Both the nuclear explosions that took place in North Korea this year are “made in Pakistan”, according to those silently, and in total secrecy, tracking the nuclear trajectory of the East Asian country. “Silently” because most governments are chary of publicly naming and presumably shaming the military establishment in Pakistan for its drive to weaponise the country’s nuclear deterrent. Cooperation in the development of nuclear weapons between Pakistan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been ongoing since the 1970s, but accelerated some years after the 1998 Chagai tests by Pakistan. “By end-2005, it was clear that testing of nuclear devices through computer modelling was not yielding operationally significant results”, a key analyst based mainly in Hong Kong claimed, adding that from then onwards, a hyper secretive programme of cooperation between the DPRK military and the Pakistan army was begun. In both countries, the men in uniform control the development and production of nuclear devices. The October 2006 and May 2009 North Korean tests took place with regular participation of scientists from a secret nuclear weapons development facility near Hyderabad (Sindh) in Pakistan, the sources asserted. They said that “the Pakistan army has so far done brilliantly what they are expert at, which is bluff”, in that they hyped the degree to which Pakistan had proceeded on the road towards a weaponised nuclear deterrent and attack system. “When A.Q. Khan gave his 1987 interview to Kuldip Nayar about Pakistan having the bomb, they had nothing to show for their pains except a few lumps of radioactive material.” However, “subsequently they received assistance from a member of the United Nations P-5 to launch them on the path towards developing nuclear weapons. However, such assistance was almost totally cut off after the 1998 tests,” thereby forcing Pakistan to conduct further tests in the laboratory rather than underground. After six years, the results of such tests were meagre, although externally, the spin given was that the military establishment in Pakistan had perfected a nuclear weapon and indeed had more such items in stock than India.
Sunday, 25 September 2016
Friday, 23 September 2016
A year after chasing the Nobel Peace Prize by opening the door to migration by refugees from North Africa, West Asia, Afghanistan and other countries, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that her liberal policy would change. Results in Berlin, Germany’s most liberal and multicultural city, shocked the Christian Democratic Union leader, who is looking to voters for a fourth term in office next year, after already serving over a decade as Chancellor of Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Her chances for such a victory are nil, and this is due to a combination of anti-incumbency sentiments and anger in German society at Markel’s snap decision to allow more than a million refugees to settle in Germany.
Unless the German authorities wish to go the way of France, where the Muslim minority feels shirt-changed and has become ghettoised, huge financial outlays are needed to ensure that refugee families gain access to health care, education, housing and employment, so that they can become productive citizens. This will take years, perhaps a decade, and in meantime, there will be pressure to admit close family members of those already resident in Germany.
This could swell the number by another 600,000 over the next five years. In addition, Europe is likely to witness another flood of refugees during 2017-2019 of at least two million more desperate individuals from Syria, Libya and other locations hit by wars in which NATO is involved, such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Because of the confused policies of NATO with regard to fighting Daesh ad its ideological cousins, conflicts in Libya and Syria are in danger of morphing to a stage that will take decades to evolve into normalcy. The secret services of NATO powers seem clueless about exactly who are and who are not dangerous to the alliance in the medley of armed fighters in West Asian war zones.
Ironically, almost all the weaponry, training and cash deployed by such fighters have come from NATO or its regional allies. Indeed, Daesh became a potent force only after senior officers in the Iraqi military deserted their posts and ordered the troops under them to cease fighting so that Daesh could capture Mosul and other large cities in Iraq in 2014. Thus far, none of compromised officers has been proceeded against, even when many have relocated to US, UK so as to live well off bribes they were paid to hand over large portions of their country to Daesh.
This columnist was probably the earliest to warn that Daesh was more toxic than Al-Qaeda, because of the fact that its form of operations is atomised, comprising not mainly of big formations in the field but individuals acting by themselves or in cells of a handful of motivated recruits to the terror network. The level of theological knowledge needed to become a part of Daesh is near zero, as the organisation functions on the Nazi principle that cruelty is the highest form of morality, thereby drawing into its fold those with psychopathic tendencies. Such individuals are enabled to act out their fantasies through becoming part of the Daesh network, which has a minimal level of communications, confining itself to mass messaging designed to ensure that those susceptible to is siren call read the message in a way that prompts them into violent actions, such as those attempted by an IS acolyte days ago in New York and New Jersey. NATO is placing its security at risk by refusing to accept the need to work alongside those who are in fact fighting Daesh rather than those who are resending to while in fact providing temporary sheller to the fighters of this lethal force.
