No rally: full recession, fears of deflation and the spectre of Marx

happiness: http://www.freewebs.com/socialistcommonwealth/bralds_marx-s%20(2).jpg sadness: Tokyo stock exchange on another Black Friday, Oct. 24 2008 (AP)

ITALIAN SECTION

31 ottobre. BREAKING NEWS: – rottura tra CAI e piloti, l’Alitalia ad un passo dal fallimento. IN TAL CASO NON  SUBENTREREBBE NEMMENO UNA COMPAGNIA EUROPEA, ma si venderebbe a pezzi. Colannino a colloquio dal Premier (ore  7pm) – Draghi: non deve essere l’EURIBOR  il tasso di riferimento per i mutui casa

DOPO IL MASSIMO. Speriamo che me la cavo.

La riuscita manifestazione PD dei 750.000 del 25 ottobre, e successivamente lo sciopero generale della scuola,  alzano – ceteris paribus, benche’ non di molto – le chances che rinasca un’opposizione in Italia, quindi la lotta di classe possa ridurre il peso della crisi sugli oppressi, i  pensionati ed il popolo bue. La c.d. “sinistra di governo” taccia per sempre, dopo che mentre stava per crollare il capitalismo finanziario, ha cercato invano di far carte false e convincere  i lavoratori di mettere le loro liquidazioni e pensioni nei FONDI BIDONE. Anche questi Prodi ministri e sindacalisti hanno la faccia come il culo. Per fortuna c’erano i sindacati di base a fare contro-informazione.

ALAN: LA FACCIA COME IL CULO

Per la prima volta sotto il fuoco di fila del Parlamento, alla Commissione Oversight and Government Reform, Alan Greenspan (resp. No. 1 al mondo del crollo del capitale finanziario) fa finta di fare auto-critica ieri: fu “a flaw” non regolare i derivati. MA IL BANCHIERE CRIMINALE DICE PURE IL CONTRARIO:

Greenspan, responding to questions, said only “onerous” regulation would have prevented the financial crisis. Stifling rules would have suppressed growth and hurt Americans’ standards of living, he said. (source: Bloomberg)

IL BANCHIERE BASTARDO, LA FACCIA COME IL CULO, ha sostenuto ancora una ricetta auto-regolativa delle sue, che hanno governato a colpi di bubbles, e stanno portando il mondo alla fame. Quando una finanziaria emette securities, se ne deve tenere per se una certa quota, così e’ incentivata a dare il giusto prezzo al rischio.

I PIFFERAI DI BREMA

Invece il nostro vituperato Cavaliere, in una delle sue 10.000 smentite aveva azzardato che si potevano chiudere i mercati: ebbene, lo dice pure – a Bloomberg – Roubini che se ne intende. Il Cavaliere, ormai lo sappiamo, vale sempre PRIMA della smentita. Il problema e’ che con lui, il geniale Brunetta  e Hood Robin Tremonti al governo vale la

LEGGE DI MURPHY

“Se qualcosa può andar storto, la catastrofe e’ assicurata”. Mentre l’ ultimo governo Prodi tergiversava, questi ci potrebbero portare dritti dritti …

CROZZA-DOLLARO

A share trader behind a false one dollar bill (much similar to the one alive, you see at Crozza Italia TV show) at the German stock exchange in Frankfurt, October 24, 2008.   REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

CHRONICLES FROM A RED PLANET: MARX

Oct. 27 Reuters   Korean Confederation of Trade Union Vice-President Ju Bong-hee takes part in a protest against the ongoing meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (FGMD) as he is blocked by anti-riot police in Manila, Philippines, October 27, 2008. The number of undocumented migrant workers across the world is expected to rise in the face of the global financial crisis, trade unions and business leaders warned on Monday, urging governments to respect labor rights.   MIGRANT ARE NOT COMMODITIES: REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco Oct. 24 Alphaville http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2008/10/24/17413/black-hole-friday/

Recommended reading: Roubini’s latest take: We’ve reached a situation of sheer panic… There will be massive dumping of assets [and] hundreds of hedge funds are going to go bust. Systemic risk has become bigger and bigger… We’re seeing the beginning of a run on a big chunk of the hedge funds… don’t be surprised if policy makers need to close down markets for a week or two in coming days.

