Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
on February 21, 2010 8:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (145) | TrackBacks (0)
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1. I am shocked. I am shocked that Malaysians have invited Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Britain to speak in Malaysia. I am even more shocked and I am disgusted that the organisation, which is inviting this liar of a Prime Minister, is one concerned with being achievers. Presumably they are keen to learn about the achievements of Prime Minister Blair and to learn from him how to achieve.

2. Maybe they have not heard that this is the man, the Prime Minister of Britain who has been proven to be a liar, who had admitted that he lied about the capability of Iraq to launch a nuclear attack against Britain within 45 minutes. He lied about this absurdity because he wanted his Government, Parliament and the British people to support war against Iraq, to support his violent overthrow of a foreign Government he did not approve.

3. He lied that he had information that Saddam Hussein had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Today the whole world knows that Iraq had no WMD (maybe those who are inviting him do not know about this. If they didn't know then they don't deserve to call their group as wanting to be achievers).

4. On the basis of these lies, he joined Bush in the war against Iraq, a war that has killed over 300,000 Iraqis, mostly non-combatants; which has destroyed the cities of Iraq with billions of dollars of losses, which has destroyed the city of Babylon and ancient artefacts in its museum, the birthplace of human civilisation.

5. Hundreds of British soldiers died for nothing. The shock and awe attacks have unleashed a fratricidal war between Iraqis where there was none before. It has largely been responsible for the "acts of terror" now facing the world.

6. Yet there is no end in sight. The coalition of the willing cannot even withdraw. More troops have been committed instead. But nothing has been achieved.

7. Blair has been subjected to a public enquiry. All he can say for himself is that he wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein - to achieve a regime change even if Saddam had no WMD. Saddam has been hanged along with other members of his Government. Regime change has been accomplished. But it is illegal, it is against international laws for any country to violently force a change of government in another country. For this alone Blair is guilty. But to lie blatantly in order to achieve this regime change, to kill hundreds of thousands of women, children, the old and the infirmed along with a few soldiers is more than criminal. It is certainly something that Malaysians should not want to emulate or to achieve.

8. Are the Malaysian achievers hoping to learn from Blair about how he achieved his murder of a foreign country's leader to achieve a regime change, to lie as he did in order to achieve something, to care little for the lives of innocent people, to send his soldiers into battle for nothing? These are his achievements - shameful, cruel and totally uncivilised.

9. Malaysians must protest against this liar coming to Malaysia, much less to talk on his lying achievements. I pray to God that no Malaysian would harbour this idea of learning from the achievements of this unmitigated liar, Tony Blair, the lapdog of the arch-liar Bush and the self-appointed Deputy Sheriff Howard of Australia.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
on February 19, 2010 9:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
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1. A perception seems to prevail in the so-called developed countries that the developing countries like Malaysia cannot possibly understand justice and the rule of law. Accordingly, from far off and without knowing enough about the cases involved, they are fond of passing judgement and demanding for extra democratic actions to be taken e.g. by the Government telling the court what to do.

2. The demand that the Government of Malaysia stop the trial of Anwar for sodomy is typical of the arrogance that suggests the White Australia Policy is still alive and kicking. The desire to be the Deputy Sheriff of East Asia is still there.

3. I have written elsewhere about the killing of Indian students. The Members of Parliament would do well to coach their people not to be violent racists.

4. They should also remind themselves of the genocide perpetrated against the aborigines, whose country it was, before they were casually shot to death to make way for White settlers.

5. There have been quite a number of Malaysians who had been convicted of sodomy. There was no outcry from Australia or anybody else. Do Australian MPs subscribe to inequality before the law wherein big shots should not be charged for breaking the law where small shots can be charged with impunity? Malaysia does not subscribe to people being unequal before the law.

6. I suspect (and of course I am always suspicious) that there is a desire for regime change on the part of the MPs. They want to install their own man as head of the Malaysian Government. Can I say that it is not democratic and illegal for a foreign country to install their own candidates to lead Governments in any country? Of course they can ignore such niceties.

