This will be a Weekend at Bernie's for the global banking system.
If a 'Banking Holiday' is declared for all of next week, well then it will be a 'Very Long Week at Bernie's' whilst the grey heads and governments of this world get their act together. Or don't. Monday morning is a long time from now, and time is short.
Nothing has come of all the efforts of Paulson and every Central Bank in the world to 'restore confidence in the banking system.' To somehow get insolvent banks that don't trust one another to cheerfully loan one another money they don't have. Curious, that.
As we enter the weekend, following a rollercoaster day on Wall Street, with a thousand point spread between the ups and downs, a weekend when the G-7 is meeting to discuss the global crisis, and the IMF and World Bank are meeting in multiple ways as well -- you need to ignore the stock market to grok the simplicity of the situation.
Never mind the high flying world of global finance, derivatives, hedges, debt swaps, and the alphabet soup of debt instruments of the shadow banking system. It is a stark matter, now, of the bank on the corner -- worldwide -- shuttering its windows.
In plain words, the absolutely core function of banking -- to provide a steady flow of fungible money to local enterprise -- remains dead, worldwide, and this lack will kill companies, currencies, and nations as surely as a dead pump in a human chest kills that person.
Money is a medium of exchange -- be it cowrie shells or fiat paper -- that lets human commerce rise above the bartering of chickens and bushels of corn. If people can't get reliable cowrie shells, greenbacks, rubles or pounds to run their shop or do their own shopping, they will promptly invent their own currency, and stop using yours for any purpose other than insulating the outhouse.
At the moment I hand you a fiver, and you won't take it, it ceases being a fiver. It's just paper at that moment.
It is the movement of money between people that makes it money. Nationalizing banks, and forcing them through the motions of issuing taxpayer funds for local commerce, jobs, payrolls, shopping, bus fares -- is the last stopgap measure before letting your currency stop moving. Letting it fail.
If your money doesn't move, it isn't money.
If your money isn't, then neither is your government.
As the one becomes pointless, so does the other.
The grey heads of the G-7 are having a gruesome party this weekend, sawing up and sewing together dead banks, conducting chainsaw autopsies, practicing vivisection and reanimation, shrieking and groaning about consumer confidence, and wondering how to keep the villagers from doing that awful pitchfork and torches thing. God, that gets messy so fast!
Do the madmen in the high castle know what they're dealing with? Do they know what they are doing?
Well! Halloween came early this year!
Zombie bankers everywhere . . . but where are the brains?!?
Where are the brains???