Here is our comment  to Fabius Maximus, http://fabiusmaximus.wordpress.com/, posted on rge http://www.rgemonitor.com/globalmacro-monitor/254129#125448

New recommendations to solve our financial crisis (and I admit that I was wrong) Fabius Maximus | Oct 23, 2008 Summary:  Please vote, and do so carefully!  This could be one of the most important elections in American history, as continued economic crisis might require a massive (and hopefully temporary) expansion of government power — unlike anything we have seen except during wars. On September 25 I sketched out A solution to our financial crisis, in three parts. (1)  Stabilize the financial system – Being attempted, probably now it’s too late. (2a)  Stabilize the economy with monetary stimulus– Rates are coming down and money printed, but probably with relatively little effect. (2b)  Stabilize the economy with fiscal stimulus — Just now being considered; will work but slow to implement and slow to have effect. (3)  Arrange long-term financing for steps #1 and #2 with our foreign creditors – Unacceptable to our leaders at this time. Parts 1 and 2 are being implemented, much as described.  Part 3 was described as necessary at some point in the future.  I said that these probably would not work over the medium to long term, but would mitigate the downturn (slow or even reduce the economic decline, and alleviate the resulting suffering). I was wrong.  The rate of decline — destabilization of the global financial system – has become so great that these measures will prove insufficient.  In my opinion (these are, of course, guesses).  Since I doubt our leaders have a Plan B, here is a suggestion. Extreme mobilization by the government of our economic resources, as we have done during wars.

Hei Fab I always read your blog and I quote it, suggest it from mines. Thanks for the self-critique, actually more convincing than Greenspan’s… I agree on a war-like mobilization for the immediate short term, a sort of OBAMA NEW DEAL or even more than that. The war metaphor is important in the US, where only military Keynesianism is allowed by the “public opinion” and pop culture. And beyond? I can’t see how this severe recession and credit meltdown might not go into sharp deflation and then depression, until wealth redistribution is taken seriously and DRASTICALLY into account. Yours Fabius Minimus Reply to this comment By enzo fabio arcangeli on 2008-10-24 03:25:21    Oct. 21.

THE FRENCH STATE entropy: from champions nationaux to no selection, saving everybody.

Sarkozy applies financial socialism and semi-nationalise 6 banks. Meltdown financial capitalism rediscovers “Partecipazioni Statali”, i.e. what Mussolini  already did in the 1930s. ft – France injects €10.5bn into top six banks

The French government’s injection in the form of subordinated loans will shore up balance sheets and maintain credit provision for consumers and businesses – 11:28 Crédit Agricole would receive €3bn, BNP Paribas €2.55bn, Société Générale €1.7bn, Crédit Mutuel €1.2bn, Caisse d’Epargne €1.1bn and Banque Populaire €0.95bn.

WE REPRODUCE HERE THE ABSTRACT OF OUR STATIC PAGE  “AAA UPDATES …”, that we strongly  recommend to our readers and students, since it develops in real time a collection and comment of economic analyses and policies. This ABSTRACT answers the historical FAQ no.1, after the Wall Street collapse.

SUMMARY

THE DEFINITIVE CRISIS OF FINANCIAL CAPITALISM? MAYBE; BUT NOT  NECESSARILY, and the game is not over yet. Its Greenspan – Reaganite standard version is certainly dead forever –  in the earthquake moved by the shadow finance meltdown. But – doing  their business as usual of collaborationists with Rentier Capital –  social-democrats “doc” à la Gordon Brown (followed willy nilly by such neophites as Bush, Merkel and Sarkò) are desperately looking for a “financial socialist” escape from this cul-de-sac, meltdown and ruins of a Glorious Years past.  Most likely, they won’t succeed: a. first of all since their analysis is wrong (it’s not based  on Keynes, Kalecki and Minsky), b. therefore their cures are just palliatives; c. they just use State muscles, not the brain (see a Lex editorial on this, on Oct. 13: Brownian Motion in Europe). We can take these two Marx-Keynesian axioms for granted. For sure: 1) By Bernd Debusmann

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Capitalism as we used to know it is on its deathbed. And those who predicted that the old brand, the unfettered, American-promoted system, was a danger to the world, are being vindicated. They include Karl Marx … (our red-bold and underlining).

