«(…) This is what is so disturbing about the current situation: the fact that politicians seem so helpless and powerless. They have been given a new master, and it’s not us, the people, who tend to intervene in milder ways. Rather, it’s the ruthless financial markets. The markets drive politicians even further into anxiety, weakness, incapacity and lies. Those who govern us are now being governed by the banks. That’s the situation.
As such, it isn’t just the banks that are at fault for the current disaster. Politicians also deserve their share of the blame. But that isn’t the whole story either. We, the citizens, are also culpable. Don’t we expect high returns from financial institutions, and don’t we expect a smaller tax burden from the government while receiving generous subsidies and social benefits?
The banks and investment firms now play the role once held by the gods. Hardly anyone dares to criticize them, and fear of their wrath guides the behavior of politicians. Many are reluctant to speak frankly, while others seek refuge in lies.
Under such conditions, democracy has lost its dignity. And that is dangerous.
The banks have no reason to be boastful. They were saved, and they owe their survival to politicians. If politicians had not acted in 2008, possibly even more banks would have collapsed. Now the financial industry must do its part to rescue endangered nations. (…)
Politicians should impose tougher rules on the banks so that the worst excesses of investment banking are no longer possible. (…)
Politicians should also liberate themselves from the embrace of the banks. This is only possible if the practice of taking on massive debt finally comes to an end. Only a largely debt-free nation is a sovereign nation.
Democracy was originally a project of the somewhat affluent who wanted political influence so that they could shape their own lives. That’s why they made themselves into the sovereign power. This idea is still seductive today. It removed people from the role of the economic subject that strives for things and is productive, but has no say in the way things are run. It was only when humankind took responsibility for the whole that dignity and sovereignty were obtained. And to remain sovereign — or to become sovereign again — we must consider our responsibility for the whole when taking action and making demands.» – Dirk Kurbjuweit, Escaping the Clutches of the Financial Markets (Spiegel)
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