The anti-Daesh coalition is fractured, with Secretary of State John Kerry now fully getting “Clintonized” (perhaps in the expectation that he will retain his job after Hillary Clinton’s presumed victory in the November 8 US Presidental elections). Kerry is more focussed on somehow ending Bashar Assad’s rule in Damascus than he is in finishing off ISIS (Daesh), and this fracture of the anti-ISIS forces is visible in every key battlefield, to the benefit of the most dangerous terror machine that world has seen since rise of Adolf Hitler. Should hold of Daesh in Iraq and Syria not get broken within next nine or so months, atomisation of terror will reach a level such that Newark-style attacks will become routine in EU and US within 2017.
Because of the ease with which copycat attacks can get planned and carried out, it is vital that IS (Daesh) be shown to be broken within the next few months, before fresh trances of copycats get formed. However, the confused and self-defeating policy followed by Barack Obama under the influence of the Europeanist Clintonites who dominate “his” administration, as well as the still more self-defeating policies followed by France and the UK, are ensuring that the organisation survives to fight on, even to the extent of retaining some territory. It is Hillary Clinton and not Donald John Trump whose declared policies favour the consolidation and growth of IS (Daesh), but that message has been lost in the cacophony created by “terrorism experts” anxious to continue covering up their past errors by repeating failed analyses and nostrums.
What is needed to defeat Daesh in the diminishing time window available before the virus mutates to a more virulent and infective strain is to unite all those opposed to IS and ensure coordinated attacks on the organisation and its sympathisers. What those still mumbling about the “Russian threat to Europe” or “the imperative of removing Bashar Assad from power” fail to understand is that it is only a matter of time before the mindspace virus that is represented by Daesh changes to a form that becomes attractive to elements of general populations within the Atlantic Alliance.
Just as Nazism grew to encompass tens of millions of Germans, the frenzy and bloodlust that is at the core of the ideology of Daesh is potentially addictive to tens of millions in the US, the EU and other locations who feel left behind by the rapidity of change in the 21st century. IS needs to be eliminated now from Raqqa and Mosul, but that needs a unity of purpose between the US, China, the EU,Iran and Russia that appears distant if not impossible at present. The world is sliding into a slow motion horror that in the totality of its consequences will prove as destructive of human life as Adolf Hitler’s legacy of death was in the previous century.
Sunday, 18 September 2016
The rise of China over the past decade has given a reality check to those Japanese in thrall to the myth of Japanese racial superiority.
Although pollsters are sceptical of the prospect of the telegenic Renho ever becoming the first female Prime Minister of Japan, this cannot be ruled out if the Shinzo Abe government is not able to improve economic prospects in the country. Voters are fickle, and yesterday’s hero can quickly morph into tomorrow’s villain, and Renho has a natural constituency in Japanese women, who are no longer willing to accept the overlordship of men, but are fighting for equality in the workplace. Close by, Yingluck Shinawatra was for a time the head of government in Thailand, but this was almost entirely due to the fact of her brother Thaksin remaining the most popular politician in the country despite being in exile. In the case of Renho, her rise owes nothing to anyone bar herself, unlike the numerous women leaders who have risen on the basis of marriage or birth certificates, a list that includes Sirimavo and Chandrika Bandaranaike, Indira and Sonia Gandhi, Khaleda Zia, Benazir Bhutto, Megawati Sukarnoputri and Sheikh Hasina Wajed. However, it must be added that several in this list acquitted themselves at least as well as the men, who had been their predecessors. Although the Democratic Party in Japan prided itself on being contemporary, for long it had been run by ageing patriarchs, who seemed, on the surface at least, very little different from the fading old men who were the faction leaders of the Liberal Party. That mould was broken by Junichiro Koizumi and now by Shinzo Abe, both of whom are wholly contemporary in their outward appearance, while at the same time showing their respect for tradition.