2) Giorgio Ruffolo, following but also updating Marx: “Il capitalismo ha i secoli contati (its end is a matter of centuries)”. Now Financial Capitalism might be dead. But capitalism as such will not disappear soon, not before an evolutionarily fitter “mode of production and distribution” emerges – within the same social evolution and organisation, carrying the irreversible decline of Late Capitalisms (Ernst Mandel). 3) Carlota Perez (in sintonia with Wallerstein, in a LW perspective on deflation – see also Aglietta and Berrebi): behind the financial eltdown catastrophe, there are institutional and political nodes delayed for decades. An ICT-led long wave almost aborted as a result: https://enzofabioarcangeli.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/subcrimebiosocialscience1.pdf 4) Wallerstein, the marxist historian, concludes his Oct. 15 post on  badmatthew: http://badmatthew.blogspot.com/2008/10/wallerstein-on-return-of-depression.html by saying that – 4A)  capitalism IS DEAD – a dissenting view – as a matter of decades, NOT centuries (versus Ruffolo), – 4B) and joining post-Schumpeterian Carlota’s and neo-marxist Aglietta’s regulation arguments: What happens when we reach such a point is that the system bifurcates (in the language of complexity studies). The immediate consequence is high chaotic turbulence, which our world-system is experiencing at the moment and will continue to experience for perhaps another 20-50 years. (…)  We can assert with confidence that the present system cannot survive. What we cannot predict is which new order will be chosen to replace it, because it will be the result of an infinity of individual pressures. But sooner or later, a new system will be installed. This will not be a capitalist system but it may be far worse (even more polarizing and hierarchical) or much better (relatively democratic and relatively egalitarian) than such a system. The choice of a new system is the major worldwide political struggle of our times. As for our immediate short-run ad interim prospects, it is clear what is happening everywhere. We have been moving into a protectionist world (forget about so-called globalization). We have been moving into a much larger direct role of government in production. Even the United States and Great Britain are partially nationalizing the banks and the dying big industries. We are moving into populist government-led redistribution, which can take left-of-center social-democratic forms or far right authoritarian forms.”

ft Man in the News: John Maynard Keynes Keynes’ ideas for saving capitalism from itself look increasingly relevant, and his words are a fair assessment of the dangers we face once again – Oct-17 The cautious, prudent wsj on  Oct.18, Bernanke and the Famous Helicopter:

with even the talk of deflation on the horizon, as unlikely as the prospect may be, get ready for more caricatures of Ben Bernanke sitting in a helicopter and dropping cash from the sky.

BEHIND THE CORNER – the possibility, risk of a  SHORT-TERM ACCELERATION, CONSOLIDATION OF THE LONG-TERM DEFLATIONARY GLOBAL REGIME (analysed by Aglietta and Berrebi in their book), that is already governing the global markets (commodities, finance, money, and final products) from 15 years on.  That is, a sharp fall of prices and (consumer, investment, intermediate) demand delays, in a deadly downward spiral. The Fed is worrying about it; although they believe this risk is still low: A NEW RATE REBATE WILL FOLLOW SOON, and this signals they are worrying a lot, and planning “liquidity trap” policies (at zero real interest rates).

THE SPECTRE OF MARX

(Derrida was right)

Marx reappears after so long on top of Reuters news, with a nice picture (I told you so),  in an Oct. 15 column by  Bernd Debusmann:

Karl Marx and the world financial crisis

Those measures included buying stakes in major banks – in effect partial nationalization – and would make Marx smile if he could rise from his grave. In the Communist Manifesto he and his collaborator Friedrich Engels published in 1848, Marx listed government control of capital as one of the ten essential steps on the road to communism. Step five: “Centralization of credit in the hands of the state …” … the control center of the financial market has already begun shifting from New York to Washington. (…) Amid the gloom and anxiety of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, which started in the United States in 1929 and then spread to the rest of the world, there are hopes that Capitalism 2.0 (if it ever comes about) will result in a more equal society. “There is a tremendous opportunity now to narrow the income gap,” says Sam Pizzigati of the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington think tank.

The ft certifies what markets have announced again and again, with NO rally – after the October 6-10 BLACK WEEK, and the policy answer:

a sudden and massive nationalisation of the entire Atlantic  (US-EU) credit industry.

An interesting debate was occurring in Italy between Alesina and Draghi: Why didn’t you nationalise before? According to Draghi, in August the current scenario was unthinkable.

