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Who Are 'The Markets'?

Updated on March 23, 2013


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The World Bank Building Washington

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Can we do it?

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Will someone answer this question?

The question haunts me, and this is an appeal for help with it. I'm an average guy, not the sharpest tool in the box, who needs to know why he's unlikely to leave the World in a better state than he found it 62 years ago. I want to know why future generations should find themselves forced to work until they're 70 and submit a large percentage of their life's effort, in the form of profit, to massive corporations, who seem answerable to no one. Also, I'd like to know why this ordinary lad, brought up relatively free from government by undemocratic monolithic blocs, now finds himself preparing to hand exactly that, on to these future generations.

If you clicked on this link to find answers, - the sort of answers I'm trying to find - I'm sorry, that would be like the blind leading the blind. If you want an argument, I'm sorry about that too, I won’t give you much of a run for your money; facts, go right over my head. Feel free to join my quest to find these answers. Feel free please, to give answers. For you, I'll leave a few interesting links to follow.

It seems to me, vital, that we bring certain people out of the shadows, so that we can take a good look at who they are, and what they do, because they have such a powerful influence on the way we have to live. These inscrutable people apparently have the arbitral right to pick off entire democratic nation states and hand down discipline upon them. They stalk economic stragglers like a pack of hyenas, making examples of them, which we all must witness in awe. In the UK, we stand by and watch our Southern European neighbours torn apart and picked clean to the bone, while we do nothing but talk of ways to appease them, in the same way our prehistoric ancestors would discuss appeasement of their gods.

Maybe I should ask who controls 'The Markets', although that's not how conventional wisdom would put the question. I didn't hear Nick Clegg (UK politician) say, during his TV appearance yesterday... if we don't comply with the demands of the people who control the markets, they'll force us to comply. He said if we don't do it, 'The Markets' will do it for us... and it will be much more painful (or words to that effect). Our politicians never question the legitimacy of this unelected clique, to influence all of our lives, to such an extent. Too few people do.

So, I ask why not. Like the little boy who said the "Emperor has no clothes", I feel free to ask impertinent questions - I have no great erudite reputation to uphold, so I needn’t apologise for my ignorance.

Here's another question. Why do these representatives of ‘the people’ not tell us precisely who it is we have to live in fear of? Name them please - so we can face them, and possibly help them to empathise with the rest of their race. I urge them to show us the faces of those human beings who charge UK tax payers £70 billion a year interest, in times of hardship - whilst the rest of us ‘are all in this together’ paying it.

Here are more questions that keep visiting my mind: Who has that kind of money to lend - when the rest of us have been done up like kippers? Where did they get it? Has it anything to do with rocketing profits from 30 years of suppressed wages, demutualisation, and deregulation? These are big questions, for us all.

These people aren’t aliens from outer Space; they're not Gods; we're not yet at a stage where computers, androids, or Dr Who's Daleks have enslaved the human race. For all the difference it makes, that might as well have happened. However, I'm certain they're human; they have names; they have Mums who gave birth to them - and I want to know who they are. When the UK Government puts VAT up to 20% to appease The Markets I, want names, addresses, and mug shots, please, of those who must be obeyed. Don't just say 'The Markets'; that could be anyone. We’re entitled, as human beings - the only animal that copulates face to face (sometimes) - to some dignity; if they’re going to screw us from behind, they might at least have the good manners to introduce themselves first.

We can't blame it all on George Soros. He said a long time ago, it's up to governments to regulate the sort of things he gets up to - and I agree. I'd also suggest that it's up to the electorate to make sure their governments regulate, and challenge those who would undermine democracy, whether it's premeditated or by default - we owe it to past and future generations.

There’s also the question why: why I hear so few people asking these questions. I don't mind sounding stupid - it won’t be the first time, or the last. If everyone else, and his pet hamster knows - if it's so obvious, that no one else would think to ask such a no-brainer question - I don't mind. Have a laugh at me with my stupidity, but tell me, please. Should we not ask to whom, and why, when we see our elected representatives pay homage, like medieval vassal kings?

Often I hear the politicos and punditry speak of “The Markets” like a mother, trying to frighten her children with the bogeyman - to get compliance. "Who is the bogeyman?” One rebellious child pipes up, while others are content to quake dutifully in their boots. “Why don’t we tie his shoelaces together, kick him up the chuff, and shout chase me?" (I can empathise with that child, and I have the scars, mostly mental, to prove it.) "We're gonna have trouble with that one." Says Mum - answering with the flat of her hand.

I can't remember Nick Clegg’s exact words yesterday, but he was effectively giving us the same mantra the people of Greece got about a month ago. Soon someone will put it to music, to drum it better into our heads - and when it rains, Cliff Richards will sing it at Wimbledon. I expect they’ll repeat it ad nauseam to any electorate, of any nation state, who try to get above their station, and vote for politicians with social conscience, and a sense of responsibility to future generations.

