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Calls to nationalise RBS and Lloyds as markets lose faith in bail-outs | Business | guardian.co.uk

John McFall, confidant of Gordon Brown and chairman of the Treasury select committee, called for the complete nationalisation of Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland tonight after shares in both banks crumbled, the pound skidded to a seven-year low against the dollar and government bonds were sold off sharply.

As markets took fright at the state of Britain's banking sector and the wider economy the day after the government's latest bail-out plan, shares in the loss-making RBS slumped to 10.3p, continuing Monday's 66% slide, while the new Lloyds Banking Group continued to fall rapidly as it looked likely that many UK banks would not be paying any dividends for years.

[...]

Jim Rogers, a veteran US investor, said the UK economy was "finished". He told Bloomberg: "I would urge you to sell any sterling. It's finished. I hate to say it, but I would not put any money in the UK."

Rumours were awash in febrile markets that ratings agencies could downgrade the UK's sovereign debt ratings if the government had to issue tens of billions of pounds of government bonds to finance its latest rescue for the banks. A downgrade would increase the cost of raising debt for Britain, the world's fifth largest economy. The price of insuring British debt against default also rose sharply.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 06:26:07 PM EST
Rogers, to be fair, is a bit of a drama queen (assuming I'm thinking of the guy I believe I'm thinking of).  I do think the UK is in some serious trouble, even relative to the US and others, simply because of how all economic policy has been driven towards feeding the City and the Wharf, and given what significant chunks of the economy they represent.

The cost of insuring British debt -- and this is obviously a phenomenon we've seen elsewhere -- worries me.

The yields on gilts are also pretty scary.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 08:55:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK does have some remaining light and heavy industry, and farming is significant too. I don't think the UK exports much in the way of food in bulk - it's mostly twee jams and various polite kinds of tea.

Even so it's not quite true that the City was the entire economy - just most of it.

What bothers me more is something I've mentioned before. The current situation is analogous to the end of industrialisation in the 70s in the UK. Semi-nationalised industries were being pumped full of public money then too, but all of them failed - partly through overly aggressive unionisation, but also because of incredibly inept and confrontational management.

So Thatcher appeared from whatever hell dimension she was spawned in and implemented financialisation, which happened so quickly and so comprehensively it was obviously ready and waiting for a nod.

This time there's no obvious plan in Whitehall. Nationalisation will be the first stage, but it's unlikely to be any more successful in the long term than it was in the 70s - because no matter what Gordo and Darling believe, running a financial economy rather than a productive economy is seriously fucking stupid.

So what's the alternative? Green energy seems like an obvious choice, but there's no more than 5-10 years of that at most, and once all of the windmills that can be built have been built the rest is repairs and renewals.

At that point the two choices become a steady state economy, with no more delusions of growth until the next technological revolution (biotech? space? good luck selling those here...), or outright violent revolution because there's nowhere else to go, economically or politically.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 22nd, 2009 at 06:23:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
At that point the two choices become a steady state economy, with no more delusions of growth until the next technological revolution (biotech? space? good luck selling those here...), or outright violent revolution because there's nowhere else to go, economically or politically.

is that really going to be the only binary left?

i think people are going to succumb to the series of shocks and revert to better - and worse - behaviour patterns, better in the sense of more frugal (g'bye consumerism! heave-ho planned obsolescence), more co-operative, more solidarity, more bottom-up, lateral thinking, mycelial information sharing, ready to roll up sleeves and git to work, and for worse, those who lust for chaos as solution to the feeling that the system has always been loaded against them, and have given up hope of any joy in life save that of destruction.

these obviously have to be quarantined off until they see the error of their thinking...

it is in few peoples' interests to have mass panic and mayhem, and i think the conviviality long suppressed under the pressure of modern life will re-assert itself, as it does in most simpler societies quite naturally.

there might be be a period of bottleneck where extreme disorder may be legion, but i think most people will be too concerned about protecting their families (or too weak from hunger) to be getting too in the government's face by way of violent protest.

i expect sit-ins, ghandi style, people crowding together into giant fleshblobs to peacefully signal they've had enough, blocking traffic and thoroughfares, not as martyrs or heroes, just citizens who've all suffered one turn of the screw too many, exhausted and out of ideas.

there needn't be a drop of blood spilled, if the conviction and numbers are there. there is no national guard or equivalent which can coerce a whole failed middle class into disappearing, all that will be needed is to shame these leaders, so they come to us, stripping themselves of privilege just as obama has done with his salary cap.

he's smart, being proactive...

passive resistance

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jan 22nd, 2009 at 08:18:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
your coach is turning back into a pumpkin, england, and all your funny money won't buy it back.

shitty values, shitty karma.

5th largest economy...pushing poisoned paper promises and selling arms to corrupt despots...


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jan 22nd, 2009 at 03:30:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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