Had Renho’s father come from the other side of the Taiwan Straits, from Mainland China, it is doubtful whether she would have received the warm reception that the Taiwanese-Japanese has got in the country of her mother. The reality is that Japan and its people are becoming wary of China, and a close link with the mainland, through having a parent from there, would almost certainly have weakened Renho’s political prospects. However, to the Japanese, Taiwan is different, and there is a lot of romanticism about and appreciation for the beautiful island into which Chiang Kai-shek and hundreds of thousands of his defeated soldiers escaped in 1949. Despite the fact that Japan was the colonial master of Taiwan for a century, few people in the island share Mainland China’s distaste for the group of islands that emerged as a global power in 1904 after sinking the Imperial fleet of Russia off Tsushima, and which in 1941-44 made jelly out of British, French and Dutch troops, who had subjugated vast areas of Southeast Asia for more than a century, falling back only under the superior naval strength of the US, a country Japan unwisely attacked in 1941, thereby drawing the world’s newest and soon to be biggest economy into the war.
Will China follow Japan’s example and ensure that leaders from the minority communities are enabled to reach the highest levels of the Chinese Communist Party? When will a Tibetan, for instance, be a member of the CCP Standing Committee, or indeed a woman? Till now, the apex body has been 100% male and 100% Han. And as for India, any feelings of moral superiority need to be tempered by the reality of the prevalence and indeed prominence of adult delinquents, who rough up fellow citizens from the Northeast and murder others on the suspicion that they have consumed beef, a food eaten in profusion across almost the entire globe.
Friday, 16 September 2016
In the 20th century, countries that were Dominant Powers in the 19th shrank in importance, but to the still considerable level of powers that exercised primacy over substantial parts of the globe, with relatively few constraints on their writ. However, the 21st century is seeing a “flattening out” of technology, such that trained individuals in a much larger scatter of countries are able to access high tech and its defence and civilian spinoffs. India may be a relatively poor country, but it is the world leader in inexpensive generic medicines, and despite efforts by multiple countries (including the US, Switzerland, the UK, South Korea and Japan) to smother to insignificance its industry, has continued to supply the world with cheap yet effective medicines.
It is ironic, if not laughable, that Bill Clinton claims so much of the credit “for ensuring cheap medicine for HIV-infected” in the globe, when his administration (during 1992-2001) did so much to try and destroy India’s generic drugs industry, and indeed succeeded in blocking the access of several markets to medicine from Indian companies such as CIPLA, whose visionary chairperson, Yusuf Hamied, merits a Nobel Peace Prize if only the committee would look not only at those who are darlings of the North Atlantic powers and ignore those who have mapped out their own path. Of course, it is not certain that Hamied would wish to share an honour with the likes of Henry Kissinger, who got the Nobel Peace Prize presumably for his success in population control in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, three countries he bombed in a manner that gave zero strategic benefit to the US but which satisfied his craving for revenge on those who dared to challenge his 18th century vision of the globe.
Events in Syria since 2011 demonstrate the change which has taken place in global geopolitics. After having first ensured that Saddam Hussein and later Muammar Kaddafy surrendered their Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), they destroyed first both of them and later, much of their countries. Given the fact that the GCC is a steadfast ally of NATO, it was a given that Washington, London and Paris would seek to finish off Bashar Assad as well, as desired by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other allies of the Atlantic powers. By 2011, Syria was on a pathway to liberalisation, with the citizenry enjoying a far broader menu of rights than was the case when Hafez Assad was the master of Syria (and Lebanon).
Bashar withdrew from Lebanon, expecting a change in attitude from the NATO powers, which of course never came, as for the alliance, the world is binary. Either it is 100% or it is zero, and the Assad regis was zero, no matter how hard he tried to befriend the US and the EU. The regional allies of these powers are determined to replace the Alawite leader with an individual responding to their commands. As a consequence, from early 2011, a well-funded movement was begun to ensure that the streets of Damascus, Aleppo and other Syria cities erupt in the way Cairo had earlier done, also causing regime change. However, such manifestations failed, and subsequently a flow of weapons and trained fighters were inserted into Syria, thereby starting the armed conflict that has fractured the country and led to a flood of refugees into Europe and a rash of terrorism across several corners of the globe, including in the US and the EU.
Western power is in decline, but the cause of that is not the economy or technology. Despite the most modern technologies, including in weaponry, and the bigger economies as compared with most rivals, why have the Atlantic powers lot the imitative, often to ragtag groups of fighters? The reason is bad policy. Experts and officials in the larger countries of NATO (especially the US, the UK and France) seem to be basing policy on the writings of Rudyard Kipling and his implied recommendations on how to deal with the natives.
Whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya or Syria, policy errors have led to a winning hand getting converted into a losing bid. An example is the reaction to what Ankara is doing on the border with Syria and in locations such as Aleppo. Perhaps because of a lack of knowledge about their provenance, Turkey is accepting as allies the very fighters who just days earlier were part of IS. Most of these, in fact almost all, are “leaving” IS only to rejoin tat organisation later, after getting refreshed and replenished. NATO’s efforts to block Assad’s campaign against IS in Aleppo and elsewhere is playing into the terror group’s goals, as also the fact that Turkey is battling the Kurds in a manner far deadlier than any moves against IS, which anyway refuses to fight against fighters whom they know are their own, albeit in camouflage for the moment. Because if the way in which the US and its allies have been assisting Ankara against the Kurds, that ethnic group is turning hostile to the West. Additionally, Shia across the rein are seeing NATO as hostile to them, a factor that could ignite a similar variant of terrorism against the US and the EU as has been faced by Israel since its 1982s involvement in the Lebanese civil war.
Wrong policies lead to disaster. Had London given India Dominion Status in the 1930s, the subcontinent may still have remained united, and Queen Elizabeth may have been the Head of State, as she is in Ottawa and Canberra. Of what avails the superior technology and the bigger economies of the western powers, if so many of the geopolitical the policies they are fashioning ad implementing are faulty to the point of idiocy?
Sunday, 11 September 2016
Friday, 9 September 2016
History has shown time and time again how in democracies on dependent-minded leaders very soon begin to follow the lead given by the bureaucracy. The Foreign Secretary of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, Boris Johnson, is the latest – clearly eager and willing – victim of this kind of house training by officialdom. In a conference in London where he was the star attraction, Johnson called for the “removal of Bashar Assad”.
In the past, Prime Minister David Cameron and whoever it was who was Foreign Secretary then declaimed equally persistently for the removal of Muammar Kaddafy in Tripoli. The triumvirate of Cameron, Hollande and Clinton the last named being, the then US Secretary of State, who was usually successful in bullying President Obama into following her aggressive lead in external policy towards weak Third World countries. Needless to say, Hillary Clinton had in 2011 and still has in 2016 an entirely different approach towards even first-stage nuclear powers such as North Korea, not to speak of globe’s other superpower, China.
Were Bashar Assad to be removed the way the “moderate opposition” congregated in London wants him to be, the same way as Kaddafy, through the use of force, that part of Syria still in his control, and which is relatively far more stable than the rest of the country, would dissolve into a murderous chaos. Christians especially, who have congregated in those parts of Syria run by Assad rather than by the bits controlled by the “moderate fighters” that are being armed, trained and funded by NATO and the GCC, will face another genocide, as would Alawites and Druze, while non-Wahabbi Sunnis would either have to convert to that philosophy or face execution. Boris Johnson has a superb IQ and must surely be aware of this reality. The only way to explain his clutching at the same disastrous policy of Cameron is that he has learnt to march in step behind his officials.
The mandarins of Whitehall backed the takeover of Iraq after the 2003 downfall of Saddam Hussein by the Coalition Provisional Authority headed by a clownish Paul Bremer. They looked the other way when Iraq was denuded of its treasures and by much of the substantive symbols of a great history. Later, they became cheerleaders for the removal of the Libyan dictator, who was bad, but what followed him was awful. During the period when Kaddafy was in charge of the country, Libyans had jobs and income. They had security and healthcare, besides the right to education in the country or abroad. They each had housing. After what Whitehall considers their “liberation”, they lack each of these requirements of a civilised life, not that there is any prospect of any of the officials who pushed for such a disastrous policy being held to account by the Human Rights Court at the Hague.
In the manner of 007,who had a licence to kill, so does NATO, and woe betide any individual who questions such an axiom. Small wonder that Italy practically broke off normal diplomatic relations with India and barred the entire European Union from entering into agreements with Delhi till two marines who had shot and killed two unarmed fishermen in their small boat were permitted to return to their home country, where they have been celebrated as heroes.
