It is difficult to “get ahead,” as in “accumulate assets,” in today’s radically uncertain investment markets. Nevertheless, it is received opinion in the US that if one “plays by the rules” one can “succeed.” This kind of success is narrowly defined as being able to save up enough money to buy a home, raise children, send them to college, and then retire without being a “burden on society.” These rules, although strict, included legal protections for workers and consumers. More people prospered under these regulatory regimes.
Now, regulatory regimes have been attenuated, weakened, maligned, and captured. As a result, corporations have been allowed to legally plunder the people that they are meant to serve. Their avarice knows no bounds. These financial actors are cannibalizing their hosts, we the people and the planet we depend upon for life, without even a thank you. In the corporate jubilation that followed every deregulation and privatization, our savings and home equity were plundered without apology or punishment of the perpetrators. I aim to show the levers and gears of these financial meltdowns, their causes, the failures that follow, and the effects of those failures on the typical nuclear family. I intend to demonstrate that a paradigm shift is occurring right now about how the USA might right its financial ship and get back in touch with its inhabitants. Young people are saying we have to figure out how to reward ourselves in ways that take into consideration equity, equality and fundamental fairness. We have to figure out how to invest in ways that create happy communities and happy families. How can investors protect their assets in a world gone mad?
Table of Contents
- a) How war profiteering led to the Marshall Plan. 7
- b) Erosion of Labor Law @Taft-Harley & Demobilization of female workforce after WWII. 8
- c) Remobilization of armament industry (Red Scare) 8
- d) The Bracero Program.. 9
- e) Steel Industry Strikes. 9
- a) The Pill 10
- b) The Stock Market seeks growth opportunities – Equity Funding. 11
- c) Studebaker Pension Fund failure. 11
- d) The conquest of cool 14
- a) The fiscalization of national product 17
- b) Oil embargo. 18
- c) Wage and price controls. 19
- d) Interest rate climb. 19
- e) War on Inflation. 19
- a) Deregulation and privatization. 19
- b) The fiscalization of national product 20
- c) The Savings and Loan crisis. 20
- d) Early 1980s recession. 22
- e) Black Monday 1987. 23
- a) Early 2000s recession – dot com bust 25
- b) The collapse of Enron 2001-2002. 26
- c) WorldCom accounting scandal 27
- d) Subprime mortgage crisis. 27
- e) Real estate market cratered, stock market crashed AGAIN.. 28
- f) The Housing Bust, the Repo scams, and Middle class hollowing out 29
- a) Irish and Icelandic banking crises. 30
- b) Student debt crisis. 31
- c) 2014 Russian financial crisis. 31
- d) 2015 Chinese Stock Market Crash. 31
- a) Arab Spring & Libya & Occupy. 32
- b) The rise of Bernie Sanders and the return of class analysis. 32
It is difficult to “get ahead,” meaning “accumulate assets.” However, it is received opinion in the US that if one “plays by the rules” one can “succeed.” This kind of success is defined narrowly as being able to save up enough money to buy a home, raise children, send them to college, and then retire without being a “burden on society.” These rules included legal protections for workers and consumers. A broader range of society prospered under these regulatory regimes.
Now, the regulatory regimes have been attenuated, weakened, maligned, and captured. As a result, corporations have been allowed to legally plunder the people that they are meant to serve. Their avarice knows no bounds. These financial actors are cannibalizing their hosts, we the people and the planet we depend upon for life, without even a thank you. In the corporate jubilation that followed every deregulation and privatization, our savings and home equity were plundered without apology or punishment of the perpetrators. I aim to show the levers and gears of these financial meltdowns, their causes, the failures that follow, and the effects of those failures on the typical nuclear family. I intend to demonstrate that a paradigm shift is occurring right now about how the USA might right its financial ship and get back in touch with its inhabitants. Young people are saying we have to figure out how to reward ourselves in ways that take into consideration equity, equality and fundamental fairness. We have to figure out how to invest in ways that create happy communities and happy families. How can investors protect their assets in a world gone mad?
In 2015, Japan’s sovereign debt offerings went into “negative” territory. This means that Japan is offering its bonds on the market and expecting investors to pay for the privilege of holding its debt rather than paying interest.
Japan can expect to sell its debt instruments, even with that premium cost to the holder, because sovereign debt of big rich nations like Japan and the USA is considered a safe and stable place to park investor funds when other markets are deemed too risky for investment. In other words, people do not want to purchase the debt of countries like Greece (an extreme example to illustrate the argument) because there is no assurance that their funds will be safe.