Shall we suggest the Bank of Italy to read Roudini and de(e)pre(ce)ssion?

ft – Editorial

Saving the banks was just a first step

Published: October 17 2008 20:40 | Last updated: October 17 2008 20:40

The tide, finally, seems to have turned on the banking crisis. More financial institutions will run into trouble, but governments have moved ahead of the crisis and can – at long last – deal with it systematically. If banks now support the real economy by providing credit, more drastic steps – like full-blown nationalisation – ought not be necessary. Despite arguably the worst financial problems in a century, parallels to the Great Depression now seem hyperbolical. That is a serious step forward. We are, however, still heading into a vicious real economy slowdown. Forecasters seem to have been competing in a reverse auction to cut their expectations for growth in the next two years. A prolonged period of stagnation and recession now seems likely for the US, UK and eurozone, likely to be the worst slowdown since the early 1980s. Pain will not be confined to or concentrated in any one sector – patterns of unemployment are impossible to predict. But some industries are particularly vulnerable; makers of hefty durable goods are the first to suffer. Sales of cars, furniture and home appliances are already in free-fall. (…) Governments have, suddenly, risen to the challenges facing them, turning horrifying problems of bank confidence into manageable fiscal woes. They may even need to do the same with problems of growth by expanding public spending.

Better later than never. What is missing in the authoritative London paper, is the implicit class conflict: Hood Robin or Robin Hood? Which fiscal policy? Ask Joe the plumber… The wsj is certifying today (Oct. 18) that the LR deflation (that they ignore) is possibly giving pace to an acute, SR one, the Fed is seriously thinking and even acting about:

Threat of Deflation Looms

Policy makers navigating the U.S. through the global credit crisis may have a new concern on the horizon for 2009: deflation. The risk of deflation remains slim. But the financial shock and a faltering economy can set the stage for a deflationary environment.

Bernanke and the Famous Helicopter

Today’s financial shock and deep economic turmoil are common preconditions for deflation. As reported in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, however, Federal Reserve officials see a broad-based decline in prices as possible though highly unlikely.

The central bank faced the prospect of deflation five years ago, as core inflation (excluding food and energy) and the federal funds rate sat around 1%. … options to stimulate economic growth even if the federal funds rate were to drop to zero. Among them: using communications to shape public expectations about the course of interest rates; increasing the size of the central bank’s balance sheet; and changing the composition of the balance sheet to target particular areas. (The Fed is already doing some of that targeting with a balance sheet that has expanded enormously in recent weeks.)

Fed speeches and papers on deflation: Deflation: Making Sure “It” Doesn’t Happen Here (Bernanke) Conducting Monetary Policy at Very Low Short-Term Interest Rates (Bernanke and Vincent Reinhart) Monetary Policy Alternatives at the Zero Bound (Bernanke, Reinhart and Brian Sack)

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Roubini Hood on Nottingham meltdown

picture: a wikimedia 2001 photo of the Nottingham monument, under GNU Free Doc. license (from Robin Hood wiki).

 

SINTESI

E’  già in corso una  recessione U-shaped che durerà 2 anni (2008-10), e non e’ escludibile una depressione L-shaped per i 2010s, secondo i tempestivi commenti del prof. Roubini alla Black Week. DE(E)PRE(CE)SSION!

La sua analisi e’ implacabile, e mette nel sacco tutti i falsi profeti di auto-cure del capitalismo finanziario moribondo.

Cure drastiche, dure e Roubini-Hoodiane: vedere i punti finali del doc allegato. Un appello ai 2 meeting di Washington:

– o fermate il vecchio mondo con politiche Marx-Keynesiane,

– o sarà depressione e fame. Socialismo o depressione.

Come sanno già i nostri lettori, noi precisiamo che le politiche (benche’ sinora balbuzienti e  post-factum) sono GIA’ in un territorio socialista, ma quello sbagliato: lo statalismo di Lorsignori, come il Goldman Sachs  Socialism. Roubini Hood, col suo keynesismo coerente, fornisce un prezioso stimolo ad una piattaforma di lotta di classe internazionale per un Altro Socialismo.

Sulla sciocchezza delle politiche sin qui pensate, basti ricordare quello che osservano anche i commentatori più moderati:

a) gli US insistono a  non nazionalizzare le banche, quindi usano mezzi incoerenti anche coi loro discutibili fini di “Financial Socialism”;

b) la dis-unione europea si sta coprendo di ridicolo.