There are many who admired Boris Johnson as an individual who spoke his mind and who refused to settle down comfortably in the bureaucratic box. His shabby performance at the September London conference on Syria has dismayed them. However, he has not been the first to have clay flowing out of his trousers. Bernie Sanders, the senior Senator from Vermont, made millions in his own country believe that he was serious about a revolution.
In particular, they trusted him when he spoke of slaying the dragon of greed that rests within Wall Street, and which has allowed the financial services industry in the US to dominate manufacturing. Wall Street has bought up, broken up and sold bits and pieces of Main Street since Bill Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagal law in the 1990s. This has gone to such an extent that income distribution in the US has become much mire skewed than in the period before Reagan, Deng and Thatcher, who prized wealth above all else and set their countries on a path whereby the wealthy prospered hugely while the middle class began to shrink.
It was clear from almost the start of the 2015 campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination that Bernie Sanders was not really interested in besting Hillary Clinton. Had he been so, there is no way the Vermont populist would have thrown away his best card, that of the Clinton emails, by declaring that he had no interest in them, nor should anyone else. From that time onwards, Sanders was doomed, although few then believed that he would reach so far down that he would become a cheerleader for the Clintons, who are the toast of Wall Street and have the money to show for such an attitude. That Hillary Clinton’s bombast about Wall Street is empty is known to every individual in government.
Which makes it all the more surprising that Bernie Sanders would so damage his credentials as to beg for votes on her behalf throughout the US. Interestingly, Donald Trump (though wealthier than the Clintons for now) has had a testy relationship with Wall Street, which has several times reacted in a way less than helpful to construction tycoon.
Will Angela Merkel, who is for the moment the boss of the EU, follow Whitehall in calling for bombs to rain over those parts of Damascus controlled by Assad? What is saving the Syrian politician is the fact that Moscow may be willing to cut a deal which cuts him out, but only if the EU, the US and of course that presently in-between country, the UK, agree to the annexation of Crimea. It is an article of faith within the EU that a single European is worth more than a hundred thousand in Asia, if not more.
Hence it is unlikely that Washington and its allies will budge on their demand that Moscow surrender the Crimea. Should Vladimir Putin comply, his political career would be finished, which would be another plus for NATO. However, the canny Russian leader knows the toxicity of the card that his interlocuters want him to play, and is unlikely to oblige. And so long as NATO fails to accept that the Crimea belongs to Russia, Bashar Assad is safe.
Sunday, 4 September 2016
Friday, 2 September 2016
In the third year of his term as Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi is shedding the slower than expected pace that characterised many of his initiatives during the first two years. The “Modi” Cabinet unveiled by the mass leader from Gujarat gave off a strong whiff of deja vu to those who were witnessing the ceremony on the grounds of the Presidential Palace on May 26, 2014. Several of its stalwarts were from the era of Atal Behari Vajpayee, who had been India’s first BJP Prime Minister, beginning a full term in 1999 but failing to win re-election in 2004. Indeed, Vajpayee took great care to ensure continuity in policy and to give importance to the Congress Party, especially its unquestioned leader, Sonia Gandhi.
Those who had been loyal to India’s longest-serving ruling party mostly remained at their posts, and relatively few jobs were filled by those friendly to the BJP. From the start, many of the Congress sympathisers in the BJP-led government began to silently work for the return of their favourite party. Unlike the BJP, which usually does not bother about the political orientation of the civil service, the Congress under Sonia Gandhi was meticulous in promoting the careers of loyalists and in blighting the careers of those hostile to the party and to the Nehru family. As a consequence, several of the latter suffered, whether the government in power was BJP or Congress. `In the Modi government as well, the Vajpayee Principle of non-interference in the bureaucracy has been followed, so much so that senior civil servants known to be extra close to key politicians during the Manmohan Singh decade ( 2004–2014) were given equally important jobs after the BJP took office. In the Union Finance Ministry, for example, several of the officers were personally close to UPA-era Finance Minister Chidambaram, and helped the minister in his desires for himself, his party, his leader and his family. In the process, the officers themselves became wealthy, being able to afford luxurious homes and education abroad for their children.
