Tag Archives: Christine Lagarde

Central Bankers – The Fifth Estate.

Nowadays, the  bank to government to Central Bank and back to bank cross-border flows of money (both real and imaginary), the constant borrowing and re-borrowing , the bond auctions etc. appear to be behaving as if controlled by a separate, non-governmental , non-economic entity.

Sovereign bond auctions have now become a weekly sport, generating the sort of interest formerly reserved only for TV soap operas.

European banks gather around the European Central Bank like pigeons at feeding time.

Rather worryingly, this new pseudo-economic essence behaves as if it is more-or-less dislocated from what we call “the Global Economy”.

It is the Macro Banking System. The FIFTH ESTATE.**

It is behaving as a totally separate, self-perpetuating, high-level mutant economy which exists for its own sake and is presided over by senior bankers and financiers with politicians merely fetching and carrying.

One of the symptoms which we are currently witnessing is the demise of democratically-elected officials. Their status seems to be diminishing day-by-day, to the extent that their job is simply to row the boat according  to the drumbeat set by very senior bankers – the New Rulers.

The very people who created this financial crisis four years ago have gradually created a brand-new debt-fuelled edifice  which has become anchored both in the economy as well as in our collective psyche. We have come to see the Debt Mountain as our Saviour with  Central Bankers in the role of its High Priests.

The concept has become so embedded, that we have grown to believe that only they (the High Priests) can save us.

This new entity appears divorced from the old-fashioned concepts of growth, production and distribution and now only needs sovereign economies to feed it occasionally.

This gradual power-shift has only occurred in the last year-or-so and so, imperceptibly, we have entered an age where politicians have finally become subservient to the bankers.

The jury is still out as to whether the development of this new ruling financial class is good or bad or even sinister. The Conspiracy Theorists have notions of Bilderbergers, a New World Order and all sorts of other conspiracies – I do NOT subscribe to that view.

Politicians have shown that they do not have the intellectual or technical capacities to deal with a multi-causal, multi-faceted, vastly complicated economic crisis, borne more out of greed-conceived chaos, rather than the usual rules of Keynesian economics.

We have to take a leaf out of the politicians’ book.

Heads bowed, we wait.

** First Estate – Clergy. Second Estate – Nobility. Third Estate – Commoners. Fourth Estate – the Press.

Lagarde, IMF and Adidas.

The selection process for the next International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director kicked-off yesterday and will finish on June 10th.

Coincidentally, that is exactly the same date on which  the front-runner for the post, France’s Christine Lagarde will learn whether she is to be investigated for “abuse of power”. Currently, Lagarde has not yet confirmed whether she intends to compete for the job but she is already the favourite to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

She has gained a reputation as a “doer” and her decision in 2007 to put a stop to a protracted legal battle could result in her being prosecuted for “abuse of power”.

The former head of Adidas, Bernard Tapie had been waging a court battle for nearly 20 years. He had accused French bank Credit Lyonnais of mishandling the 1993 sale of his company and cheating him. Christine Lagarde stepped-in and ordered that a panel of judges should investigate the case.

A year later, the judges decided in Tapie’s favour and ruled that he should receive £248 in damages.

Credit Lyonnais had gone to the wall and was being administered by a state-operated consortium. That meant that in effect, Tapie’s payout was made from public funds.

Left wing politicians and French Green MEPs have wasted no time in claiming that Lagarde behaved improperly and had exceeded her authority.  They have questioned the legality of her actions  and there has been suggestion that she may have been acting on orders from ther Elysee Palace. The beneficiary of the judges’ ruling, Bernard Tapie was a well-known  Sarkozy supporter. It is that which lends credence to the accusation of Sarkozy having influenced Lagarde’s decision.

Christine Lagarde ought to be lauded for using common sense in ending a legal case which was not showing any sign of being concluded. As usual, it was only the lawyers who were benefiting.

Hopefully, when she is Managing Director of the IMF, she continues to demonstrate the pragmatism and common-sense of a leader and not the stuporous thinking of the average bureaucrat or the  furtive back-room well-nigh masonic style of the senior banker.

What?! Mandelson for the IMF?

(Yes, yes! We ALL thought that it was a nose-bleed)

The Chinese have asked if Prince of Darkness, Peter Mandelson would be interested in THE  job at the International Monetary Fund!

Does a Pope crap in the woods?  Is the bear a Catholic?

It is difficult to understand the qualities that the Chinese admire in Western politicians. If you recall, they were great fans of President Richard Nixon, even after the Watergate bust. They’re obviously seeing something that is invisible to the Westerner.

As well as having been EU Trade Commissioner, Mandelson is our former Business Secretary and he is known as an excellent manager, administrator and shrewd political operator. So he does have (with apologies to Dominique Strauss-Kahn) previous form.

If the oleaginous Mandelson were to be handed the job ahead of sexy Christine Lagarde or bumbling  Gordon Brown, many, including our own Prime Minister would be reasonably happy – after all, Mandelson, in spite of his many foibles is a very smooth international wheeler-dealer.

Mind you, ‘ la cerise sur le gâteau’ would be that not-only the French but more importantly, Gordon Brown would throw all of their toys out of the pram.