SUMMARY

DIAGNOSIS

 

The crisis was caused by the largest leveraged asset bubble and credit bubble in the history of humanity where excessive leveraging and bubbles were not limited to housing in the U.S. but also to housing in many other countries and excessive borrowing by financial institutions and some segments of the corporate sector and of the public sector in many and different economies: an housing bubble, a mortgage bubble, an equity bubble, a bond bubble, a credit bubble, a commodity bubble, a private equity bubble, a hedge funds bubble are all now bursting at once in the biggest real sector and financial sector deleveraging since the Great Depression.”

 

PROGNOSIS

 

another rapid round of policy rate cuts of the order of at least 150 basis points on average globally;

a temporary blanket guarantee of all deposits while a triage between insolvent financial institutions that need to be shut down and distressed but solvent institutions that need to be partially nationalized with injections of public capital is made;

a rapid reduction of the debt burden of insolvent households preceded by a temporary freeze on all foreclosures;

massive and unlimited provision of liquidity to solvent financial institutions;

public provision of credit to the solvent parts of the corporate sector to avoid a short-term debt refinancing crisis for solvent but illiquid corporations and small businesses;

a massive direct government fiscal stimulus packages that includes public works, infrastructure spending, unemployment benefits, tax rebates to lower income households and provision of grants to strapped and crunched state and local government;

a rapid resolution of the banking problems via triage, public recapitalization of financial institutions and reduction of the debt burden of distressed households and borrowers;

an agreement between lender and creditor countries running current account surpluses and borrowing, and debtor countries running current account deficits to maintain an orderly financing of deficits and a recycling of the surpluses of creditors to avoid a disorderly adjustment of such imbalances.”

 

We just received this mail from Prof. Roubini, and reproduce here the entire document – for its clarity, objectivity, relevance, and the emergency in which subcriminal rentiers and their Reaganite State have thrown our own lives; we, the prisoners of the collapse of our capitalist cages, much alike the victims of the Twin Towers.

Thanks, Professor Roubini Hood!


Nouriel Roubini: The world is at severe risk of a global systemic financial meltdown and a severe global depression

 

The U.S. and advanced economies’ financial systems are now headed towards a near-term systemic financial meltdown as day after day stock markets are in free fall, money markets have shut down while their spreads are skyrocketing, and credit spreads are surging through the roof. There is now the beginning of a generalized run on the banking system of these economies; a collapse of the shadow banking system, i.e. those non-banks (broker dealers, non-bank mortgage lenders, SIV and conduits, hedge funds, money market funds, private equity firms) that, like banks, borrow short and liquid, are highly leveraged and lend and invest long and illiquid, and are thus at risk of a run on their short-term liabilities; and now a roll-off of the short term liabilities of the corporate sectors that may lead to widespread bankruptcies of solvent but illiquid financial and non-financial firms.

 

On the real economic side, all the advanced economies representing 55% of global GDP (U.S., Eurozone, UK, other smaller European countries, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Japan) entered a recession even before the massive financial shocks that started in the late summer made the liquidity and credit crunch even more virulent and will thus cause an even more severe recession than the one that started in the spring. So we have a severe recession, a severe financial crisis and a severe banking crisis in advanced economies.

 

There was no decoupling among advanced economies and there is no decoupling but rather recoupling of the emerging market economies with the severe crisis of the advanced economies. By the third quarter of this year global economic growth will be in negative territory signaling a global recession. The recoupling of emerging markets was initially limited to stock markets that fell even more than those of advanced economies as foreign investors pulled out of these markets; but then it spread to credit markets and money markets and currency markets bringing to the surface the vulnerabilities of many financial systems and corporate sectors that had experienced credit booms and that had borrowed short and in foreign currencies. Countries with large current account deficits and/or large fiscal deficits and with large short-term foreign currency liabilities and borrowings have been the most fragile. But even the better performing ones – like the BRICs club of Brazil, Russia, India and China – are now at risk of a hard landing. Trade and financial and currency and confidence channels are now leading to a massive slowdown of growth in emerging markets with many of them now at risk not only of a recession but also of a severe financial crisis.

 

The crisis was caused by the largest leveraged asset bubble and credit bubble in the history of humanity where excessive leveraging and bubbles were not limited to housing in the U.S. but also to housing in many other countries and excessive borrowing by financial institutions and some segments of the corporate sector and of the public sector in many and different economies: an housing bubble, a mortgage bubble, an equity bubble, a bond bubble, a credit bubble, a commodity bubble, a private equity bubble, a hedge funds bubble are all now bursting at once in the biggest real sector and financial sector deleveraging since the Great Depression.

