Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Back in business...can't keep quiet

I know that I'm writing into a vacuum right now. Haven't updated this blog in over a year, and there's definitely no one left reading it.

But I'm back. I can't keep quiet anymore. The US presidential election is in less than a month, the global financial crisis is getting more global and more crisis-like by the minute. And I have opinions.

So a few months ago I saw a program on CNN about how Iceland's banks were struggling. The latest news suggests that Iceland may be one of the first national bankruptcies of the financial crisis. And apparently Iceland has enough clout that this would hurt the European markets even more than they're already hurting.

It's been really interesting following the currency market - I have a particular interest since I'm in Europe but have a US bank account from which I withdraw money in dollars. Apparently the strength of the dollar in recent days has been in response to the non-unified handling of the financial crisis by EU members - a fear that many currency experts had concerning the Euro.

See, the EU is a strong economic union, but in the end, it's not a unified state, even when it comes to economic matters. When what is at stake are national banks and financial institutions, taxpayers in other EU member countries are unwilling to pay for their bailouts. They're also unwilling to adopt a policy of letting the strongest entities survive, since that will likely mean the downfall of their own national enterprises and institutions. So everyone is reverting to a financial isolationism, focusing on insuring their own deposits and their own banks and financial institutions from collapse. This sparks fears concerning the strength of the Euro, since it becomes more subject to the vagaries of domestic economic concerns, rather than EU-wide economic policies.

I'd been really confused about the dollar's response to the collapsing stock market - but I thought this explanation made some sense. Of course, the big question is how strong the dollar can remain in the long run. If every economy is in crisis, no one will be around to bail out other currencies. Remember, most of our financial crises in recent years have been localized - and it's easy to get another major economic power to help you out if your problems are localized. Right now, it's a bit different.

Anyway - now that I'm back, expect postings about politics, law and the economy. To quote Harlan Ellison, I have no mouth and I must scream...


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