A MOST SPLENDID IDEA from Brian Micklethwait:
It needs to be said that under certain circumstances easily now imaginable, many Western citizens would argue, strongly and vocally, that those idiot foreigners who are now lending money to Western governments should in due course be told: sorry sunshine, you ain’t ever going to get it back. Our governments are bankrupt. Why the hell should we and our descendants in perpetuity be paying tribute to you? You knew that the money to pay you back would have to be stolen from us. You assumed we’d just cough up indefinitely. Well, we damn well won’t. You are now a definite part of our problem, and telling you to take a hike is going to be part of our solution. Our thieving class is now “borrowing” money from your thieving class like there is no tomorrow, and we are not responsible for the actions of either gang. A plague on both your houses.
We want you foreign thieves to stop lending to our thieves, now. And the best way for us to convince you that you should indeed stop lending, is to tell you that you are extremely liable never to see most of your money back.
Which has the added virtue of probably, approximately, being true, already.
“But Pete” I hear you say, “we consented to the government borrowing on our behalf”, to which I say, who is ‘we’?
The burdened masses of bankrupt western states consented to no such thing. If Gordon Brown wants to pay back his debt, he can start when he likes and solicit voluntary contributions, but it’s not my debt and I will not labour for a minute to discharge it.
“But Pete”, I hear you say, “if our states default on these debts, their credit ratings will crash, foreigners won’t buy their bonds and no longer will they be able to incur debt this way.”
Possibly so, and that would be a problem?