ALMAN: "Get well quick" doesn't work

April 22, 2013

Though April 22 is Earth Day, celebrations for the 43rd anniversary are tinged by “Get Well quick!” wishes. That’s because we’ve reached an environmental and economic tipping point. Power and money converge, leveraging debt that multiplies exponentially, like lily pads overwhelming the small pond.

How can we, the people, exact any change? With the Green Shadow Cabinet, founded by the Green Party’s presidential nominee, Jill Stein, another government is possible!

It’s difficult since climate change deniers attend the church of infinite economic growth. Just use a bogus denominator and claim global weather disaster losses are a shrinking proportion of the global GDP.

Data scientists devise incomprehensible equations to manipulate assumptions and math for economists. Derivatives are the legal bets that built an unregulated global casino for banks. Now derivatives exceed an unimaginable figure of $1.2 quadrillion ($1,200 trillion dollars)—20 times the world’s annual GDP! No wonder Harvard Business Review proclaims the data scientist the sexiest job of the 21st Century!

Imagine the consequences. No, just look at what’s happening in Cyprus! After suffering massive losses from the restructuring of Greek sovereign debt last year, the two largest banks in Cyprus fell like dominoes. Large depositors there must now bail-in these banks with their savings to re-capitalize them.

America’s FDIC cannot withstand another $700 billion taxpayer funded bailout. There’s only $25 billion available in reserves. Is Cyprus the new normal?

This is just one side of the coin. Goldman Sachs said the estimated $50 billion damage of Hurricane Sandy can be good for the economy since housing and construction sectors get a boost. Goldman’s stocks also soar when their computers churn profits through high frequency trades.

How do these “negative externalities” benefit the economy and democracy?  To quote Noam Chomsky, they don’t.

The term “capitalism” is commonly used to refer to the U.S. economic system, with substantial state intervention ranging from subsidies for creative innovation to the “too-big-to-fail” government insurance policy for banks.

The Green Shadow Cabinet rejects politicians who serve big banks and corporations. Join the Green movement! Mother Earth and the children of the world depend on it.

~ Kris Alman is Assistant Secretary of Health for Data Privacy.