Wall Street and China: Perfect Together?
I was feeling haggard and grumbly this morning after a truncated night’s sleep, when I happened to spy the following headline tucked away on page 3 of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Wall Street, dissed by U.S., seen as moving to China
O joy that cometh in the morning! What could have triggered such an ominously promising headline? Apparently JPMorgan Chase, that venerable behemoth of the banking world, is moving its capital markets chief to Hong Kong.
Not exactly a mass exodus, you say? True enough, but outspoken bank analyst Richard X. Bové sees the move as a portent of things to come. Bové’s contacts in the banking world have dropped hints that other megabanks are planning to follow suit. Why? Let me quote the article, which in turn quotes and paraphrases Bové’s report:
Asia is growing faster than the U.S. and “the bank [JPMorgan Chase] will not be as constrained by U.S. regulators.” More U.S. banks are looking to leave Wall Street for places where they aren’t taxed and treated like enemies…
Bové says his banking industry sources tell him “other giant banks are preparing to move key business outside the United States” due to the “hostile” attitude of the federal and New York State governments. Politicians here “have made their careers bashing banks,” while the Chinese are eager for U.S. banking help.
Waaah!! All they did was precipitate the most dire financial crisis in eighty years, then reap the benefits of a federal bailout that compensated them for their losses. (We middle-class investors should have been so lucky.) And now they sniffle that we don’t like them! That if they can’t make the rules anymore, they’re going home… to China! So be it… I say it’s time we let ’em go!
Come to think of it, Wall Street and China are a perfect fit. Both care more about profits than they do about people. Both would trample their grandmothers and plunder the planet for a little short-term gain. Both are accustomed to operating by fiat; they tend to cast a jaundiced eye on the concept of democracy. Both are intent on spreading their amoral power and influence throughout the known universe.
In short, Wall Street and China deserve each other. These two megalithic, profoundly anti-democratic entities will make a great team, and I wish them a long, happy marriage.
But what about the consequences, you ask? And you’re right to pose the question. Once again, let me quote from the article that quotes and paraphrases Bové:
Losing banks “will dilute the U.S. control over the global financial system” and end the dollar’s role as “the world’s only reserve currency,” Bové writes. That means a weaker dollar, more pressure to pay our debts, higher U.S. interest rates, higher import prices, and a lower standard of living for many Americans.
Sounds pretty much like the world we Americans have been inhabiting for the last decade, only more so. I say bring it on! What’s the worst that can happen? Our economy collapses… then our government breaks down because we no longer have the income to fund it… we revert to a village economy, growing crops and producing quaint handicrafts… we worry less about success and more about bonding with our neighbors. We become a Third World nation, take siestas, smell the roses and celebrate life’s little joys.
I think I could live without Wall Street. Couldn’t you?