Tuesday, January 01, 2008

SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS of a SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC DOWNTURN

I think many readers will agree that, with the US housing bubble deflating and credit markets deteriorating, many of the things that we have previously taken for granted (easy money/credit and the ability to roll over debt, rising asset values, cheap imports, fairly strong job market, exported inflation, sound banking/financial systems, etc) will soon come to an end, and our economic landscape will significantly change.

For years, due to US dollar hegemony, a tremendous US appetite for consumption and a masqueradingly sound banking/financial system, our economy was very fortunate to have had the privilege of absorbing nearly 80% of the world’s excess savings. This foreign savings was recycled back through our system, allowing for the creation of new loans, provided the fuel for increased consumption and it permitted us to live far beyond our means.

Recently however, many foreigners (who previously wouldn’t have given second thought to investing their savings in the US) were burned with what they thought were “can’t-lose” investments and the falling dollar has exacerbated their losses… I imagine it will take a long, long time for many to forget the deliberate deceptions that led to their losses and I expect to soon see a large portion of these massive savings inflows diminish.

The eventual loss of this foreign savings component, when coupled with the seizure in global credit markets and increasing financial write-downs/losses, has a good chance of snowballing into a major crisis that could potentially impact each and every one of us in a very serious way.

Some feel the final endgame to our party of excess will be hyperinflationary in nature, whereas others fear a future of stagflation or hyper-stagflation; many more feel deflation and depression will result (personally, I think it will be a combination of the above), but regardless, whatever the outcome, I think we can all agree that it has the potential to be very bad.

With that said and understanding that major change is on the horizon, what can we expect the social implications to be? Almost certainly, consumer spending will fall and layoffs will increase but will we eventually see:


Banking runs

Food Lines

Widespread homelessness of entire families


Food Shortages

Riots/Upheaval

Social Chaos


I don’t think any of us really know, but depending on the severity of the situation, I imagine absolutely anything is possible.

Last January, as food-for-thought, I wrote a couple of articles that touched on some of these issues in a little more detail. I hope you have the time to read.

The first one Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the U.S. Economy discusses our five levels of shared basic human needs and how, (w/Katrina as an example) when man has lost all hope and becomes desperate to feed his family, survival becomes the dominant need -- nothing remains sacred... Ethics, Values, Morals and the social fabric of society is thrown out the window.


The second post, American Wake Up Call! discusses my view of America's future. I personally believe we will encounter significant struggles for the next 20-30 years, but think this hardship will make us a better people and the decades of struggle will be followed by a stronger nation.


I hope this info helps you to ponder what our future could potentially hold and assists you in any effort that (1) you may take to secure your family’s future and (2) you may take to help us become a better Nation.

Best regards
Randy

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59 Comments:

At 1/01/2008 11:10 PM, Blogger Gary Near Death Valley said...

I live out in Pahrump and was following the national stories on the real estate market, then following the information concerning the Las Vegas area market,,,,,,then I put some property up for sale. This was over a year ago, and the real estate broker told me that the price of land had gone up 100% in a year, and I told him, it was time to sell as the market was getting ready to go away. He said,,,,,,,,,nah!. I sold mine,,,,and he is stuck with many construction houses he built and in fact heard they are renting instead of selling.
When in 2008, the American public begin to realize that we are indeed entering a deep recession (or depression), the screams will be heard all over the canyon walls. And it will be too late for many.....far to late!

 
At 1/02/2008 5:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's more semantics than disagreement, but the 'savings' from foreign sources you wrote of may well be the excess cash flow or gross profits from business transactions completeed in dollars. Perhaps the SWF's are the primary source of these dollars. This has been reported.

And these sources of funding of our debt will dry up as central bankers seek other venues to park money.

When an entity, be it a government or private corporation or well heeled individual needs to 'do something' with their money (wealth) the 'safest' in terms of least amount of risk has tended to be treasuries or T-bills or some other permutation of same. This risk is no longer low. It is growing and large amounts of wealth are being erased as the dollar drops to a new low. (Speaking of which, the dollar is in the process of creating a head-and-shoulders pattern).

And while you write well, providing a cogent analysis, it's a bit too facile to suggest that some combination of outcomes is the most likely.

Let's face it, in the words of the Mogambo: 'We're freaking doomed!'

 
At 1/02/2008 5:25 AM, Blogger contrarian2day said...

Thanks for posting up!

Gary,

Glad you listened to you gut and were able to unload. Yes, I remember the crazy runup in Pahrump. It seemed to Lag Vegas by ~ 8-12 months as folks moved out of the Valley seeking affordability.

Anon 05:01,

I think your on T-bills is correct--No longer low risk; which is part of the problem.

Regarding my "facile" suggestion of combined outcomes.

I have stated before in other posts: "If we are fortunate enough to evade a complete systemic banking failure, I think the tools used (printing presses and helicopters) will force us into a Hyperstagflationary environment (Hyperinflationary consumer price inflation combined with slow-to-no output growth, rising unemployment, and recession) This should allow us to muddle through until ~ 2010, but unfortuantely I don't think the "Big D" can be avoided forever. My bet is: 2011/2012."

