Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2009: The Year of the Great Vampire Squid

2009: The Year of the Great Vampire Squid

The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.
- Matt Tabbi, “Inside the Great American Bubble Machine
The Great Vampire Squid
For years, it was hard for many of us to fathom the psychopathic nature of our financial elites, or to expand the meaning of Matt Tabbi’s marvelous description of Goldman Sachs, the great vampire squid. Squid seems a fitting name for the financial cartel that drives what I have traditionally called the Tapeworm.
There were some who saw the danger immediately and tried to warn us, like Sir James Goldsmith. There were some, like myself, who tried to prevent the housing bubble and find alternatives to investing our life savings in it.
While those efforts did not stop the squid, they certainly made it clear that the squid take down of the planet was, indeed, part of a plan. That’s all documented now.
The Squid Shifts the Money
I often tell the story of my meeting with a group of pension fund leaders in 1997 in which the President of the CalPERs pension fund— the largest in the country—said, “You don’t understand. It’s too late. They have given up on the country. They are moving all the money out in the fall (of 1997). They are moving it to Asia.”
Sure enough, in the fall of 1997 trillions of dollars began to shift out of North America and into the emerging markets, including Asia and China. This included over $4 trillion that went missing from the US government, which I have referred to for years as “the missing money.”
My back-of-the-envelope estimate was that approximately $10 trillion was moved out legally and illegally between that fall of 1997 and 9-11. Given the implications to US pension funds and retirement savings, I have said for years that perhaps the most important question of our generation is where did the money go and how do we get it back?
To the squid’s credit, shifting investment from places with aging populations to places with younger, more dynamic populations makes sense. Problem is that oftentimes the money left by sneaky means, leaving many high and dry to the benefit of the few engineering the moves. Equity owned by the many disappeared out the back door, and turned up in Asia owned by the few.

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