“There’s a kind of hush, all over the world tonight. All over the world you can hear the sounds, of lovers in love….”
Those lyrics (by Les Reed and Geoff Stephens performed by Herman’s Hermits 1967) pretty much sum up what can only be called the coziest relationship big business has ever had with governments and their duly appointed central bakers, since the time of kings and their crony riddled courts.
Free market capitalism; the very heart, soul, and driving engine that has propelled technology, medicine, transportation, manufacturing, efficient markets, and so much more is not only under assault; it is being left out to hang like some dried, dead leaf by the very people who should be at the forefront for its defense. i.e., CEO’s and business leaders of all stripes. Yet, so far – the silence is deafening.
If you turn to any business/financial main stream outlet, the only thing you’ll hear is either: what will Janet say tomorrow. Or second: how will the “markets” react. What you won’t hear is how an un-elected group of policy wonks, who have never run a business in the private sector, will decide the fate of much of the global economy via a dictate much along the lines of “Yes, no, maybe; of that you can be sure.”
The markets will react in their now typical reflexive manner via HFT (high frequency trading) algorithmic, parasitic, front running enabled programs, vacuuming up Billions of dollars across the global markets for the sole purpose of doing nothing more than enriching themselves, and the leeches which enable them.
To state these markets have anything to do with actual business formation is ludicrous. I used to call them “casinos” but I now feel I’m insulting casinos. After all; at least there you know what you’re getting into.
Today, pension funds, insurance providers, and any other business that needs the stability and safety of a stable and secure market product are left in dire straights. Savers, retirees, and small business people alike either can’t retire, stay retired, or sell their businesses allocating their funds to a stable product. But as bad as that is, it’s not the worst in my opinion.
What is absolutely disgusting is the deafening silence coming from big business in general, and the so-called business trade associations that say – they are the voice of business. i.e., Chamber of Commerce™ et al.
You hear a lot of , “Business climate blah, blah, blah.” “Financial climate blah, blah, blah.” “Employment climate blah, blah, blah.”
What you don’t hear is anything resembling: “And that is all secondary to the crony-capitalism running rampant within the business community. For the very fact that companies are allowed to just financially engineer their balance sheets, and be rewarded for that engineering via funds to purchase their stocks or bonds, or have others do the same using the Fed. (and others) as their piggy bank creates those very conditions of business apathy, stagnation, and more. Yet? (insert crickets here.)
Where are the voices from the business community? Where are the so-called “business leaders” that should be standing up and decrying at every conference or interview “The Fed. (again, and others) needs to get out-of-the-way. They are the ones inflicting this stagnation via their stranglehold to an “emergency” policy stance!” But they won’t, for their bonuses require that things stay just the way they are. After all: you get to blame a boogeyman you have no control of, while at the same time, much like the Fed. you can engineer earnings “beats” far easier than if you tried to actually sell a pair at a discount.
GM™ should be now known as “a division of FORD™.” Yes, it’s an over-simplistic, hypothetical. But the point and the argument stands. Want something more recent? How about VW™? We know the ECB is in there buying them and more, much more. And we haven’t even talked about Japan.
People will say “The Fed. isn’t doing that here.” That’s somewhat true, they are not openly stating such. But indirectly through other sources which benefit directly from the Fed’s largess? It’s unquestionable, as well as undeniable. And business leaders know it.
If you build a company that deserves market share, yet can’t compete because your competitor is being kept afloat, for their bonds or stock is on the radar of some central bankers buy sheet is not only unfair competitively – it’s damn well un-American. Well, at least as it used to be seen. Today? We’re all part of the “global economy” is the rallying cry by many of today’s business leaders that are just salivating at the chance of being on that list.
From my point of view – it’s disgusting. And it should be argued against at every possible moment. Especially by those at the top. Then again, maybe I’m just part of a dying breed. But I doubt it.
Next month I’ll be giving another speech at an entrepreneurial center where I’ll be confronted by a hall full of onlookers with questions that fall around “What I just don’t understand today is ….” Where I’ll have to go through the painstaking process of pointing out what they thought they knew about business – is no longer. For business fundamentals at certain levels no longer apply.
The only thing that makes me feel that maybe, just maybe, there’s hope for free enterprise, and free market capitalism going forward is from the reaction of those in that hall once we conclude. For it is they that then go silent, and are legitimately pissed off.
And all that furor is directed directly at undermining those cronyism infested business models.
© 2016 Mark St.Cyr