Why do nations have to sell bonds to finance their operations? Because their current accounts do not have enough money to fund all the services the nation provides. Why is it that nations do not have enough money to fund their services? There’s a two part answer: first, nations must invest in capital-intensive projects like maintaining roads and schools that cannot always be financed with current tax revenues and second, individuals and corporations avoid or evade their tax obligations using a combination of legal and illegal means. There’s a third reason that most students of economics are reluctant to raise: the economic system itself, prone to booms, bubbles and busts, makes it difficult to accumulate and retain capital. There are winners and losers in monopoly capitalist systems and the losers are more likely to be small investors and governments. The system has been rigged for the rich. Movements of large sums are artificially influenced by the basic view that capital has to earn income. Transnational corporations have near complete control over movements of capital in the 21st century; thus governments are starved and people are starved, enslaved, made ill, injured or killed.
The preceding views spring from a background in the Critical Law and Economics discipline. Nothing happening today in the world economy gives us cause to celebrate. Not just Japan, but many European countries have been running negative interest rates since 2015.
Complaints across the political spectrum about continually increasing amounts of regulation to control money flows and dampen capital flight may make it mandatory for us to look at ways to “take it off the top” rather than spend billions chasing the money after it has flown. The Financial Transaction Tax in its various forms, also known as a Tobin Tax, presents itself as a rational method for governments to collect enough taxes to take care of their people’s needs.
This work springs from research conducted in support of a thesis, a risk/benefit analysis on using a Financial Transaction Tax rather than FATCA and international tax treaties to raise funds to satisfy the tax needs of nations on a global basis. The unfathomable size and scope of the colossal government and private institutional bureaucracies needed to enforce FATCA and tax treaties could make the discussion in favor of an FTT with global reach fruitful to analyze.
Holding up a new analysis of the risk/benefits of FTT alongside the ever-increasing need for global Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) laws, regulations, policies and operationalization may make the case for an FTT impossible to ignore.
- I bolster my argument by providing an historic excursion through a few decades worth of misguided-at-best, war-crime-bad at worst, geopolitical financial actions. For many observers, it is clear that trusting the invisible hand of the market makes cash disappear like magic into the unaccountable maw of vertical integration, offshore banking and underground economies.
- This paper will provide a “people’s history” rather than a close financial analysis of each of the events listed herein. There will be plenty of room for quibbling with each of my analyses but the arc of history will demonstrate that emphasizing faith in a rigged system is a ludicrous fantasy.
To remedy the unspeakable devastation wrought on Europe and Asia by WWII, American policymakers devised The Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan aimed to provide the means for European nations to rebuild their infrastructure and economies. Our high school history books present the Marshall Plan as an altruistic outpouring of love on our devastated allies. In fact, the Plan was necessary to provide new markets for the massive production capabilities America developed during the war. Our war profiteers needed market growth to maintain and increase their earnings. Capitalism’s basis tenet is that it must grow, or die. In the infinite world we perceived before the Industrial Revolution, that fantasy could be maintained. Today, we live in a finite world shrunken by 21st century-style globalization and communicate instantly across the globe by means of the Internet. We know that our seas are the last home for incalculable amounts of land-based toxins and our water and air are the last frontiers for corporate control.
American workers who sacrificed economic benefits of their labor during WWII were told that they were patriots. Thus, they accepted that wages were artificially held down by anti-strike provisions and wage freezes. When the war ended, workers expected to reap the fruits of their labor. The period directly after WWII saw huge increases in labor activities as rank and file members sought to make good on their deferred hopes. When we began to repatriate our veterans as the World War wound down, we had to make sure that they had jobs to return to. Thus, management pressure and government policies acted to take away jobs from women, who had constituted a high percentage of the labor force during the war. Strikes, work-to-rule, and secondary boycott actions increased dramatically. Legislators took action: the Taft-Hartley Act, passed in 1948, began the long process that has decimated the union movement in the US. Workers were “protected” from union “abuses” under the Act. 
Remobilization of armament industry (Red Scare); The Bracero Program; Steel Industry Strikes
