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   Currently bond investors are driving up government debt around the world.  Their focus today is the EU, tomorrow perhaps the USA (which has been downgraded by the S&P already).  The value of government debt, like other forms of debt and equities, is rated by private agencies (http://en.wikipedia.org/...).  These agencies have been found to have financial links to the very producers of bonds they are rating and the ratings have been shown to be influenced by these links (http://money.cnn.com/...).  The entire financial system is undermined by a lack of controls, regulation and a structure and culture that feeds on gambling and risk (see details at: http://www.dailykos.com/... for my analysis of the unfolding crisis in 2008).  
    Rating agencies have  been found to be anti-competitive, to be compromised by financial connections and services with those who produce the bonds that the agencies rate (http://en.wikipedia.org/...).  The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reported today that the borrowing of industrialized nations has reached 10 trillion and will grow further in 2012 (see The Financial Times, 12 December 2011 article by David Oakley).  The rating of bonds and other forms of debt should be based on reliable and impartial decisions of transparent data.  If this is not so, then the taxpayers of nations issuing debt will be forced to pay too much for the extended credit.  As a result, the existing rating agencies should be closed for their collusion in the current credit crisis and replaced with institutes established in universities where those making the decisions will not be under pressure from market participants to rate in their favor.  Certainly no system is perfect, but the current system is being manipulated.

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