam Smith idea of the “hidden hand”, as if ordinary people have some say. However, it does seem increasingly clear that the hand that’s hidden is the hand of the big banks. That’s a bit like Tom Luongo, saying that we’re caught between the ECB and JPMorgan Chase and the Fed. The problem is, of course, coming up with an alternative. The one that people like Michael Hudson offer is treating banks like public utilities and having planned credit allocation. He obviously never worked for the government. Anyway …
Commenter Old Frank sent me a link this morning (the second one below) and that sparked my interest because I’ve been reading a lot about these things lately. Have I mentioned lately that I don’t understand finance and I’m not an economist? That stuff mostly just makes my head hurt, but I can’t get away from the conviction that that’s the common thread that runs through most of what’s going on: Covid, Ukraine, etc.
So I did a bit of digging again. The idea that the Covid Regime was really a disguised bailout of the banking system—following on repeated bailouts going back to Long Term Capital under Clinton—was first raised (to the best of my knowledge) by Ellen Brown in May, 2020:
Posted on May 18, 2020 by Ellen Brown
Insolvent Wall Street banks have been quietly bailed out again. Banks made risk-free by the government should be public utilities.
When the Dodd Frank Act was passed in 2010, President Obama triumphantly declared, “No more bailouts!” But what the Act actually said was that the next time the banks failed, they would be subject to “bail ins” – the funds of their creditors, including their large depositors, would be tapped to cover their bad loans.
Then bail-ins were tried in Europe. The results were disastrous.
Many economists in the US and Europe argued that the next time the banks failed, they should be nationalized – taken over by the government as public utilities. But that opportunity was lost when, in September 2019 and again in March 2020, Wall Street banks were quietly bailed out from a liquidity crisis in the repo market that could otherwise have bankrupted them. There was no bail-in of private funds, no heated congressional debate, and no public vote. It was all done unilaterally by unelected bureaucrats at the Federal Reserve.
“The justification of private profit,” said President Franklin Roosevelt in a 1938 address, “is private risk.” Banking has now been made virtually risk-free, backed by the full faith and credit of the United States and its people. The American people are therefore entitled to share in the benefits and the profits. Banking needs to be made a public utility.
It’s hard to argue with what Brown is saying—and the rest of her post if quite interesting—yet, if you’re like me, the idea of nationalized banks is a pretty scary concept. As Luongo would (I think) argue, any way you slice it we’re faced with an oligarchy that, in the big scheme of things, allocates credit for the benefit of themselves and their big investor clients. The alternatives as Luongo presents them are Jamie Dimon or a Malthusian eugenicist cabal run by the likes of George Soros.
At any rate, inspired by Brown, in August, 2021, Fabio Vighi expanded on this idea of a pandemic to cover for a bailout. This is Vighi—I’m not making this up:
Fabio Vighi is Professor of Critical Theory and Italian at Cardiff University, UK. His recent work includes Critical Theory and the Crisis of Contemporary Capitalism (Bloomsbury 2015, with Heiko Feldner) and Crisi di valore: Lacan, Marx e il crepuscolo della società del lavoro (Mimesis 2018).
His argument is that what we’re seeing with our recurring systemic crises is the systemic, inherent, inevitable, crisis of capitalism. That is, the inner logic of capitalism leads to these crises. The big question, then, is: What is capitalism? A “free market” or an oligarchic banking elite that allocates capital?
Here’s Vighi’s article:
A year and a half after the arrival of Virus, some may have started wondering why the usually unscrupulous ruling elites decided to freeze the global profit-making machine in the face of a pathogen that targets almost exclusively the unproductive (over 80s). Why all the humanitarian zeal? Cui bono? Only those who are unfamiliar with the wondrous adventures of GloboCap can delude themselves into thinking that the system chose to shut down out of compassion. Let us be clear from the start: the big predators of oil, arms, and vaccines could not care less about humanity.
Follow the money
In pre-Covid times, the world economy was on the verge of another colossal meltdown. Here is a brief chronicle of how the pressure was building up:
Follow the link for the dots. It all amounts to a plausible case that in 2019 the major players in Big Finance knew that another major crisis was in the works and that some of those same people were intensely interested in pandemic planning. Vighi continues:
Joining the dots is a simple enough exercise. If we do so, we might see a well-defined narrative outline emerge, whose succinct summary reads as follows: lockdowns and the global suspension of economic transactions were intended to 1) Allow the Fed to flood the ailing financial markets with freshly printed money while deferring hyperinflation; and 2) Introduce mass vaccination programmes and health passports as pillars of a neo-feudal regime of capitalist accumulation. As we shall see, the two aims merge into one.
In 2019, world economy was plagued by the same sickness that had caused the 2008 credit crunch. It was suffocating under an unsustainable mountain of debt. ... The repo market meltdown of September 2019 must be placed within this fragile economic context.