Timeline of market incidents from 1928 to 2016
A People’s History of Stock Market Crashes 1946-2016: The View from Below
Timeline Before Study– Notable events
1929 Market Collapse into Great Depression
1936 Wagner Act passed
1937-38 Recession within Depression
Timeline of Study
1946 Repatriation of solders
1946 Women frozen out of jobs
1946 Marshall Plan
1948 Taft-Hartley Act
1948 Red Scare & Permanent War Footing of US Economy..
Cold War (until 1988)
1955 Bracero Program
1959 Steel Industry Strikes
Space Race – Piddling away our commonwealth into orbit
1960s The Conquest of Cool
1960 “Mad” Men
1960 The Pill
1962 Kennedy Slide aka Flash Crash of 1962
1963 Studebaker Motors Pension Fund Failure
1963 Kennedy Assassination
1964 Equity Funding Mutual Funds Failure
1968 Martin Luther King Jr. Assassinated
1968 Robert F. Kennedy Assassinated
1968 Nixon President by fluke
1971 US dollar now backed by oil
1973-1974 stock market crash due to high oil prices
1973 OPEC Oil Embargo on US
1973 Inflation at 3.6%
1974 ERISA passed to cover bad private pension debts like Studebaker
1974 Inflation at 9.4%
1975 Privatization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pays for part of VietNam War.
1977 Inflation at 5.2%
1980 Inflation at 13.9%
1980 Reagan selected
1980 Business is cool
1980 Deregulation, privatization, destruction of unions
1980 Fiscalization of national product, Phillips Curve invoked
1981 Savings and Loans deregulation, speculation allowed
1981 Deep recession begins; the worst since Depression
1985 Savings and Loan Crisis; Big bailouts needed. No one went to prison but Charles Keating. The Bush’s sure didn’t and they were involved. Greatest bank collapse since the Great Depression. (Remember this phrase. It occurs all too often.)
1987 Black Monday: largest stock market drop since the 1929 crash.
1989 Rio De Janeiro stock exchange crash
1989 Friday the 13th mini-crash
1990-1991 Recession; largest since early 1980s.
1991 Japanese asset price bubble
1992 UK forced to withdraw the pound sterling from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) after the UK could no longer keep sterling above its agreed lower limit.
1997 Asian financial crisis
1997 Global stock market crash caused by Asian Financial Crisis
1998 Russian financial crisis
1999-2000 dot-com bubble
2000-2002 Recession from dot-com bubble caused loss of 8 Trillion of wealth
2001-2002 Collapse of Enron
2001 September 11 attacks caused global markets to drop sharply
2002 Uruguay banking crisis
2002 WorldCom accounting scandal; G.W. Bush promotes “ownership” society.
2003 Bush actors weaken state regulations so lender can make loans without regard
for buyer ability to pay.
2003 Myanmar banking crisis
2007 Chinese stock bubble
2007 US subprime and collateral markets collapse
2007 Collapse of Irish and Icelandic economies.
2007-2009 Bear market in US
2008 Russian stock market collapse
2008-2009 Belgian financial crisis
2008-2012 Icelandic Financial crisis
2008-2009 Ukrainian financial crisis
2008-2011 Irish banking crisis
2008-2012 Spanish Financial crisis
2008 UK Bank rescue package
2009 UK Bank rescue package
2009-2010 Venezuelan banking crisis
2009 Dubai debt standstill
2010 European sovereign debt crisis
2010 Student debt crisis
2010 Arab Spring
2011 Stock markets around the world plummet and remain volatile for rest of year
2011 Panama Free Trade Agreement
2013 Voting Rights Act destroyed by Supreme Court
2014 Russian financial crisis
2015 Chinese stock market crash
2016 US Presidential election mashup
2016 The Panama Papers
98 market adjustments to date
Creative Commons 4 BY License
References and Resources
 National Labor Relations Board, Taft-Harley Act, major provisions. https://www.nlrb.gov/who-we-are/our-history/1947-taft-hartley-substantive-provisions. Accessed 2-15-2016
 National Labor Relations Act, aka Wagner Act, was enacted in 1935 as a measure “just to labor,” whose grievances became ever more obvious during the Depression. It was imperative, to boost the economy, that people had income to spend and goods to consume. https://www.nlrb.gov/who-we-are/our-history/1935-passage-wagner-act Accessed 2/15/2016
 Various social problems in the US have been identified as “wars” for similar reasons. One example is the “War on Drugs,” the US’s most expensive and longest war, going on four decades now.
 Duncan Lyall Burns. The Steel Industry, 1939-1959: A Study in Competition and Planning. Cambridge University Press. P. 167, 132 US dominated industry Table 6.
 Chicago Tribune Archives, German Steel Workers Call Strike April 9. April 1, 1958. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1958/04/01/page/22/article/german-steel-workers-call-strike-april-9. Accessed March 1, 2016
 John F. Kennedy. JFK Library. Remarks by Senator John F. Kennedy at a Democratic Party reception in Pueblo, Colorado. http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKCAMP1960-1031-004.aspx
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“The fraud at Equity Funding Corporation of America was essentially a securities fraud. While much attention has been focused on the insurance aspects, especially the manufacture of bogus policies, that activity was merely one part of a much larger stock fraud that began at or before the time Equity Funding’s first public offering in 1964. The perpetrators of the fraud, who were major holders of the company’s stock, intended to inflate and keep the market price of the company’s common stock for the purposes of personal enrichment and ego enhancement. They wanted to be known as the management force behind a company believed to phenomenally successful. The fraud was implemented principally by inflating the company’s reported earnings largely through recording nonexistent commission income. This practice appears to have begun at least as early as 1964 in anticipation of the company’s first offering of common stock…”
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Black Panther Ten-Point Platform.
