Bank bailouts

Money for the banks...

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My first thought when the government bailed out Northern Rock last year was, where the hell does it find this kind of money when there's never a spare million for a new school or hospital?

That was nothing. Last month has brought new surprises at the amount of wealth in the system and how prepared governments are to use it to bail out the rich and powerful.

The whole scale of it takes your breath away. Banks lent money they didn't have to people who couldn't pay it back and then packaged these debts as prettily as they could and sold them on in such a way that no one really knew where they were. When this game of pass the parcel stopped, everyone panicked and refused to lend to one another.

John Maynard Keynes - the second coming

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Politicians and economists across the world are dusting off their copies of the works of economist John Maynard Keynes. Suddenly the free market needs rescuing and state intervention appears to be the only solution to the crash.

Financial cupboards that were declared bare for every other demand - public sector pay, pensions, education and public housing - are suddenly bursting with borrowed billions to bail out the system.

Market madness

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The ruling classes of the US and Britain are reeling in the face of the economic meltdown of their system and the real character of capitalism is exposed, writes Chris Harman

On Sunday 7 September the most right wing Republican administration in the US for three quarters of a century carried out the takeover of the mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. It was then what appeared to be the "greatest nationalisation in the history of humanity", as Nouriel Roubini, professor at New York University and former US government adviser, described it.

Economic crisis: State of collapse

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The US government is frantically relieving banks of their "toxic assets". But even the huge amount of dollars used for the buyouts is unlikely to rescue a system which shows all the signs of further collapse

Last month the greatest financial crisis since 1929 swept through the system. As Socialist Review went to press, some commentators were assuring us that "the worst is now over". Those are words we have heard many times since the crisis began in autumn last year.

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