Pam Martens’ recent article in CounterPunch looks at the rickety finance sector and the role that CDOs–complex securities that tap into the cash flow from a multilayered portfolio of debt obligations–have played in the money barons’ recent woes. Her piece is, oddly, titled The Free Market Myth Dissolves into Chaos. I say it’s odd, because here is what we find by the second and third paragraph from the top:
Given that these big Wall Street players now own some of our largest, taxpayer insured, depositor banks (courtesy of a legislative gift from Congress called the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) and the Federal Reserve is shoveling tens of billions of our dollars into some very big black holes, …
… The Bush administration is spinning the mess as a subprime mortgage problem lest the public figure out that a $1 Trillion unregulated market has blown up under the free market noses of this administration.
There are many kinds of manipulation and jobbery that go on actually existing capital and finance markets that deserve criticism, and the Left, including Martens, have some wise and insightful things to say on this point. The mystery is where the terms
unregulated market and
free market come into the picture. When one directly mentions government-imposed, tax-funded deposit insurance, and government cartelization of the entire banking industry under the auspices of a government-created, government-controlled central bank, one would expect at least a little recognition of the fact that we are dealing with a market rigged by government interventions to insulate and direct high finance. If nothing else, one would expect that the switcheroo from a critique of actually existing state capitalism to a critique of free markets might wait for at least a few more paragraphs, in order to make the manifest cognitive dissonance a bit less excruciating.