7. Anwar can make his bid when his time comes but it is for the Malaysian people to decide if he is fit to form the Government of this country.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
on February 15, 2010 9:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBacks (0)
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1. I can understand Malaysiakini not wanting to be labelled as anti-Semitic but I don't think it is necessary to omit certain words which give a totally different interpretation of what I said in my speech at the General Conference for the support of Al-Quds.

2. What I said was "Jews had always been a problem in European countries".

3. You omitted "in European countries" thus implying that what I said was not just the Europeans but Jews were a problem for everyone including the Muslims.

4. I would like to point out that in the past when Europeans confined (the Jews) to ghettos, and periodically massacred (them), they used to seek refuge in Muslim countries (of North Africa and the Ottoman empire). They couldn't have gone there if Muslim countries were less hospitable than the Europeans. Even today Jews live in Muslim countries including in Iran. It was only after the United States welcome the Jews that they ceased to migrate to Muslim countries.

5. For the hospitality of the Muslim countries they were repaid by the Zionist by seizing Palestine to create the State of Israel. Not content with seizing Arab land they went on to expel the largely Muslim Palestinian.

6. All that I say here can be verified by the history books of Europe. If Muslims are antagonistic towards the Jews today, it is because of the way the Jews repaid them for their hospitality.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
on February 8, 2010 9:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (50) | TrackBacks (0)
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1. A commentator asked "if the Islamic Empire (there never was an Islamic empire in the sense of the other Empires - only an Islamic community - the Ummah) was so good in science before why are the Orgainisation of Islamic Conference countries lagging behind in science and technology?".

2. I had explained why before but i think I should repeat.

3. The early Muslims accepted the message of Allah in the Qur'an enjoining upon Muslims to read (Iqraq). The verse (the first to be received by the Prophet - an illiterate man) did not specify, much less limit what Muslims should read.

4. There were no books on Islam at that time but there were many books on the Hebrew and the Christian religions. There were also many books or tracts on Greek science and philosophy as well as Indian mathematics.

5. The early Muslims read and eventually translated all the writings of the Greeks, the Indians and others. Obviously they had to learn these languages first. Then they followed up by doing their own research.

6. And so the early Muslims were learned in the subjects pioneered by these other races and this added to the body of knowledge they had acquired.

7. The Europeans on the other hand were wallowing in the superstitions of the Dark Ages despite having embraced Christianity. The superior civilisation of the Muslims overwhelmed the Europeans so that Spain, Portugal, Sicily, Greece and much of Eastern Europe fell under Muslim rule.

8. But around the 15th Century of the Christian era, fatwas were made by Muslim Ulamas that "Iqraq" or read was intended for reading and studying religion only. From then on the Muslim scientists, physicians, mathematicians etc stopped their study of these subjects in order to study religion exclusively.

9. On the other hand the Europeans noticing the greatness of the Muslim civilisation decided to acquire the knowledge of the Muslims in the different subjects, including those of the Greeks. To do this Christian priests learnt Arabic and were thus able to gain access to the great libraries of Cordoba, Baghdad and elsewhere. They translated the work of the Muslim scholars and scientists into Latin and then into the other European languages.

10. If we care to read the history of the Muslims and the Europeans we would notice that from around the 15th Century of the Christian era when the Muslims rejected what they regarded as non-religious knowledge, the Muslim civilisation began to regress.

11. The Europeans, after acquiring the knowledge of the Muslims started to emerge from the Dark Ages and to build the civilisation that we see today.

12. Unfortunately Muslim historians seem not to have noticed the significance of the fatwas of the 15th Century A.D. Even today Muslims seem unwilling to connect this decline of their civilisation with the neglect of non-religious knowledge. But European historians admit that their emergence from the Dark Ages, their Renaissance, coincided with their study of the Islamic civilisation and its origins.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Way The Cookie Crumbles
A Kadir Jasin

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IT’S bad luck. The PKR supreme leader, Anwar Ibrahim, could do away with political headache as he faces his sodomy trial.

But it was not to be. While the Zulkifli vs Khalid issue is still simmering and no action has been taken against the Kulim-Bandar Baru PKR MP, a new battle has started.

(Pas had taken action against its Shah Alam MP by suspending him for six months as the Shah Alam divisional head and member of its political bureau for quarrelling with Selangor Pas Commissioner Dr Hassan Ali. Dr Hassan was given a warning.)