When the air is saturated with flammable materials, any spark can cause the explosion. ... This is what happened with the ‘repocalypse’ of September 2019: interest rates spiked to 10.5% in a matter of hours, panic broke out affecting futures, options, currencies, and other markets where traders bet by borrowing from repos. ... Between September 2019 and March 2020, the Fed injected more than $9 trillion into the banking system, equivalent to more than 40% of US GDP.
The mainstream narrative should therefore be reversed: the stock market did not collapse (in March 2020) because lockdowns had to be imposed; rather, lockdowns had to be imposed because financial markets were collapsing. With lockdowns came the suspension of business transactions, which drained the demand for credit and stopped the contagion. In other words, restructuring the financial architecture through extraordinary monetary policy was contingent on the economy’s engine being turned off. ...
As claimed by economist Ellen Brown, it was “another bailout”, but this time “under cover of a virus.” Similarly, John Titus and Catherine Austin Fitts noted that the Covid-19 “magic wand” allowed the Fed to execute BlackRock’s “going direct” plan, literally: it carried out an unprecedented purchase of government bonds, while, on an infinitesimally smaller scale, also issuing government backed ‘COVID loans’ to businesses. In brief, only an induced economic coma would provide the Fed with the room to defuse the time-bomb ticking away in the financial sector. ... However, the “going direct” blueprint should also be framed as a desperate measure, for it can only prolong the agony of a global economy increasingly hostage to money printing and the artificial inflation of financial assets.
Note how this plays into Luongo’s narrative of the struggle between Davos and the Fed. According to Luongo, it’s the systemic money printing that inflates “assets” that gives Davos the power with which they buy their control over governments. Look at Europe—most of the governments have been bought by Davos. Vighi maintains that this is part of a “structural impasse”. The drive to maximize profits also leads to the drive to eliminate labor. But that, in turn, drives profit margins on manufactured goods down—capital seeks to maximize profits by fleeing to financial assets at the Wall St. Casino:
At the heart of our predicament lies an insurmountable structural impasse. Debt-leveraged financialization is contemporary capitalism’s only line of flight, the inevitable forward-escape route for a reproductive model that has reached its historical limit. Capitals head for financial markets because the labour-based economy is increasingly unprofitable. How did we get to this?
The answer can be summarised as follows: 1. The economy’s mission to generate surplus-value is both the drive to exploit the workforce and to expel it from production. This is what Marx called capitalism’s “moving contradiction”. While it constitutes the essence of our mode of production, this contradiction today backfires, turning political economy into a mode of permanent devastation. 2. The reason for this change of fortune is the objective failure of the labour-capital dialectic: the unprecedented acceleration in technological automation since the 1980s causes more labour-power to be ejected from production than (re)absorbed. The contraction of the volume of wages means that the purchasing power of a growing part of the world population is falling, with debt and immiseration as inevitable consequences. 3. As less surplus-value is produced, capital seeks immediate returns in the debt-leveraged financial sector rather than in the real economy or by investing in socially constructive sectors like education, research, and public services.
The bottom line is that the paradigm shift underway is the necessary condition for the (dystopian) survival of capitalism, which is no longer able to reproduce itself through mass wage-labour and the attendant consumerist utopia. The pandemic agenda was dictated, ultimately, by systemic implosion: the profitability downturn of a mode of production which rampant automation is making obsolete. For this immanent reason, capitalism is increasingly dependent on public debt, low wages, centralisation of wealth and power, a permanent state of emergency, and financial acrobatics.
If we ‘follow the money’, we will see that the economic blockade deviously attributed to Virus has achieved far from negligible results, not only in terms of social engineering, but also of financial predation. I will quickly highlight four of them.
1) As anticipated, it has allowed the Fed to reorganise the financial sector by printing a continuous stream of billions of dollars out of thin air; 2) It has accelerated the extinction of small and medium-sized companies, allowing major groups to monopolise trade flows; 3) It has further depressed labour wages and facilitated significant capital savings through ‘smart working’ (which is particularly smart for those who implement it); 4) It has enabled the growth of e-commerce, the explosion of Big Tech, and the proliferation of the pharma-dollar – which also includes the much disparaged plastic industry, now producing millions of new facemasks and gloves every week, many of which end up in the oceans (to the delight of the ‘green new dealers’). In 2020 alone, the wealth of the planet’s 2,200 or so billionaires grew by $1.9 trillion, an increase without historical precedent. All this thanks to a pathogen so lethal that, according to official data, only 99.8% of the infected survive (see here and here), most of them without experiencing any symptoms.
