Daily archives: October 26, 2011

Capitalism in Crisis?

I am not blogging about the EU summit. It is pointless. It will of course produce a communique to reassure the markets. It makes no difference.

The economic system in which most of our readers live is little to do with capitalism. The value of goods traded is an insignificant fraction of the flow of funds around the world, much of which relates to either bets on the future values of goods, or bets on the consequences of the vectors of financial flows of which the bets themselves are a part.

The whole edifice is based not on a market for exchange of goods and concrete services, but on an astonishing matrix of state enforced legal instruments creating an extraordinary pile of paper money produced by states, but ultimately worth nothing real. This legal framework was designed to shift the great bulk of this wealth from people who actually work for a living to a small financial elite, most (but not all) of whom create little or nothing real.

If the state compelled everyone to play a pyramid scheme, then you could keep it going for decades. As the system started to reach inevitable collapse, the state moved in with bank bailouts and quantitive easing, both of which simply moved yet more money from ordinary people to the super-rich. In fact the last three years have seen the biggest transfer of resources from poor to rich in human history.

It cannot last, and whether it is Greece or Italy or Spain which is this week’s fashionable media focus is irrelevant. In making these vast levied and leveraged transfers of resources from poor to rich, states have exhausted the capacity of their people to actually pay them. That is true all over Europe, the UK and US. The currency crises are a tiny symptom of a very large impending crash.

That is why I am not blogging about today’s EU meeting or a specific statement of the US Federal Bank Chairman. They are all pissing into the wind that is shortly to be a tornado. I expect before I die I will see a genuine social revolution. I expect that, as always happens, middle class liberals like me will start by being elated by it, and end up being shot by those who seize on the change, to take their turn to use the power of the state to corner resources for themselves.

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Where Are The Malyshevs?

It is five days now since Nina and Mikel Malyshev were “disappeared” – I have no doubt by the Uzbek security services – during their deportation to Uzbekistan by the UK Border Agency.

I had hoped that they would be detained for a couple of days and then released after signing a confession that they had been misled by evil people like me and that President Karimov was the great father of his nation. But unfortunately this is now looking far more sinister, particularly as we know that they were taken past passport control at the airport without their arrival being registered. I fear they may have simply disappeared forever and the Uzbek government will deny all knowledge they ever arrived.

The British government denies all responsibility. This from the UK border agency, who sent them back to Karimov:

“These individuals were removed on Friday after they refused to leave voluntarily. “The UK Border Agency carefully considered their cases and several different judges agreed in the courts that they did not need the UK’s protection.”

The British Embassy in Tashkent have told the family they have no responsibility for the Malyshevs.

The UK Border Agency deported the Malyshevs on 21 October. At 6am on 22 October they phoned their relatives in Port Talbot to say that they were alright, they had been met at the plane by a representative of the British Embassy and escorted through the airport, bypassing passport control, security checks and customs. They expected to be put on a bus to their former home in Zarafshan. They never arrived in Zarafshan and have disappeared. The British Embassy say they did not send anybody to the airport to meet them.

The fake British official was without doubt from the Uzbek security services. Nobody else could get airside at Tashkent – including, incidentally, the British Embassy who do not have airside access.

I gave written evidence to the Malyshevs’ asylum appeal. I specifically stated that if deported the Malyshevs would be picked up at the airport by the security services. The Home Office stated this was not true, and my knowledge was out of date.

It is not acceptable for the British government knowingly to deport people to probable torture in Uzbekistan, and then refuse to find out what happens to them. The government refuses to check up on the Malyshevs’ fate partly because it does not care what happens to them, and partly because it wants to continue to claim there is no problem and continue to deport others to Karimov.

Please raise this with any group you know, and get as many people as possible to write to their MPs. Amnesty members try to get them involved. Please repost this as widely as possible on the web. The Malyshevs may still be alive in a cell or gulag. We need to find them.


Mikel Malyshev has just phoned his sister – so the good news is that he is alive. But he did not appear able to talk freely and when asked if he was OK replied “Yes and No”. He was not alone – other voices could be heard – and seemed very nervous. He was not with Nina and could or would not say where she was.

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