The looming PKR-DAP battle pitches the party’s Penang former chief, the Bayan Lepas MP, Zahrain Mohd Hashim, against the DAP Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng.

The Malaysian Insider news portal reported on Jan. 30 that the Penang DAP was baying for Zahrain’s blood and would reveal that personal issues were behind him calling the Chief Minister dictator, a chauvinist and communist-minded.

Meanwhile, the Malaysiakini writer, Terence Netto in an analysis entitled “Fissures Fester in PKR”, wrote in: “That's the way the cookie crumbles.

“This is what is being touted about PKR in the wake ofthe continued insolence of Zulkifli Nordin and the attacks on Lim Guan Eng by the party's MP for Bayan Baru, Zahrain Mohd. Hashim.

“The antics of a pyromaniac were followed by the reaction-baiting broadsides of the party's former Penang chief.

“There is the scent of mutiny in the salvoes let loose by Zahrain in recent days at the Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary general.”He is upset with Anwar Ibrahim but apparently can't bring himself to train his guns on the PKR supremo. It appears Guan Eng would do nicely as vicarious substitute.”

Malaysian Insider reported that several top DAP leaders are expected to detail the reasons behind Zahrain ratcheting his simmering feud with Lim.

One of the alleged reasons cited by the news portal was Lim’s last year decision to implement an open tender for the maintenance of the state-owned Bukit Jambul Golf and Country Club of which Zahrain is the president.

“Zahrain has provoked the DAP without just cause and some leaders will make public his motivations,” a senior DAP leader told The Malaysian Insider.

Meanwhile the news portal reported today (Jan 31) that three PKR MPs, including Zahrain, have denied speculation that they are crossing over to rivals Barisan Nasional (BN).

The other two are Merbok MP Rashid Din from Kedah and Indera Mahkota MP Azan Ismail, who just quit as deputy chief of Pahang PKR. Both confirmed they would attend a special PKR supreme council meeting this morning to be chaired by Anwar.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister I and the new PKR state chief, Dr Mansor Othman, had confirmed to The Malaysian Insider on Jan. 30 that three or four PKR MPs wanted to leave the party, but declined to give details.

Preempting the defections and in an attempt to deflect the blame from the party, PKR’s newly appointed elections director Fuziah Salleh was quoted by Malaysian Insider as saying that the MPs were considering defecting to the BN due to their failure to perform and the fear of being dropped from contesting in the next general elections.

The PKR Kuantan MP revealed that the party had been assessing the performance and effectiveness of its elected representatives, sparking fear and pushing some of them to consider their future options.

Anwar himself, according to a Malaysian Insider report, presented another version of the story. Today (Jan 31) he claimed in Petaling Jaya that there were attempt to get his lawmakers to abandon the party by Chinese New Year and attributing it to the Prime Minister, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak.

Well, if that is indeed the case, Anwar is having the table turned on him. A case of “pulang paku buah keras.” It is recalled at in Sept 2008 Anwar claimed that he would topple the government by Sept 16 (the Malaysian Day) with the help of defecting BN MPs.

The beleaguered Pakatan Rakyat defacto leader, according to the Malaysian Insider report, alleged that several MPs, including Indera Mahkota’s Azan Ismail and Balik Pulau’s Yusmadi Yusof had have been contacted by a Parti Cinta Malaysia official Huan Cheng Guan and the Malaysian Ambassador to the United States, Jamaluddin Jarjis, who urged them to leave PKR.

The deeper malice, however, may lie with Anwar himself. He could be sending the wrong signals to his party people and his Pakatan partners.

Anwar is known to be telling different people different versions of the same story to please and appease them and get their support. Upon comparing notes, they would know that they had been let up the garden path.

But to be fair, Anwar could not possibly attend to all party matters and solve all the petty quarrels among the PKR’s ambitious leaders given his upcoming trial and his frequent trips abroad.

Thus far, however, the DAP appears to be gaining the upper hand. Anwar today declared his support for Guan Eng and sending the latter’s critics to be party disciplinary committee.