 

At this point the recession train has left the station; the financial and banking crisis train has left the station. The delusion that the U.S. and advanced economies contraction would be short and shallow – a V-shaped six month recession – has been replaced by the certainty that this will be a long and protracted U-shaped recession that may last at least two years in the U.S. and close to two years in most of the rest of the world. And given the rising risk of a global systemic financial meltdown, the probability that the outcome could become a decade long L-shaped recession – like the one experienced by Japan after the bursting of its real estate and equity bubble – cannot be ruled out.

 

And in a world where there is a glut and excess capacity of goods while aggregate demand is falling, soon enough we will start to worry about deflation, debt deflation, liquidity traps and what monetary policy makers should do to fight deflation when policy rates get dangerously close to zero.

 

At this point the risk of an imminent stock market crash – like the one-day collapse of 20% plus in U.S. stock prices in 1987 – cannot be ruled out as the financial system is breaking down, panic and lack of confidence in any counterparty is sharply rising and the investors have totally lost faith in the ability of policy authorities to control this meltdown.

 

This disconnect between more and more aggressive policy actions and easings, and greater and greater strains in the financial market is scary. When Bear Stearns’ creditors were bailed out to the tune of $30 bn in March, the rally in equity, money and credit markets lasted eight weeks; when in July the U.S. Treasury announced legislation to bail out the mortgage giants Fannie and Freddie, the rally lasted four weeks; when the actual $200 billion rescue of these firms was undertaken and their $6 trillion liabilities taken over by the U.S. government, the rally lasted one day, and by the next day the panic had moved to Lehman’s collapse; when AIG was bailed out to the tune of $85 billion, the market did not even rally for a day and instead fell 5%. Next when the $700 billion U.S. rescue package was passed by the U.S. Senate and House, markets fell another 7% in two days as there was no confidence in this flawed plan and the authorities. Next, as authorities in the U.S. and abroad took even more radical policy actions between October 6th and October 9th (payment of interest on reserves, doubling of the liquidity support of banks, extension of credit to the seized corporate sector, guarantees of bank deposits, plans to recapitalize banks, coordinated monetary policy easing, etc.), the stock markets and the credit markets and the money markets fell further and further and at accelerated rates day after day all week, including another 7% fall in U.S. equities today.

 

When in markets that are clearly way oversold, even the most radical policy actions don’t provide rallies or relief to market participants. You know that you are one step away from a market crash and a systemic financial sector and corporate sector collapse. A vicious circle of deleveraging, asset collapses, margin calls, and cascading falls in asset prices well below falling fundamentals, and panic is now underway.

 

At this point severe damage is done and one cannot rule out a systemic collapse and a global depression. It will take a significant change in leadership of economic policy and very radical, coordinated policy actions among all advanced and emerging market economies to avoid this economic and financial disaster. Urgent and immediate necessary actions that need to be done globally (with some variants across countries depending on the severity of the problem and the overall resources available to the sovereigns) include:

 

another rapid round of policy rate cuts of the order of at least 150 basis points on average globally;

a temporary blanket guarantee of all deposits while a triage between insolvent financial institutions that need to be shut down and distressed but solvent institutions that need to be partially nationalized with injections of public capital is made;

a rapid reduction of the debt burden of insolvent households preceded by a temporary freeze on all foreclosures;

massive and unlimited provision of liquidity to solvent financial institutions;

public provision of credit to the solvent parts of the corporate sector to avoid a short-term debt refinancing crisis for solvent but illiquid corporations and small businesses;

a massive direct government fiscal stimulus packages that includes public works, infrastructure spending, unemployment benefits, tax rebates to lower income households and provision of grants to strapped and crunched state and local government;

a rapid resolution of the banking problems via triage, public recapitalization of financial institutions and reduction of the debt burden of distressed households and borrowers;

an agreement between lender and creditor countries running current account surpluses and borrowing, and debtor countries running current account deficits to maintain an orderly financing of deficits and a recycling of the surpluses of creditors to avoid a disorderly adjustment of such imbalances.

 

At this point anything short of these radical and coordinated actions may lead to a market crash, a global systemic financial meltdown and to a global depression. The time to act is now as all the policy officials of the world are meeting this weekend in Washington at the IMF and World Bank annual meetings.