Monday, January 31, 2011

Arrogance Of Power

The Shape Of Things

Crowds In Downtown Cairo: Monday, January 31st; The Size
Of Crowds Continues To Increase (Photo: Ben Curtis, AP)

The principal reason that Hosni Mubarak, very probably, is trying to negotiate a safe landing for himself and his family in any country who will have him, was blindness, greed, and arrogance.

He refused to initiate democratic reforms; to do so would mean a loss of autocratic power. He and his family have become amazingly wealthy in the past thirty years, principally at the expense of his country and its people. And, Mubarak believed (as the Rethugs did during the regime of Lil' Boots Bush) that he could simply will reality into being, that he could stop the new revolution, happening in the streets of Cairo, right now -- because it was his wish.

From Paul Krugman's column in the New York Times this morning:
Last Saturday, reported The Financial Times, some of the world’s most powerful financial executives were going to hold a private meeting with finance ministers in Davos... The principal demand of the executives, the newspaper suggested, would be that governments “stop banker-bashing.” Apparently bailing bankers out after they precipitated the worst slump since the Great Depression isn’t enough — politicians have to stop hurting their feelings, too.

But the bankers also had a more substantive demand: they want higher interest rates, despite the persistence of very high unemployment in the United States and Europe, because they say that low rates are feeding inflation...

The U.S. economy fell into recession at the end of 2007; the rest of the world followed a few months later. And advanced nations — the United States, Europe, Japan — have barely begun to recover. It’s true that these economies have been growing since the summer of 2009, but the growth has been too slow to produce large numbers of jobs. To raise interest rates under these conditions would be to undermine any chance of doing better; it would mean, in effect, accepting mass unemployment as a permanent fact of life.
Even when there are hundreds of thousands of people in the streets, or tens of millions unemployed around the world; some just don't get it.

One reason the people of Tunisia and Egypt went into the streets was poverty, caused by high unemployment, and men and women walking home emptyhanded to their hungry children, day after day. That, finally, they said Ich bin nicht ein Tier!! And that they had nothing to lose.

There's a comment rolling around in my mind that I once heard -- you know, about history, and dustbins. I know I'll remember it at the right moment. But I'm almost certain our Financial Masters Of The Universe, as they briefly glance at Fox Cable images of Hosni Mubarak's end, don't remember it either.