 
At 1/02/2008 9:16 AM, Blogger Deborah said...

Scary pictures...

 
At 1/02/2008 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When big money is "lost" someone, somewhere gains. I've heard that's what new money is; old money that got away. I share your sense that financial doom is on the horizon and it may well bring dramatic change to our social fabric. But what I want to know is the hour of the tide and who gains?

 
At 1/02/2008 11:35 AM, Blogger Stray Wolf said...

Economic implosions are engineered. They are designed to bring about desired socio-economic changes and therefore change the status quo that we, the sheeple, consider 'normal'.

The last paradigm shift occurred as we careened through the decades between WWI and WII...

Not just social unrest and upheaval, but a global war will be what we shall be facing.

Good blog.

 
At 1/02/2008 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ist anon here--we agree, especially about the total systemic failure of the banking system. This if is looming. And the image in the mirror may well be larger than it appears.

Here's an interesting link to the FDIC website:

http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2007/pr07106.html

Seems, the largest to date failure was in Georgia last year with some 175,000 accounts to deal with. They (the FDIC) are contemplating the need for handling a major bank failure, including actions for FOREX sweep accounts, foreign branches, OMIGOD! We really are freaking doomed!

Cheers! Look forward to reading more.

 
At 1/02/2008 3:05 PM, Blogger Carl said...

Anonymous said...
Here's an interesting link to the FDIC website:

http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2007/pr07106.html

Thanks for the link, good to know that someone is thinking about how to deal with this increasingly likely event. Now if we can just get the rest of the regulators who let this stuff happen (optionARM's to subprime borrowers!!!) to start doing their jobs maybe we can stop the continuing damage.

 
At 1/02/2008 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may not like what they are contemplating. And you may or may not be aware of what your rigjhts are.

The FDIC is being proposed to be the one and only authority for un-freezing accounts. Maybe this is how it already is, maybe not. But most don't realize tjhat their insurance is limited to $100,000 (us) per bank. Not per account.

Spread out your George Washingtons!

 
At 1/02/2008 8:33 PM, Blogger contrarian2day said...

Agree, FDIC is was not set up to handle widespread banking failures and less than 5% of all money is available in currency form--the rest are ones and zeros on a hard-drive somewhere.

Another potential issue related to banks is having unfettered access to your Safety Deposit Box during any emergency--financial or otherwise.

http://economicrot.blogspot.com/2006/01/bank-safe-deposit-boxes-has-anyone.html

Relevant snippets from a BOA Safe Deposit Box rental agreement:

SECURE LOCK SELF-SERVICE SAFE DEPOSIT BOX RENTAL AGREEMENT; form 00-14-5571NSB (12-2004)

Page 1 of 3 (Hours of Access): "The Bank may deny access at any time in the event of fire, riot or other emergency, or for any other reason when it deems closing prudent or necessary."

Page 2 of 3 (Legal Process): If the bank receives any legal process such as any writ, warrant, process, execution, order, subpoena or other notice... the bank, without incurring any liability to any renter may suspend the right of access by all renters... The bank shall not be held liable for the opening of the box or removal of its contents in obedience to the writ, warrant, subpoena, or court order, nor shall the bank contest the right of any sheriff or other officer authorized to enter the box or to remove its contents under such writ, subpoena, order...

It goes on and on, but after carefully reading over the BOA rental agreement, I honestly believed that Lock-Box access rights could be in jeopardy if a crisis ever happened.

My BOA Lock-box account was closed shortly after that Jan 06post.

 
At 1/02/2008 8:45 PM, Blogger Aktaion said...

Thanks for a good post.

I figured out for myself a couple of years ago that the only way we were going to be able to weasle out of our astronomical debt was to devalue the hell out of our currency and let everything crash and burn for a couple of years.

So sorry to see that it's happening. I was really hoping I was wrong and we'd be able to muddle through.

Oh well. Rip the bandaid off quickly, I guess...

 
At 1/02/2008 8:47 PM, Anonymous 45north said...

The comparison with the American situation is chilling. For all its gross faults, the Soviet Russia was ironically better prepared for economic collapse and political turmoil than we will be. For one thing, all housing there was owned by the state, and allocated under bare nominal rents, so when the economy collapsed, people just stayed in their apartments. Nobody got evicted. There was scant private car ownership in pre-1990 Russia, so gasoline allocation problems did not paralyze movement. Train service was excellent and cheap, and the cities all had a rich matrix of underground metros, on-street electric trams, and trolley-buses, which continued to run even when central authority flickered out. There was no suburban sprawl to strand and isolate people (in homes owned by banks, that can be taken away after the third monthly failure to make a mortgage payment).
http://www.kunstler.com/
above is an excerpt from Dimitry Orlov's book to be published soon

 
At 1/03/2008 12:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your pixs reflect the past, those people were the on the middle to lower rung of the ladder (blue collar assembly/mfg). Those jobs are already gone and the people who did them for the most part have moved on to other low paying endeavors (both partners working to makeup lost wages).

