This is just a little something for all of you who persist in believing, hoping against hope, that there is something called “a free market”.
There isn’t. It’s all a con.
The banks and their allies WANT you to think all this stuff is too hard to get your head around, so they can continue ripping us all off without any real danger to them as institutions or individuals.
Well, it isn’t. This excellent article lays it all out in a manner even the somewhat financially-challenged Wellthisiswhatithink crew can understand.
This is a very long article, but if you are even tangentially involved in politics, finance, banking, or policy development – hey, if you ever made an investment, borrowed money or exchanged money – even if you simply want to know what’s going on in the ivory towers around you – you really need to read it.
After scandals involving Libor and, perhaps, ISDAfix, the question that should have everyone freaked out is this: What other markets out there carry the same potential for manipulation?
The answer to that question is far from reassuring, because the potential is almost everywhere.
From gold to gas to swaps to interest rates, prices all over the world are dependent upon little private cabals of cigar-chomping insiders we’re forced to trust.
“In all the over-the-counter markets, you don’t really have pricing except by a bunch of guys getting together,” Masters notes glumly.
That includes the markets for gold (where prices are set by five banks in a Libor-ish teleconferencing process that, ironically, was created in part by N M Rothschild & Sons) and silver (whose price is set by just three banks), as well as benchmark rates in numerous other commodities – jet fuel, diesel, electric power, coal, you name it.
The problem in each of these markets is the same: we all have to rely upon the honesty of companies like Barclays (already caught and fined $453 million for rigging Libor) or JPMorgan Chase (paid a $228 million settlement for rigging municipal-bond auctions) or UBS (fined a collective $1.66 billion for both muni-bond rigging and Libor manipulation) to faithfully report the real prices of thingslike interest rates, swaps, currencies and commodities.
Yup. Coming soon to a newsstand near you. Your favourite banker, on the cover of the Rolling Stone.
- Here Comes the Libor Scandal Sequel (businessweek.com)
- Is Crime Now A Way of Life In Banking? (etfdailynews.com)
- ‘Non-Conspiracy’ Theorists Are Saps for Wall Street (thestreet.com)
- CFTC Discussing Gold Price Manipulation (goldinvestingnews.com)