French President Sarkozy is still developing his neo-Napoleonic image by having elbowed his way to the front of the NATO queue in order to enhance his recently acquired ‘decisive international statesman’ image by bombing Gaddafi. For balance, he and his wife are expecting a child. He has literally worked his nuts off in order to create a new shiny voter-friendly image for the forthcoming 2012 French presidential election. Make no mistake, the alleged DSK-rape affair is a massive bonus to his campaign.

Now he has the opportunity to install his “protégé” Christine Lagarde at the IMF. That will be yet another feather in his ‘chapeau’ plus Christine will be out of the way, charming bankers and politicians, thus removing herself from the local (French) political scene. Currently, Christine Lagarde is so popular in France  that if she decided to run for the French presidency, she would doubtless win.

Gordon Brown needs a job and when interviewed, he didn’t rule himself out – after all it’s £320,000 tax-free – he just tried to sound serious and statesmanlike. He’s definitely making a low-key play for the job. For instance, he had wasted no time in flying out to  South Africa, where he was launching a new High Level Panel on Education. Today’s interview had a backdrop of a classroom full of nicely polished black kids. That always goes down well with the media.

When asked about his candidature for the IMF job, he replied in his usual sparkly way “Any candidate to head the IMF needs to be appointed on merit”. When he said that, he probably didn’t realise that in that single sentence, he’d ruled himself out.

David Cameron would probably settle for anyone, as long as it wasn’t Gordon Brown – and for valid reasons. There is little doubt that Brown the Bully would try and ‘lord it’ over our  Coalition Government. After all, it is barely a year since he suffered his very public humiliation. Plus he does not possess the urbanity or chic of any of the other candidates. Management by Shouting does not go down well in the IMF environment and Brown has proved more than once that he is a natural backroom boy and not a figurehead.

Nowadays, the Chinese tend to get what they want. After all, even the mighty United States is in hock to them.

Right now, the Chinese want Mandy.

This is going to be a very interesting summer.

(While we’re waiting, Greece will just have to sign a few more IOUs.)


Christine Lagarde or Gordon Brown?

“Hands out of your pockets, Dominique.”

The bookies’ favourite for the suddenly vacant IMF Managing Director’s job is the very bright, willowy 55 year-old  Christine Lagarde. The only obstacle in her way is the fact that she’s currently  French Finance Minister. President Sarkozy needs her.

By training, Christine Lagarde is a lawyer with a Masters in Politics. She has spent time working in America, speaks perfect English and has been voted the best Finance Minster in a G8 country ( Financial Times).

If given the IMF job, she will bring some much-needed glamour and grit to what is arguably the world’s top banking job. She is more of an economist- politician than banker but but has the sort of no-nonsense rod of steel running through her which will doubtless help a worried world through the current economic upheavals.

She is well-liked by the international political and banking communities and has the credibility to talk to them as an equal.

Gordon Brown is an academic, an analytical  and a history graduate. During his short tenure as unelected British Prime Minister he demonstrated a total lack of management and organisational finesse. He continues to delude himself that the ‘led the world’ out of the economic wilderness. Here in the United Kingdom, he left a trail of economic destruction which continues to look like the inspiration for the recent Japanese Tsunami – but with a longer recovery time. Brown’s legacy of incompetence and intransigence will continue to reverberate for at least another two generations.

His popularity within his own country plummeted and remains somewhere below the baseline. At the age of 60, he continues (wisely) to exist below the public’s radar. Unlike the roguish but still likeable Tony Blair, Gordon Brown’s name is never mentioned. He has morphed into the Voldemort of British politics.

In his favour though, he is very unlikely to attack a woman in a hotel room – because he comes across as someone who is frightened of women  and was extremely lucky to have been chatted up by the sainted Sarah, otherwise, he’d still be ironing his own shirts.

The International Monetary Fund  gig requires what one can  describe an Economic Showman – a Personality – a  ‘Sophisticat’  – a ‘Name’.  An economist with a personality. (Sorry, Gordon).

Former Turkish Finance Minister Kermal Dervis, South African Trevor Manuel (we cannot possibly have someone named “Trevor” running the IMF! It’s alomost as bad as “Mervyn”!) and even Singaporean Tharman Shanmugaratnam are in the frame.

Off-stage, the Chinese, Brazilians and Turks are making anti-european noises . (Turkey has competed in the Eurovision Song Contest since 1975 but failed to qualify for this year’s competition)

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel  is pushing for former Bundesbank head  Axel Weber.

Christine Lagarde is odds-on!!


Goldman Sachs strikes again!!

It was GS who helped Greece to cook their books before Greece’s bid to enter the Euro. They were paid a very large fee  for their economic culinary skills. We can all see the fallout of the GS ‘advice’ as Greece is exposed as a Third World economy which is only surviving because of IMF handouts.

Goldman Sachs wields an unfeasible amount of power in the United States Economy:   CLICK HERE

Dr Ben Broadbent has just been confirmed as an external member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. His employer? He is senior European economist at Goldman Sachs.

Does the Goldman Sachs strategy include world domination?

That would be surprising, considering the mess that they managed to get themselves into in 2008.