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Dubai: Gotterdammerung For Capitalist Valhalla
By Gerry Fitzpatrick
5 December 2009
Sometime last year before the financial collapse of the banking system I can recall a well known propagandist for free market capitalism writing in the Times of London that the Left following the collapse of the Northern Rock Bank were now eager for ‘Gotterdammerung’. It was, in fact a more appropriate term for what was happening to world capitalism than our now ex free marketeer realized. He had meant to say, that socialists were eager for an apocalyptic end to capitalism - which is quite untrue - given that a number of capitalist states have threatened to use thermonuclear weapons as a way of ending their mutual rivalry.
What the term Gotterdammerung (German/Norse: Twilight of the Gods) actually means is that the power of the Gods – who were once the masters of our world, is about to go into a dramatic decline and that their loss of power was caused not by revolution but by their self-destructive actions. It was therefore not something that could be simply be willed by the Left or any other mere mortal on the demigods of the free market like Conrad Black, Richard Fuld of Lehman and the board of ENRON.
But urge as we might for the growing tribe of ex demigods to suffer their fate and end up behind bars – for most of the money men, it is business as usual as an excellent BBC Panorama programme, Banks Behaving Badly has shown. Not only are the banks reluctant to lend money, the bankers are anxious that they hold on to their massive payouts. John Sweeny reported that Britain and American governments were reversing their opposition to huge bonuses and management share options. In fact Britain has now sent a delegation to Brussels - headed by the Tory Mayor of London Boris Johnston no less - to defend the City of London’s culture of bonus payments to ensure that it ‘remains competitive’. So for the ruling class the stakes remain the same in the scramble to begin inflating the next financial services bubble:
Dubai: Capitalist Valhalla
So what happens to free market warriors who now become (ex) heads of zombie banks – that is a bank that has no money and lends no money but survives by feeding on our taxes, jobs, savings and pensions? Why they like the rest of the walking finance capitals’ undead go to capitalist Valhalla: (German Norse: The house of the Gods and dead warriors) - better known as Dubai.
How on earth did those who bought stock in this particular property bubble expect to be told the truth by the tiny group of medieval autocrats who run Dubai and the Emirates region?
Last Wednesday some of the mist began to lift. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman of Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Committee announced that they will not be paying their debt to western banks as they needed one month to get the money to meet the payment – that’s a hell of a long time in today’s banking world. Time enough to put fear and uncertainty back into the minds of the dealers in ‘the green shoots of recovery’ on the floors of the world’s stock exchanges.
Dubai is a world built on sand – the very essence of the ‘pump it and dump it’ approach to stocks and high finance – (boost up the stock then dump it on those fool enough to buy it.) Once the ‘sovereign wealth’ fund ran out of land to speculate on they simply pumped sand into the sea and created a collection of artificial offshore islands.
It is this enterprise that has now almost bankrupted Dubai – we will have to see just how much ‘liquidity’ Abu Dhabi has to help Dubai reschedule their 58billion debt.
Dubai as some commentators have noted before the current crash had become the ultimate tribute to greed and exploitation of our epoch as ABC news Dubai’s Dirty Little Secret has reported:
The contrast between the planned luxury and the degradation and filth of the conditions of the ‘captive class’ being used to create that luxury could not be starker. Migrant workers living in squalor mostly from the Indian sub continent have to surrender their passports or they will not be allowed to work. As the ABC report shows the squalor is similar to the conditions of apartheid South Africa that migrant workers were forced to live in.
Sick of Ireland In Winter? Move To ‘Ireland In The Sun’
Recently an Irish consortium purchased the ultimate island fantasy – ‘Ireland’. Only this Ireland doesn’t have cuts or NAMA or An Board SNIP or rocketing unemployment - the country otherwise known as the country which became the (sub) prime example of how the boom went bust. No, this Ireland is one of the artificial islands built for the fantastically rich that lies at the centre of Dubai World’s billion dollar unreality. The consortium's plans were quite advanced as can be seen from their promotional video:
It also happens to be a fitting tribute to the vanity, greed and ignorance of our ruling class in a present of rising debt and a future of rising sea levels.
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