jeudi, juin 02, 2011

Forget entrepreneurs, only banks can create wealth

Un article très provocateur publié sur le Guardian. Selon l'auteur, l'argent n'existe pas et est créé par les banques. L'acte d'achat de produits concrets développés par les entrepreneurs lui donne immédiatement substance et une valeur. Selon l'auteur, la spéculation (immobilière, avec les subprimes) est juste une manière de jouer comme une banque à créer de l'argent virtuel... 
"Banks, it is true, need entrepreneurs to provide the most dynamic links to the real economy in the real world. Banks could sit in front of computer screens creating electronic money all day and all night if they liked (and they do like. They did exactly this during the last "boom"). But without a solid outlet into transactional reality (such as an invention, or the discovery of a natural asset, or even, for a time, an unsolid one, such as a housing bubble), their electronic money is worthless, figures on a flickering screen, no more meaningful than if you or I opened a text file, typed in some gargantuan number, shoved a pound-sign in front of it, and said: "This is mine." The velveteen rabbit, in the eponymous children's story by Margery Williams, needs love to make it "real". In a similar sort of way, the banks need borrowers to make their money "real"."
Those "financial instruments" that created the banking crisis of 2008 were designed to take the smallest possible amount of value in the real world and transform it into the largest amount of value possible in the bank world. They allowed the abstract values held by banks to become so distantly and dysfunctionally related to real-world values, that no one within the cartel had the least idea what relationship the debt-assets of individual banks, even their own, had to reality.
The banks are still going about their daily business. But they know that a lot of things, such as houses, say, have the vast value that accrued to them in recent years only because they made it happen. The abstract wealth of banks escaped into the real world, upsetting the balance of their game, and now these institutions are utterly uncertain about what's real and what's not.
In the actual world, there should be no such problems, because people here deal with real money all the time. Most of us rely on entrepreneurs, or at least on businesspeople, to direct it our way, so that we can pass it on, in exchange for goods and services, or in gifts, or, of course, deposit it in banks. (Lots of us liked the way our property made money in recent years too, even though that was one of the main outlets whereby the abstract wealth of the banks seeped out, and contaminated the entire system.) But we are also charged for the privilege of taking part in the process of making abstract money real. That's tax.
What is our tax spent on? It is spent on just one thing. It is spent on ensuring that our potential for taking part in money-circuits is maximised, by educating us, keeping us healthy, maintaining the civic structures around us, providing some civilised amenities as incentives to make us feel that life is worthwhile and enriching for its own sake, and generally keeping the order we need to get out to work and play our small part in the process of giving the abstract wealth of the banks a place to go, so that it can rumble along collecting real value, like a snowball collects snow. In that respect, government spending is itself an investment in banking.
Tax is also used to provide subsistence for those who for some reason or another are unable to extract cash from the money-circuits that are the sole creators of wealth.

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