Heiner Flassbeck: Don’t mess with the international financial markets

There are unwritten laws that everyone who has to deal with them knows, but nobody talks about them openly because any attempt to bring them out into the open is punished by the community with eternal exclusion. The strongest community in this world is without doubt that of the financial markets.

“You don’t want to mess with the international financial markets, do you?” said a famous Green foreign minister to a famous Social Democrat federal finance minister a quarter of a century ago, and this statement has been the programme of all federal governments ever since. You can do anything, you can criticise anything, but the financial markets and the institutions that accompany them must be absolutely taboo for a German politician.

A lot has happened since the beginning of the 2000s. The “markets” and the institutions close to them in Washington D.C. have brought a lot of suffering to the world. Misguided financial markets have brought some of the largest and most important developing countries in Latin America to the brink of governability, they have massively hindered development out of poverty in Africa, they have caused democracies to totter in Eastern Europe, they have even caused a crisis in their own mother countries, which only did not lead to a political collapse of the Western world as in the 1930s because people were no longer as naive as they were a hundred years ago to leave the fight against the crisis to the ordoliberal night watchman.

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