‘Scam’ Cryptocurrencies and the ’looking glass’ world of finance
The slump of the cryptocurrency, Terra, is another reflection of the upside down world of finance, where value is quite literally in the eye of the beholder.
It is a world where techno-giant companies can have share values that bear little or no relation to their underlying profitability. Where companies are so flooded with cash that they buy back their own shares rather than – heaven forbid – make a windfall contribution to public welfare.
It is a world where shares traded for ever-increasing value and houses rocketing up in price are seen as evidence of healthy growth, not inflation. Where finance is so distanced from the real economy that it survived the pandemic relatively unscathed.
Why is there one set of economic rules for the real economy and a mirror-reversal of those rules in the looking glass world of finance? Where private equity investors saddle the companies they buy with the debt used to buy them; where money can be made by shrinking rather than expanding actual goods and services. Where privatised public infrastructure and service providers like Carillion load themselves with huge levels of debt, with pitiful cash reserves, when the governments they have replaced would be castigated for borrowing such huge amounts Where private owners can build super-yachts while their companies flounder.
In recent years new, opaque, forms of speculative finance have emerged that can only be described as gambling. Winning or losing depends on calculation of the odds…