Though the Libor scandal is just breaking now, some financial insiders claim that Wall Street’s been fiddling with the key interest rate for decades.
“Fifteen years ago, the word was that LIBOR was being rigged,” a financial industry veteran involved in the Libor process told the Economist. “It was one of those well kept secrets, but the regulator was asleep, the Bank of England didn’t care, and…[the banks involved were] happy with the reference prices.” (Hat tip: Barry Ritholtz.)
“Going back to the late 1980s, when I was a trader, you saw some pretty odd fixings,”another financial industry veteran told the Economist.
Indeed, the Federal Reserve was worried about possible Libor manipulation 14 years ago, according to Business Insider.
The second points out that the Libor was designed from the beginning to be easily manipulated. In other words, this “scandal” (implying that it’s something out of the ordinary, an evil blot in a sea of good) is, and has always been, (bankster) business as usual.
• businessinsider.com: Libor Was A Criminal Conspiracy from the Start
Look, when calculating Libor rates, the British Bankers Association (BBA) throws out the 4 highest and 4 lowest of rates reported by 18 banks. Hence, one single bank cannot possibly manipulate rates down; that is, not on its own. The only way this could have worked, it’s pure and simple math, is if a substantial number of banks were involved. A majority of them, to be precise.
Indeed, it is worse than that: all the evidence over the past week, if not long before, suggests that Libor was set up the way it was, BECAUSE the idea was to make it prone to manipulation. It was a criminal conspiracy from the start, and a whole slew of regulators and politicians were in on it. And still are.
Bankers were left free, legally, to call each other every morning and set Libor rates where it suited them. There was no outside control. None.
That story is today’s news. You might want to read the whole thing.
One piece of good news: More and more we begin to see calls for big banksters to be charged as criminals, rather than their banks just hand-slapped with fines. (Economist Joseph Steiglitz, remember, has been calling for bankster prosecutions for years.) Here’s a piece by Christina van den Heuvel, Editor of The Nation.
• washingtonpost.com: Time for ‘Banksters’ to be prosecuted”
Notice, however, that this writer does not (yet?) see Libor as intentionally set up to make it not “as good as gold.”
The stakes are staggering. The Libor should be as good as gold. It pegs the value of up to $800 trillion in financial instruments. The collusion was systematic and routine. Investigations are underway not only in the United Kingdom but also in the United States, Canada and the European Union. Those named in the probes are all the usual suspects: JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, UBS, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, UBS and others. This wasn’t rogue trading, as the Economist concludes; it was more like a cartel.
What are we to make of all this structural and procedural skullduggery that infects the circulatory system of the 3D world? Well, I’d say, get thee and we to 5D, and the gifting economy. Begin to let go of this old illusion, now that its showing its true colors.
First, practice an attitude of gratitude which, astonishingly, when truly heart-felt, opens space, shifts the atmosphere from fear to love, from not enough to plenty. We glow, and we flow, giving and receiving, like the plants do, the animals, the planets in their courses . . . it’s natural, nature’s way! Each absorbing what the others let go of, more and more exchanges, like breathing, in and out, no worries, it’s all good, all of it! Even this moment of panic our species now finds itself in, this slow motion heart attack that appears to be shutting down the circulatory system that has held us in its debt-fueled maw since way back before any of us alive today can remember.
2012. Yes! This is the year of human transformation: and it must proceed from the inside out, from inside each of us out into the world — from fear to love, from scarcity to abundance, from doubt to trust.
First, we change. Then we shift our infrastructure accordingly.
And let us remember: each of us, as a soul, chose to be here, on Earth, during this exhilarating, terrifying, heart-stopping moment in history when the clocks chimed the zero hour; when we accelerated to warp speed and then stopped, paused, and started over again, brand-new.