Anwar told the Press that Zahrain would join the Zulkifli and Mohd Zaid Ibrahim in facing the disciplinary committee.

He said Mohd Zaid who criticised party leadership for not taking immediate action against Zulkifli, would have to explain himself.

And to borrow the concluding remark by Malaysiakini’s Netto, “Like they say, that's the way the cookie crumbles.”
Posted by A KADIR JASIN at 5:14 PM 37 comments

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
on January 29, 2010 9:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (115) | TrackBacks (0)
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1. It is now more than 10 years since the currency crisis struck Malaysia. Much has been written about the crisis and the controls imposed by the Malaysian Government to stop the devaluation of the Ringgit.

2. A few of the articles tried to defend the Malaysian Government's action but mostly the blame for the crisis was attributed to the alleged failure of the financial and economic management of Malaysia. Practically no one has implicated the currency traders for the devaluation and the crisis. Even the writers who are friendly towards the Malaysian Government refuse to blame the currency traders.

3. Many are the reasons put forward by the writers to explain the crisis. It is alleged that the stock market boom contributed to the loss of confidence in the Malaysian economy and the Ringgit. Some blame the failure to rationalise and consolidate the banking systems. Others suggested that too much money had been channeled to the property sector. The other causes identified were the total loan-to-GDP ratio had increased; the rapid expansion of credit leading to deteriorating loan quality. Then the blame was put on companies assuming that the economy would forever be on the growth path. The two-tier regulatory system on banking introduced by Bank Negara and the failure to use the interest rate as a policy tool were also cited. Contagion i.e. infection from the financial disease which had affected Thailand was regarded as a major cause.

4. Some even blame a lack of democracy which triggered the financial crisis. And many more. But as mentioned above, no one placed the blame on the manipulation of the currency, by currency traders.

5. The fact that the chairman of the IMF, Michel Camdessus had enthusiastically praised Malaysia's management of its economy and finances, had praised the Central Bank (Bank Negara), for the healthy state of the Malaysian economy and finances just a few months before the crisis struck Malaysia which run counter to the negative remarks about Malaysia's economic management seem to be disregarded. The fact that after praising Malaysia for good management Michel Camdessus himself had about-faced and condemned Malaysia for bad management after the crisis occurred did not seem to strike these writers that the IMF was faulty in assessing the performance of a country's economy. And if the IMF is incapable than is it not likely that others too, including the rating agencies may not be capable of making good assessments and that they too are not the experts that they claim to be; and that in refusing to implicate the currency traders, these experts and the writers and analysts were themselves "in denial".

6. In the light of the meltdown and the collapse of the financial bubble which had struck the great democracies like the U.S., Britain, Germany and others, should not these analysts and writers realise how ridiculous it is to attribute the Asian Crisis to a lack of democracy.

7. The present crisis which is far more serious than the Asian crisis began in the great democracies of the world. One can almost say that it is democracy which caused the crisis and one can actually prove that elements of democracy are indeed to be blamed for the crisis.

8. This is because of the idea of less Government of Ronald Reagan and the advocacy of the free market, meaning free of Government regulation and oversight, a part of the concept of liberal democracy, which precipitated the current crisis.

9. Malaysia's democracy does not accept that the absence of Government supervision in a free market is a part of democracy. It is therefore free from the effects of the sub-prime loans by banks which gave the first indication that the economies of the great democracies were not as healthy as they make it out to be.

10. Democracy, particularly liberal democracy must therefore be a cause of the present crisis, and not the lack of democracy. If further proof is needed that a lack of democracy was not the cause of the Asian crisis, one only has to look at China. It hardly suffered from the Asian crisis and today it is economically and financially much more healthy than all the democracies of the world.

11. There may be some weaknesses in the administration and policies of the East Asian countries which contributed to the crisis of 1997 - 1998. But it is time that the role of the currency traders be thoroughly exposed so as to understand the true causes of the devaluation of the currencies and the serious crisis which followed.

The Situation Prior To The Crisis

12. The whole world acknowledged that in the decade before the crisis, i.e. in the period between 1987 and 1997, East Asia was booming. Certainly Malaysia was doing extremely well growing at an average rate of 8% p.a. continuously during that ten year period.

