Thursday, September 14, 2017

Today's Financial Sector Number

Today, global financial assets (including just stocks and bonds) are worth over $250 trillion and amount to about 330 percent of global gross domestic product, up from $12 trillion and just 110 percent in 1980.
No shortage of capital in the world now. Instead we have so much capital that people like the author of the above worry more about the effects of bubbles and asset price fluctuations than productivity or wages. Again I say: if capitalists can't find productive uses for all the money they control, governments should take some of it via higher taxes and spend in on things we could use.


G. Verloren said...

One of the major failings of Capitalism is that tends to motivate people to act like dragons.

Amass wealth, then use that wealth to amass more wealth. What do you do with all that wealth? Nothing. You hoard it and sit on it, luxuriating in your treasure trove. You seek wealth for wealth's sake. It has no purpose or utility beyond giving power and luxury to you personally.

The insidious thing about money is that, the more of it you have, the easier it becomes to get more of it. The poor of the world break their backs to scrape together whatever wealth they can, and have to spend it immediately just to survive. But the wealthy of the world know that they can make their money "work for them", living off interest rates and profit margins.

Once you reach a critical threshold of capital, you switch from producing value to extracting it from others. Why produce things when you can simply charge rents to other people in exchange for allowing THEM to produce things? Why do work when you can simply get other people to do the work for you and let you skim off the top?

Our economic system rewards selfishness and greed, and disincentivizes providing for the public good. We require of the wealthy just enough largesse to supply the bread and circuses necessary to prevent general unrest, but no more. We don't particularly care about things like fairness or human suffering - we're much too busy marveling at the grandeur and pageantry of our celebrity dragons. As long as they glitter enough to convince people that they somehow deserve to sleep atop mountains of gold and diamonds while the poor scrabble in the dirt, the system self perpetuates, along with all its injustices.

Shadow said...

"What do you do with all that wealth? Nothing. You hoard it and sit on it, luxuriating in your treasure trove."

Treasury Secretary Munuchin? Or perhaps he had a cash flow problem :-)

It bothers me more that after making millions or billions, bankers" get key jobs in Administration after Administration and determine tax policy and budget allocations. It's an attitude I would rather see stay in the private section.