Yet, The Markets or - Capitalism, isn’t the problem. I wouldn’t criticise Jesus, for the way some Christians behave. Isms don’t enslave; people, do. There are megalomaniacs; there are those who follow like sheep; there are all kinds. I think of the old proverb, 'out of the frying pan and into the fire', when it comes to humans and isms. ‘The Markets’ are what we use. Like money, they’re merely a human device. So, if we want a pension; if we want to live in a house; if we want to eat, or have a pot to piss in, ‘The Markets’ are involved. That’s fine by me.

However, what we really need to do now, more than anything, is bring these 'Markets' under democratic control. Whether we, the people, should delegate the intricacies of that job to elected politicians, Superman, Woody Woodpecker, or even the legendary King Arthur, I don’t know, or care, but I will suggest that anyone willing to accept such a leadership task, will only be inspired to do so, where there is unflinching support, from a solid and determined majority.


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    • amillar profile image

      amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK

      I've learned a lot since I wrote this ludo - above all that we should never stop questioning.

    • profile image

      ludo 5 years ago

      hi millar, did you get an answer to your question?

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      This is a very interesting comment godric bader life president . I don't understand the abbreviations and acronym (OCW), but I googled SCOTTBADER COMMONWEALTH and found some interesting reading. Thanks.

    • profile image

      godric bader life president ! 6 years ago

      It is about tme Richard W. visited SCOTTBADER COMMONWEALTH again ! It is now a Intyernational Global trusteeship owned structure of REAL economic democracy... WE DID OCW 60 years ago !

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Hi wilaw,

      Yes, I can see from your comment that I'm not alone because you reflect my views entirely, which I find very encouraging.

      Most people just want to live peacefully and trust the authorities to maintain a fair balance. When that gets out of kilter people like you and me start asking questions - and the louder we ask these questions the better.

      I believe it works when we voice our opinions; the more the merrier and incidentally, I think that's why the EU leaders were back renegotiating the Greek debt crisis yesterday: Some of the Greek people were on the streets fighting with their police, and the Italians were starting to kick off too. They won't admit it, but that worries those elite you mention - although for obvious reasons, that's not how the privately owned media portrays it.

      Of course, we should treat any back-pedalling with scepticism - that sort of people will only retreat as far as they have to, and then they're up to their old tricks again as soon as they think they can get away with it.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    • profile image

      wilaw 6 years ago

      You are not alone. It is obvious that there is a 'hidden' hand which is referred to amorphously as 'The Markets' or 'Investors'. These are organisations apparently able to endebt nations and whom governments cow tow to in order to borrow moneys which tax payers must return whilst seeing their social fabric dismantled. 'Austerity' it's called. Cutting education, health care, social services, employment and policing. I'd like to know what kind of democracy are we that unelected, unaccountable, shadowy figures can determine our quality of life in this way?

      There are apparently only a few hundred of these people world wide with the real power. Maybe a couple of thousand. Yet they hold the bulk of the 6billion of us on earth in thrall!

      Quite fucking amazing.Frankly, I'm itching to lynch these bastards.

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 7 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Hi prasetio30. "From the real things until unreal things". You hit the nail right on the head, my friend. Thanks for your comment.

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 7 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Yes triciajean I think I get it. We have a saying in the UK - 'money is made round to go round' (although the saying probably precedes the use of paper money - rather than the laws of physics). But bubbles are round too, and we know what they do. I appreciate your visit, and your comment very much.

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 7 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Hi munirahmadmughal. I think I get the gist. One might put it this way: 'Ask not what The Markets can do for you, ask what you can do for The Markets'. However, that would be based on a culture of trust and reciprocation, which I was brought up to presume, unfortunately. At least politicians have to observe the democratic process - once every five years. Now, I‘m beginning to understand that there are those who ignore it completely; or at best see it as a minor irritation. Thank you for your help with my questions, so far.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Economic would not run without market. We can see the people doing trade every day. They sell and buy many things, from the real things until unreal things. Like stock market, We can see many people really like kind of this trading. Nice topic selection. I rate this up.


    • triciajean profile image

      Patricia Lapidus 7 years ago from Bantam, CT

      Thanks, amillar. I enjoyed your essay and the comments that followed. You are right to ask who pulls the strings. They like to stay out of sight, out of the news. They like to control the news, even. Reminds me of a skit from Saturday Night Live way back in the 70s. Two people are talking and he is trying to find out "Who's got the money." He says he used to have some money but he doesn't have it now and wonders who has it. He says it's not his friends. They used to have money but they don't have it now. So who's got the money. She starts to say she's got some money but remembers she lent it to someone. He says, "See what I mean?"