13. The Malaysian growth was not accidental. It was a result of the policies of the Government and the management of the economy and finances. National savings at 40% plus was the highest in the world and the reserves could sustain 4½ months of retained imports. The Ringgit was strong and steady - being valued at about 2.5 to 1 USD for most of the time.

14. Foreign borrowings were insignificant and the deficits in the budget and the trading accounts were small and manageable.

15. There was political stability, a factor that was appreciated by foreign investors who came in droves.

16. As I said no less a person than the head of the IMF, Michel Camdessus publicly stated in a speech on 17th June 1997 that "Malaysia is a good example of a country where the authorities are well aware of the challenges of managing the pressures that result from high growth and of maintaining a sound financial system amidst substantial capital flows and the booming property market......... The Malaysian authorities have also emphasized maintaining high standards of bank soundness".

17. Although Paul Krugman had commented that Malaysia faced the possibility of the growth rate slowing down in the mid-90s, there was no mention of any possibility of currency devaluation or of a crisis in the offing. Neither did the great rating agencies.

18. The situation in Malaysia was certainly not like that in Thailand where foreign debts were incurred by the business community due to the low interest rates as compared to the Thai rates. There was much money expanded on development of highrise buildings in Bangkok. A lot of new property development was taking place all over the country, financed by foreign loans.

The Thai Situation

19. The situation in Thailand could not but lead to a devaluation of the Thai baht. When it happened the Central Bank stepped in to shore up the exchange rate. But very quickly the bank found that it was unable to halt the decline in the value of the baht. It decided to stop intervention and to allow the baht to float. As soon as the baht was floated, speculators and those fearing devaluation sold the baht for USD. This caused the baht to devalue faster. As the baht continued to devalue foreign investors started to sell off their shares denominated in baht to avoid further devaluation. This caused another round of devaluation. It would seem that the devaluation of the baht would go on forever.

The Malaysian Situation

20. The Malaysian situation was not like that of Thailand. Growth in 1997 was still expected to remain high. There were few Malaysian borrowers of foreign currencies and there was no fear that servicing and repayment of the loans would require more Ringgit than was budgeted for.

21. Foreign direct investments were still coming in both for new industries and for the shares in the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. All the other financial indicators remained healthy.

22. The Malaysian Government did not therefore anticipate any devaluation of the Ringgit. There was no reason why it should.

23. Then the press began to talk about contagion. It seems that the devaluation of the Baht would infect and drag down the Ringgit. This was worrisome as Thailand was a competitor in the export of various manufactured products. If a devalued Baht lowered the cost of production in Thailand, then to remain competitive, Malaysia may have to devalue the Ringgit.

24. But this was thought to be manageable. The Central Bank would go into the market to sell the Ringgit and keep its exchange rates down. The Malaysian industries would have to improve efficiency in order to remain competitive.

25. So confident was Malaysia that its finances would not be affected that it lent to Thailand one billion U.S. dollars to help it out. Even when the Ringgit started to depreciate a little Malaysia lent another billion U.S. dollars to Indonesia.

26. We believed that the financial problems of Thailand and Indonesia would be temporary. They would recover and there would be no problem for them to repay the loans.

The Financial Markets

27. The rich countries of the West had grown and prospered because of their industries i.e. the production of goods and the supply of services to their domestic market and to the world. Their cost was going up rapidly as the labour unions kept demanding for higher wages and expensive perks. But for as long as they remain the principal producers of the high-value goods and services, they could still sustain their production of goods and supply of services.

28. Then they discovered the poor countries with their cheap labour. Whenever they could they transferred their industries to these low labour cost countries in order to reduce cost and compete with the newly industrializing countries of East Asia. If whole industries could not be moved because of protest from their labour unions they would invest in the low labour cost countries for the production of simple parts and components. This way the European and American countries could compete with Japan and Korea.

29. But then the Japanese also did the same and they were able to remain highly competitive producing the same manufactured goods that were once monopolized by the Western countries. It was clear that the Japanese were going to displace most of the American and European manufactured goods in the world market.

30. Famous brands of American and European goods disappeared from the market altogether. The British gave up manufacturing cars, cameras, radios and televisions and other modern consumer products.