- We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black and oppressed communities.
- We want full employment for our people.
- We want an end to the robbery by the capitalists of our Black and oppressed communities
- We want decent housing, fit for the shelter of human beings.
- We want decent education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society
- We want completely free health care for all Black and oppressed people.
- We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of Black people, other people of color, and all oppressed people inside the United States.
- We want an immediate end to all wars of aggression.
- We want freedom for all Black and oppressed people now held in U.S. federal, state, county, city and military prisons and jails. We want trials by a jury of peers for all persons charged with so-called crimes under the laws of this country.
- We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace, and people’s community control of modern technology.
http://zinnedproject.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/blackpanthers_10pointprogram.pdf Acc. 3-22-2016
 Adam Liptak. June 25, 2013. Supreme Court Invalidates Key Part of Voting Rights Act. NYT Permalink http://nyti.ms/1FUpwx5 Acc. March 21, 2016
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 Frank, Ibid.
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 Global Nonviolent Action Database. American air-traffic controllers strike for benefits and pay, 1981. https://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu/content/american-air-traffic-controllers-strike-benefits-and-pay-1981
 Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes, Andrei Scleifer, Robert W. Vishny. Privatization in the United States. The Rand Journal of Economics. Vol. 28, No. 3, Autumn 1997 pp. 447-471 http://scholar.harvard.edu/shleifer/files/privatization_us.pdf
 Lopez-de-Silanes, Ibid.
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 Martin Tolchin (1990-09-27). “Legal Scholars Clash Over Neil Bush Actions”. New York Times.
 T. Sablik. Recession of 1981-1982. Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. http://www.federalreservehistory.org/Events/DetailView/44
 Sablik, Ibid.
 Sablik, Ibid.
 Phillips Curve, Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/phillipscurve.asp
 Sablik, Op.Cit.
 D. Bernhard, M. Eckblad. Black Monday, the Stock Market Crash of 1987. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. http://www.federalreservehistory.org/Events/DetailView/48
 Bernhard. Ibid.
Savings and Loans Crisis: Causes, Cost: How Congress Created the Biggest Bank Collapse Since the Depression http://useconomy.about.com/od/grossdomesticproduct/p/89_Bank_Crisis.htm
 1990-92 Early 1990s Recession. Slaying the Dragon of Debt: Fiscal Politics and Policy from the 1970s to the Present. http://vm136.lib.berkeley.edu/BANC/ROHO/projects/debt/1990srecession.html
 1990-92 Early 1990s Recession, ibid.
 On the Issues. http://www.ontheissues.org/Celeb/Dick_Cheney_Budget_+_Economy.htm
 Amazon.com listing for Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market.
 A. Beattie. Market Crashes: The Dotcom Crash. Investopedia.
 Beattie. Ibid.
 T. DeGrace. The Dot Com Bubble Burst That Caused the 2000 Stock Market Crash.
 Money Crashers. Factors that led to the Dot-Com Bubble Burst.
 Money Crashers, ibid.
 Money Crashers, ibid.
 Called to Account. Time Magazine. A special package.
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 Lyke, ibid.
 Jo Becker, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Stephen Labaton. Bush drive for home ownership fueled housing bubble. New York Times. Dec. 21, 2008. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/business/worldbusiness/21iht-admin.4.18853088.html?_r=0
 Becker ibid.
 Eliot Spitzer. Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime. Washington Post. February 14, 2008
 Spitzer. Ibid.
 D. Baker. The Housing Crash Recession: How Did We Get Here? PBS. NOW. 3-21-2008
 Caja Whitehouse, JPMorgan forks over $50M in ‘robo-signing’ Pact with DOJ. USA Today. March 4, 2015.
 G. Connor. IMF Post-Program Monitoring Report on Ireland notes the unusual risk profile of the Irish banking sector. Irisheconomy.ie. January 20, 2016.
 Connor. Ibid.
 Connor. Ibid.
 M. O’Brien. The miraculous story of Iceland. The Washington Post. June 17, 2005. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/17/the-miraculous-story-of-iceland/
 O’Brien. Ibid.
 O’Brien. Ibid.
 O’Brien. Ibid.