A Decade of Armageddon
New Geography essays
The hardback is a limited edition of 100 copies, signed by the author. Every copy sold will include a US$5 donation to the Diane Fossey Foundation
A selection of articles and essays written for the New Geographic covering a decade of financial turmoil.
With a foreword from Joel Kotkin, editor of NewGeography.com
These essays by Dr Susanne Trimbath, were first published in New Geography 2008-2015. These have been edited to be read as a free-standing publication, grouped together into the following chapters:
Why there were bailouts in 2008-9 for Wall Street and not for Main Street? This chapter includes articles on who got the money and how the true cost, which was to be borne by US taxpayers, was hard to calculate and often purposefully hidden from public view.
Once the full-blown global financial crisis hit, the response included tens of thousands of pages of new rules, regulations and regulators in the space of about three years. Also, the US government assumed ownership and operation of AIG. This was the first “taking” since 1989 and was followed by Washington Mutual in September 2008 and W Holding’s Westernbank in April 2010.
The housing market, in the years leading up to the financial crisis and the Great Recession, had been treated like gold – not that “houses are as good as gold” but that people were treating houses AS IF they were an investment and not a place to live.
In 2009, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner presented a proposal for legislation that would give the secretary the authority to make the final determination that a financial institution on the verge of default – regulation by revolution. Geithner’s proposal would let the federal government nationalize a ‘too big to fail’ company.
5. Bank/Broker Behavior
The actions of financial industry professionals led to the financial crisis that developed into the Great Recession. Criminal charges were brought against those who cheated their way into getting a share of the bailout money, but many of those responsible for creating the situation were paid elaborate bonuses at the same time their financial institutions were receiving bailout funds.
This chapter on Systemic Issues goes into detail about topics that are widely misunderstood by the non-financial public: financial innovations were supposed to democratize capital by making it easier to fund less-popular projects, both public and private. Like many inventions, it was abused for the enrichment of a few.
Public reaction in the United States to the revelations of the Wall Street bailout was subdued. A Landmark Narrative developed and was generally accepted by Americans: people bought houses they couldn’t afford by using adjustable-rate mortgages, no-money-down and other schemes offered by banks. When the favorable terms ran out those homebuyers stopped paying their mortgages; they caused their mortgage bank to slide toward bankruptcy, and caused all those “sliced-and-diced” mortgage-backed bonds to fail, too.
My wish is that I have opened your eyes to the false utopia being offered by Wall Street and the businesses and governments they support. Dr Susanne Trimbath