In view of Modi’s meticulous avoidance of any symptom of political favouritism, even officers who bent the rules and often broke them to serve UPA-era political masters have been given promotion, for example as Secretaries to Government. Loyalty to the Congress has been high because that party looked after its sympathisers in the bureaucracy. Loyalty to the BJP is low because officials know that party will not give them any special attention for such an attitude. The way in which promotions and posts got decided in India during Congress era was through signals from Congress leadership about Officer X or Y. Now that Modi is PM, a small group of top officials contact another small group of close friends and come to a conclusion about promotions and postings.
The subjective views of a small number of former and present officials is decisive, and all too often, considerations of caste, region and community play a role larger than should be the case Modi refused to go in for a large-scale cleansing of the higher bureacracy even of those elements that in the past pandered to political whims and needs. Similarly, he has apparently rejected the option of taking action against the central leadership of the UPA. Not even a single chargesheet ( nor indeed a First Information Report) has been filed since May 26,2014 against senior functionaries of the UPA known to have amassed huge fortunes and played with the fortunes of the country, even by shortselling the rupee on occasion and misusing the stock exchanges to make and to launder money. Officers who connived at such activities mostly continue in their posts, and ironically,some of the worst offenders have been given responsibilities that relate to precisely responsibilities where misfeasance was committed during 2004–2014.
Within the bureaucracy, which by and large comprises of honest and dedicated officials who have sacrificed much for the country, there has been impatience at Prime Minister Modi’s “Political Hands Off” approach to personnel changes. In the Manmohan Decade, Ministers could get posted officers of their choice, provided these were also approved by the core group around the Congress President. In the Modi dispensation, ministers have to defer to the views of senior civil servants (notably in the Prime Minister’s Office) in the selection of individuals to fill top jobs in their ministries. The worry of those who support Prime Minister Modi is that such forbearance and forgiveness will lead to the government “going the Vajpayee way” of losing its majority in the next general elections, due in 2019. In the US, a change in the top leadership of the country means a wholesale shift of personnel in departments and agencies across the Federal Government. In India, whenever the BJP takes office, such changes are minimal, with result that “fear factor” is missing during such periods, and matters get delayed if not sabotaged altogether.
An example is the Goods & Services Tax bill, which ought to have been passed in early 2015 at the latest, but which became law only a month ago. Had the bill become law much earlier, international perceptions about the economic policies of the Modi government may have been much better than they presently are. Another example has been the signing of the three military “Foundation Agreements” with the US, that on logistics, communications and geospatial enhancing of capacities. Bureaucrats linked to international weapons lobbies delayed the signing of these, as their foreign patrons were worried that the signing of the three agreements would give a head start to US manufacturers in the defence industry in a market that is expected to touch a volume of $ 150 billion within years.
Had any other individual bar Narendra Modi been the Prime Minister, not even a single such agreement would have been signed, but finally on August 30, the logistics agreement has been signed with the US. Of course, arms lobbies are working hard to scuttle the signing of the other two, despite the fact that over the year, there has been a substantial growth in partnering between the US and Indian militaries. It remains to be seen whether the other two will get signed as well during the short period when Barack Obama remains President of the US. Only Prime Minister Modi’s intervention can ensure that the weapons lobbies so powerful in India fail in their bid to keep the India-US relationship from getting formalised through written agreements.
Sunday, 28 August 2016
Flush with funds and with almost the entire media serving as a PR vehicle for Hillary Clinton, while demonising Republican contender Donald Trump, conventional wisdom goes that the 8 November electoral battle has already been decided. Hillary will, according to the pundits, win, and the only question is how big the victory margin of the Democratic Party candidate will be. Such confidence is based on the former Secretary of State being the favoured candidate of Wall Street, which sees Donald Trump as unsympathetic to its demand for primacy in economic policy. The Clintons have been close to Wall Street for nearly three decades. Small wonder therefore that the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act (which had placed severe curbs on the financial industry) was repealed by President Bill Clinton in 1999. Since then, Wall Street has had the upper hand over Main Street in the world’s biggest economy. Steadily, the financial services industry has dominated traditional manufacturing, a consequence of which has been the closure of hundreds of thousands of enterprises that failed to meet the financial tests of Wall Street, the sole purpose of which was to ensure a copious flow of dividend and other income to mega investors as well as top executives of major companies. Simultaneously, the volume of the financial industry grew, reaching the astonishing sum of $120 trillion in value, an absurdity in an economy that is more than ten times smaller in size than such inflated estimates.