29 September 2008

Financial Markets in Freefall and Meltdown

Today the ISEQ share index in Dublin has suffered a record one-day fall, ending down 13% and closing at 3292.

Especially shares in Irish banks plummeted, as a series of US and European bank failures sparked further fears that the massive bailout plan in the USA may not be enough to deal with the problems in the sector.
Shares in Anglo Irish Bank (AIB) were down more than 45% at one stage, while Irish Life & Permanent (who own the permanent tsb bank in Ireland) fell by more than 30%.

Other European shares dropped to a three-and-a-half year closing low. London's FTSE ended down 5.3% - at 4819 - after it was announced that the British government decided to partly nationalise another bank (and former building society), Bradford & Bingley.

Falls in Belgium and the Netherlands were especially steep, following the announcement that their governments, together with Luxembourg, had agreed to nationalise one of Europe's biggest banks - Fortis - in a € 11.2 billion bailout.

Later the US House of Representatives voted against the proposed $ 700 billion rescue package for the financial sector and especially Wall Street, put together by George W. Bush, his Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, Ben Bernanke. The House rejected the bill with a clear majority of 228 votes to 205, with some conservative Republicans being the most vociferous opponents of a deal.

Subsequently the Dow Jones industrial average in New York plunged more than 600 points as the news reached Wall Street, closing eventually 778 points - 6.9% - lower. This is the biggest one-day drop ever for the Dow Jones.

The massive economic crisis, created by the greed and stupidity of reckless millionaire bankers and stock brokers, is far from over. And two things are becoming ever more evident:
1) Money is not everything, cannot solve every problem, and is actually becoming a big problem itself.
2) Uncontrolled capitalism, praised for decades as the solution for everything and the reason for our wealth and well-being, does not work!

The sooner we find a sensible alternative, the sooner the crisis will ease and a way out of recession will be found. I hope that Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan have what it takes to lead this nation...

The Emerald Islander


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