Thursday, 13 March 2014

All power to the speculators

I really don’t know where to start with the latest post from Lib Dem AM Peter Black.  One of the world’s leading speculators (described in the blog as ‘a world leading expert on currency’ – I thought it was tongue in cheek, but apparently it’s intended to be taken seriously) has said, in effect, that if the intransigence of the unionist parties in the UK forces an independent Scotland to create a new currency, it will leave Scotland open to attack by speculators who will see the new currency as weak and therefore an opportunity to destabilise a whole country in the interests of making a profit.
Well, of course, any small country with its own currency is open to the same sort of unprincipled attack at any time; it doesn’t need to be a new country.  And the “financial meltdown that swept through the Eurozone” didn’t happen by accident either; much of that was the result of speculation as well.  (Yes, of course the countries concerned had a few problems of their own making, but it only became a wider crisis because of the actions of the speculators).  Any country and any currency are open to such attack at any time, regardless of size; it’s not just a problem for an independent Scotland.
The speculators need to have a fear to play on of course – otherwise they don’t all act in the same direction, and their gambles cancel each other out.  But the story here isn’t really about Scotland at all – it’s about the power that our political leaders have ceded to the casinos which pretend to be markets.
And the political answer that we need isn’t – or shouldn’t be – “you can’t do that because the speculators will ruin you if you do”, which seems to be the conclusion of the blog post.  What we need is co-ordinated action to take speculation and gambling out of the equation; we need to curb their power not bend down before it.

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