31. In America (the U.S.) well-known car makes were also disappearing. Well-known makes of radios, television, cameras, motorcycles and a whole range of branded goods also disappeared from the shelves.

32. In their places, including in Europe and America, all kinds of Japanese goods had made their appearance. Initially the Japanese goods were considered of inferior quality but soon it became clear that the quality had improved so much that they were superior to those of European and American make. In fact they exceeded the standards set by the west.

33. Thus when Japan started to export cars to the US, the US Government insisted that repair shops be set up everywhere. To their surprise these repair shops had hardly any business as the Japanese cars very seldom broke down.

34. When Honda exhibited their motorcycles in England, the British engineers were shocked to find that Honda engines were like the precision motors of high quality Swiss watches.

35. When later the South Koreans got into the act and they practically monopolised the construction industry in the world, the West saw the writings on the wall. There was no way for them to compete in the manufacture of goods, or to bid for the huge construction projects worldwide.

36. The financial market which had started in the 60s and 70s were not very attractive at first. But gradually the potentials were recognized and developed. New products were invented which gave ever increasing returns on investments.

37. Beginning with the sale of shares in order to raise money for capital, the smart players discovered that the buying and selling of shares could yield a lot of profits. The value of the shares were initially based on the profitability of the business.

38. But it became clear that the value would appreciate if there was demand. From then on the value of the shares became decoupled from the profitability of the enterprise. Demand or lack of demand determined the value of shares irrespective of the performance of the enterprise.

39. This led to the smart ones moving the share prices up and down by buying and selling. From this a short step led to the big players developing short selling.

Short selling

40. The actual shares became irrelevant. Simply by offering to buy or to sell shares not in the possession of the party who offered was enough to move share prices. So large numbers of shares (non-existent) would be sold to depress the price. Then when the price reached a sufficiently low level, they would be bought at the low price to deliver to buyers who had bought earlier when the prices were higher. A tidy profit was sure to be made this way, now termed short selling.

41. It was realised that the bigger the funds available the easier it was to move prices up and down. Individuals would not have enough funds and they run the risk of being countered by those with bigger funds. Nor could individuals borrow much in order to be a substantial player in the market.

42. And so companies were formed to manage funds invested by individuals or companies. With funds running into hundreds of millions, there was a greater capacity to manipulate share price.

43. But to be even bigger the fund managers borrowed from the banks. This is called leveraging on the invested funds.

44. The banks agreed to lend as much as 20 to 30 times the funds held by the investment companies or hedge funds so that their capacity to play the market would be greater.

45. With this an investor would benefit from the 20-30 times bigger funds borrowed by the hedge funds. Besides the huge investments by the fund managers almost guaranteed that they would make profits through actually influencing the price of the shares.

46. The investments by the hedge funds and their leveraging (borrowings) are mysterious. It seems that they need not report to the Government on their activities. Besides, by operating from offshore tax-free havens, they needed to submit reports to no one. Investors in hedge funds were thus able to make huge profits.

47. Once the idea of leveraging became known, the fund managers began to look into other possibilities of investing the huge loans they had access to.

48. The currency traders designed their operations in the same way. Leveraging by between 20-30 times the investors' money held by them, they were able to invest and make huge profits. Again they need not report to anyone. Again, by operating out of tax havens they found themselves free from oversight of their operations by any Government.

Western Banking System and Practices

49. The banks were able to lend huge amounts of money for these operations simply because in the Western banking system, banks are allowed to lend more money than they have by way of capital and other assets and the deposits held by them. Normally they would be prudent and lend only certain multiples of the money held by them. But because Governments often bail out banks when there is a run by the depositors, the banks were emboldened to lend as much as 30 times their assets. This means that very much more money could be lent by the banks than they actually have. The banks are in fact creating money out of thin air to lend to the funds.

50. With huge loans available from the banks, billions of dollars could be lent for mergers and acquisitions. Consultants and experts appeared who were able to advise on mergers and acquisitions, getting huge commissions from their services. Not having the billions of dollars to purchase the businesses was not a problem as banks could lend the money they had created.