Doing capitalism differently
The economic motif of the Covid whodunit must be placed within a broader context of social transformation. If we scratch the surface of the official narrative, a neo-feudal scenario begins to take form. Masses of increasingly unproductive consumers are being regimented and cast aside, simply because Mr Global no longer knows what to do with them. Together with the underemployed and the excluded, the impoverished middle-classes are now a problem to be handled with the stick of lockdowns, curfews, mass vaccination, propaganda, and the militarisation of society, rather than with the carrot of work, consumption, participatory democracy, social rights (replaced in collective imagination by the civil rights of minorities), and ‘well-earned holidays.’
Obviously Adam Smith wouldn’t recognize this world as capitalist or free market, but it does bear an uncanny resemblance to our own world. Oligarchy is the word that comes to mind. Or fascism.
It is therefore delusional to believe that the purpose of lockdowns is therapeutic and humanitarian. When has capital ever cared for the people? Indifference and misanthropy are the typical traits of capitalism, whose only real passion is profit, and the power that comes with it. Today, capitalist power can be summed up with the names of the three biggest investment funds in the world: BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street Global Advisor. These giants, sitting at the centre of a huge galaxy of financial entities, manage a mass of value close to half the global GDP, and are major shareholders in around 90% of listed companies. Around them gravitate transnational institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the Trilateral Commission, and the Bank for International Settlements, whose function is to coordinate consensus within the financial constellation. We can safely assume that all key strategic decisions – economic, political and military – are at least heavily influenced by these elites. Or do we want to believe that Virus has taken them by surprise? Rather, SARS-CoV-2 – which, by admission of the CDC and the European Commission has never been isolated nor purified – is the name of a special weapon of psychological warfare that was deployed in the moment of greatest need.
These would be the forces behind the Neo-Colonialism that seeks to bring Russia and China to heel. Thus the hysterical hatred for Putin and the doubling down in the face of what surely looks like failure: The problem is that this entire construct will collapse unless Russia and China can be trained to the whip of Davos:
Why should we trust a mega pharmaceutical cartel (the WHO) that is not in charge of ‘public health’, but rather of marketing private products worldwide at the most profitable rates possible? Public health problems stem from abysmal working conditions, poor nutrition, air, water, and food pollution, and above all from rampant poverty; yet none of these ‘pathogens’ are on the WHO’s list of humanitarian concerns. The immense conflicts of interest between the predators of the pharmaceutical industry, national and supranational medical agencies, and the cynical political enforcers, is now an open secret. No wonder that on the day COVID-19 was classified as a pandemic, the WEF, together with the WHO, launched the Covid Action Platform, a “protection of life” coalition run by over 1,000 of the world’s most powerful private companies.
The only thing that matters for the clique directing the health emergency orchestra is to feed the profit-making machine, and every move is planned to this end, with the support of a political and media front motivated by opportunism. If the military industry needs wars, the pharmaceutical industry needs diseases. It is no coincidence that ‘public health’ is by far the most profitable sector of the world economy, to the extent that Big Pharma spends about three times as much as Big Oil and twice as much as Big Tech on lobbying. The potentially endless demand for vaccines and experimental gene concoctions offers pharmaceutical cartels the prospect of almost unlimited profit streams, especially when guaranteed by mass vaccination programmes subsidised by public money (i.e., by more debt that will fall on our heads).
Why have all Covid treatments been criminally banned or sabotaged? As the FDA candidly admits, the use of emergency vaccines is only possible if “there are no suitable, approved and available alternatives”. A case of truth hidden in plain sight. Moreover, the current vaccine religion is closely linked to the rise of the pharma-dollar, which, by feeding on pandemics, is set to emulate the glories of the ‘petro-dollar’, allowing the United States to continue to exercise global monetary supremacy. Why should the whole of humanity (including children!) inject experimental ‘vaccines’ with increasingly worrying yet systematically downplayed adverse effects, when more than 99% of those infected, the vast majority asymptomatic, recover? The answer is obvious: because vaccines are the golden calf of the third millennium, while humanity is ‘last generation’ exploitation material in guinea pig modality.
Given this context, the staging of the emergency pantomime succeeds through an unheard-of manipulation of public opinion. Every ‘public debate’ on the pandemic is shamelessly privatised, or rather monopolised by the religious belief in technical-scientific committees bankrolled by the financial elites. Every ‘free discussion’ is legitimised by adherence to pseudo-scientific protocols carefully purged from the socio-economic context: one ‘follows the science’ while pretending not to know that ‘science follows the money’. Karl Popper’s famous statement that “real science” is only possible under the aegis of liberal capitalism in what he called “the open society”, is now coming true in the globalist ideology that animates, among others, George Soros’s Open Society Foundation. The combination of “real science” and “open and inclusive society” makes the Covid doctrine almost impossible to challenge.
For the rest of the article Vighi engages in speculation about the future. I leave that to you, the reader.