Two interesting articles concerning the U.S. financial crisis were passed on to me by CM — both from MarketWatch — and I thought them worth passing on to you.
One concerns Japanese banks jumping on the opportunity to buy up ownership in American banks at fire sale prices: “Japanese banks emerging as world players”
The other, “U.S. losing financial superpower status: Steinbrueck”, focuses on statements by Germany’s Finance Minister. Of note in this one:
“The U.S. will lose its status as the superpower of the global financial system, not abruptly but it will erode,” Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck told the lower house of Germany’s parliament in Berlin, according to published reports. “The global financial system will become more multi-polar.”
Also of note: his criticism of the “Anglo-American free-market model’s quest for ever-higher near-term profits,” criticizing the short-term “insane drive for higher and higher profits” as a key culprit in the current situation, and his statement that — although the world would be affected by the situation, including Germany — the financial crisis was generally an “American problem”.
(This reminds me of the post I wrote back in January 2008: “Decoupling: World shaking its economic addiction to U.S.?”)
The concepts of “debt-financed investment banking” (actually, investment banking, period) and maximizing short-term profits while ignoring long-term risks appear to be taking a drubbing.
God warns the nation about becoming the debtor instead of the lender, the tail instead of the head (Deut. 28:44), and says repent that it may not be so. Although it is not a prophecy about Israel and, therefore, does not directly apply to the U.S. (actually, it is a prophecy about the Chaldeans) the words recorded by Habakkuk jump easily to mind:
Will not all these take up a proverb against him,
And a taunting riddle against him, and say,
“Woe to him who increases
What is not his–how long?
And to him who loads himself with many pledges”?
Will not your creditors rise up suddenly?
Will they not awaken who oppress you?
And you will become their booty.
For some time, the U.S. has loaded itself up with many pledges. And its creditors will rise up. While Mr. Bush did not mention it much last night, the government’s eye absolutely has to be on those nations who are helping to prop America up — its creditors — and the current policy activity is about more than serving American interests. “The borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7), as the U.S. is learning.
[EDIT, 7/25/2009: Added clarifying note about prophecy in Habakkuk.]