51. Now mergers and acquisitions became a business in itself. Rumors of impending mergers or acquisitions were enough to push share prices up or down. No matter whether the shares appreciate or get devalued, speculators would make money. The actual businesses done by the companies involved were not important. The purchase price of the companies bear little reflection of their profitability.

52. Then a couple of crooks invented junk bonds. The shares of poorly performing companies were bought and all kinds of manipulations were made to make them look good. Mike Milken and Ivan Boesky were eventually jailed.

53. Another scheme was to buy up companies to dispose off their assets. Slater Walker Securities developed this scheme.

54. Given the power to literally create money out of thin air, the banks were on the lookout for more ways to lend money. The returns for the banks were based on prospects of a return on the loans given out. The bigger the loans, the better.

Banking Prudence Discarded

55. And so instead of prudently ensuring that the borrowers could pay the loans extended, the banks began to lend even to very high-risk people - the so-called sub-prime loans. The assumption was that even if a percentage of the loans turn bad, the earnings on the rest would cover the losses.

56. But in order to make sure, the banks insured the loans with insurance companies or sold them to secondary mortgage companies. The banks believed that they were well covered for the loans. The risks were being taken care of by the insurance and secondary mortgage companies. But when huge numbers of the loan became non-performing, the bubble burst.

57. Then came the credit cards. Devised in order to make spending money more convenient, the credit card industry grew tremendously. The cards very quickly displaced cash and cheques.

58. Individuals may carry numerous credit cards so that they would not know really whether they have enough in the banks to cover the cost of the purchases they make. This led to a consumer boom as more goods and services are paid with credit cards irrespective of the money in the banks owned by the comsumers.

59. For the banks, any expenditure above what the customer had with the banks would be regarded as loans. Unlike ordinary loans, the interest rates are very high - as much as 18% to 20%.

60. Such are the calculated earnings of the banks from the credit card loans that even if a percentage of the loans became non-performing the banks were confident that the earnings from the rest of the credit cards would cover up the losses.

61. From all these activities, from hedge funds to mergers and acquisitions, sub-prime loans, financing insurance and secondary mortgages, credit card loans, currency trading, huge wealth seems to have been made. The Western countries appeared to be growing as shown by their per capita incomes and GDP growth. It would seem that their abdication from the real business of producing goods and services had paid off rather handsomely. Certainly their people seem to be enjoying very high standards of living.

62. The failures in the financial market here and there were ignored or covered up. No one thought there was anything wrong with the systems and the financial products they had created.

63. Then came the sub-prime crisis. Apparently the non-performing loans to the housing sector were too many to be compensated by the successes. First the banks and then the insurance and mortgage companies were pulled down. The economy went into a state of crisis as bank failures affected the share markets. Share prices plunged and the hedge funds sustained huge losses. It should be remembered that just as the profits would be much bigger with the 20-30 times the investors' funds invested, the losses too would be that much greater. There was no way for the losses to be covered or the huge loans from the banks to be repaid. The hedge funds therefore collapsed, pulling down the lending banks with them.

64. Attempts by the Governments to bail out the financial institutions and companies have not really succeeded. If the economy was doing well then the banks and companies bailed out by the Government would be able to make some recovery. But it would take time because they would have to do prudent business and such business would be slow in giving a return. They can only recover quickly if they were allowed the abuses they had indulged in before. But obviously they shouldn't although there are some who believe they should be allowed to. As for the companies, the general contraction of the purchasing power of the people must reduce sales of their products and therefore their profits. Even if they recover they would not be as financially healthy as before.

65. The recent talk of recovery is therefore not based on reality. Actually it is to justify not doing anything with systems which in the past had been so lucrative. It would take another worldwide crisis before the west would consider dismantling their banking, monetary and financial systems.

66. The leaders of the West are still in a state of denial. What is more likely is that they are aware of how the financial market operations have brought about the crisis but are unwilling to do away with them because they have made so many of their investors rich and have contributed much to per capita and GDP growth in their countries.

67. And so we may see the crisis continue, albeit de-emphasised so as to sustain the financial market.

68. The real solution would be a return to real business i.e. the production of goods and services. But then the developed countries of the West would have to accept being somewhat poorer than the good old days.