    • munirahmadmughal profile image

      munirahmadmughal 7 years ago from Lahore, Pakistan.

      "Who are the Markets?" Markets are from among us. Those are in the system to play a role. Instead of worrying about who are those we should ask what are we? We are in the system to play a role. What role have we played for the society in which we are living. Advancement comes by productivity. Productivity come by efficiency. Efficiency comes by knowledge, competency, skill and hard work along with integrity and transparency. Standards are prescribed for this purpose and those must be followed in letter and spirit. We should not forget that each one of us has to contribute towards the progress, prosperity and success. Past people did much for us, we have to do much for the coming generations. if there are any faults, respected sir, those are to be removed or repaired and no to close the very institution. It is the education, that will set the matter right. Education must be fruit bearing and useful for the whole society. A balanced economy will certainly bring improvement in all spheres. Let balance be kept even to deliver the goods with no influence of fear or temptation the rights will become protected and dignity of mankind will be maintained. It is the denial of the rights that causes conflict of all kinds. What is right. Right is the due of the other person. It payment, full and complete to his satisfaction, in accordance with law, correctly and properly leaves no place to complain.May be, some genuine causes, for the grievance you are complaining but also keep in view the great advantage that has come all around by these markets, at local, national and global levels. Democratic spirit has been generated by them. Interaction has been taught by them. Problem solving modes have been told by them. We must encourage good things and not dicourage them nor ourselves. If you are anexecutive head, treat your employees humanly and affectionately with a blend of showing mercy and extending hand of help according to your status. If you are an employee show your efficiency and discipline which may not be ignoring the standard required of you to give. if you are an advisor advise both the actors in amnner that no one denies the right of the other. In short honesty must be visible every where at all moments and all must share the progress of a nation with full diginity.

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 7 years ago from Scotland, UK

      It's my pleasure Mr Happy. Thank you.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank you for your time and kind words Mr. Amillar, I appreciate it.

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 7 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Thanks for looking in on me Mr Happy I’ve checked out your hub - the link doesn’t work so I found it on your profile - and I’m finding your hubs very interesting.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hehe, I loved your blog! The bloody markets ... (

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 7 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Well billyaustindillon it doesn’t take much to confuse me. What boggles my mind most is why do ‘the people’ put up with it? Anyway, my Mum used to describe me as ‘a plodder’.

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 7 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Thanksbillyaustindillon, I'm going to check out your hubs right now.

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      I have written a few hubs on this - the markets are best described as a collection of large investors, banks, funds, proprietary traders and SWFs who are joined by technology and shift and manage the mass of global assets. Each segment is different but related in some way. I have tried to cover these segments in many of my hubs. Let me know if they make sense :) Those damn markets can be confusing.

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 7 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Hi, Amanda it looks like Mr Micawber nailed it. And Dickens knew the score too; his childhood was blighted when his father was imprisoned for debt; they say that's where he got the inspiration for his best novels. However, Dickens was a man of his time; I agree with Mr Micawber because I'm old fashioned. In slightly more modern times, the 1930s, the expression 'debt encumbered homeowners don't go on strike', gives us an early insight to the type of ideology that brought us to where we are now. After the 70's wages went static, whilst profits soared. And what did they do with these profits? They lent it - with interest - to the workers, who started to borrow, to keep up with the cost of living.

      Check out Professor Richard Wolff's site in the right hand column of this hub. It helped me to understand what's been going on, as I bungled through life.

      Thanks for your help with my questions. I always appreciate your comments.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

      “My other piece of advice, Copperfield,” said Mr. Micawber, “you know. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds, nineteen shillings and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and, in short, you are for ever floored. As I am!” Charles Dickens - David Copperfield

      I don't know who the markets are either. I only know that we're all in this together because a/ America sneezed and we caught a cold, b/ our previous caring, sharing government spent our inheritance whilst the sun was shining, and neglected to put a few shillings by for a rainy day, c/ we're all living much longer than we used to, and d/ most of our industry has shipped off to sunnier climes where labour and raw materials are cheap and plentiful.

      We've allowed this to happen, and now it's up to us to change things for the better. It just seems a little unfair that even though we didn't get to go to the party, we still have to deal with the hangover!

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 7 years ago from Scotland, UK

      I think I know what you mean suny51. But why would He/She give me a brain that might question Him/Her? Thanks for looking in on me - and so quickly.

    • suny51 profile image

      suny51 7 years ago

      Hello,if you feed a question in your computer,

      "Is there a God"

      You may expect the answer"Yes, now there is God",so don't involve 'God'with computers,that could boomerang.As for your markets, thats no market,just a Monte carlo.


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