So where does that leave us?

The stage is set for the young college professional (24 to 40yr olds) to now go through the next wave of corporate change. They have been indoctrinated (bullshited) into the "it can't happen to me/us" mentality. Their jobs will be outsourced at ten times the speed of the past, they will be thrown out in the streets with no marketable job skills, a fortunate few will be able to relocate to another country for work (at a 75% wage reduction). The rest will be left to ponder how could this happen, professor Peadbody didn't mention this, WTF!

Hang on it's going to get a little bumpy going over the rapids.

And what’s the financial news of the day?

The over leveraged, insolvent major banks are going to band together and challenge the Chicago Merc Exchange by starting a new exchange to try and siphon of some easy/quick operating capital.

With their impeccable reputations for complete and total transparency it should be a cakewalk! (where have I heard that before?)

WHAT A JOKE!

Cheers, drink up!

 
At 1/03/2008 2:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not challenging your statement--'less than 5% of all money is available in currency form--the rest are ones and zeros on a hard-drive somewhere'.

But, could you source this for me please? It's interesting enough for me to want to dig a bit deeper.

Thanks.

 
At 1/03/2008 6:05 AM, Blogger contrarian2day said...

Anon 2:37:

I've read about the issue several times in several places but here is one source:

http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/dollar-deception.php

It has been called "the most astounding piece of sleight of hand ever invented." The creation of money has been privatized, usurped from Congress by a private banking cartel. Most people think money is issued by fiat by the government, but that is not the case. Except for coins, which compose only about one one-thousandth of the total U.S. money supply, all of our money is now created by banks. Federal Reserve Notes (dollar bills) are issued by the Federal Reserve, a private banking corporation, and lent to the government.1 Moreover, Federal Reserve Notes and coins together compose less than 3 percent of the money supply. The other 97 percent is created by commercial banks as loans.2

Another from the Fed:

http://www.newyorkfed.org/aboutthefed/fedpoint/fed01.html

There is about $820 billion dollars of U.S. currency in circulation; the majority is held outside the United States.


Summary: M3 is currently greater than $12 Trillion and $820 Billion is available in currency--most of which is outside our borders, so lets say $400B is available here in the US.

$12T/$400B= 3.3% cash available

regards

Randy

 
At 1/03/2008 6:17 AM, Anonymous Hanover said...

The bogeyman Osama Bin Laden is being used to scare off the 6 GCC Countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) from dropping their currency-Dollar peg.

The current USDollar peg (which applies to 5/6 of the Gulf states - Kuwait dropped the direct dollar peg in May 2007) is causing massive inflationary pressures in these Gulf Countries. In the Emirates for example, inflation is running so high the government has recently given all federal employees a 70% pay increase!

Now using Bin Laden to dissuade the dropping of the peg (as he has been used to facilitate other US scams) smacks of running scared....

 
At 1/03/2008 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the link

keep writing, enjoying the repartee

 
At 1/03/2008 5:53 PM, Blogger contrarian2day said...

Thanks to all for posting up--really makes the Blog worthwhile to know others are interested and appreciative.

Sometimes it may take me a while to reply--with a full-time job and all, so my apologies for anyone who expects swift retorts.

Hanover,

Yes, I'm aware of the dollar Peg issue and the implications are massive. I've touched on it briefly in the past, but plan to delve into the topic further w/future writings.

My previous comment in Inflation or Hyperinfaltion:

Additionally, for decades now, many foreign countries have pegged their currencies to the US Dollar, but recent inflation increases, internal to their domestic economies, is becoming far too severe for them to handle (with the dollar peg, they have to print money as fast as we do, and it is stoking inflation), therefore several countries have started a new trend of depegging.

Recently, Vietnam, Qatar and Kuwait have depegged, while a host of others are in line to do the same. When this depeg happens on a larger scale (not if, but when) inflation within our borders will SCREAM. Why? Well, as they de-link from the dollar, their currencies become stronger causing our import costs to increase Commensurately (e.g. Oil, consumer goods, etc).

Regards to all

Randy

 
At 1/04/2008 3:41 AM, Anonymous Hanover said...

Randy,

Thanks for your response.

May I point out another incongruity that I have never seen any article explore or explain?

I subscribe to the theory that the current US military war situations (Iraq etc.) are about oil, & more specifically maintaining the use of the US Dollar as the fiat/hegemonic currency used to buy/sell oil.

We know that Iraq had/has a lot of oil reserves – some reports state the second largest proven oil reserves in the world behind Saudia Arabia.

Looking at the history of the Iraqi Dinar (from: bankintroductions.com), the historical value of the Iraqi Dinar against the US Dollar is as follows:

1947 – 1 Iraqi Dinar quoted at $4.86 USD .
1970 – 1 Iraqi Dinar quoted at $2.80 USD
1973 - 1 Iraqi Dinar quoted at $3.39 USD
1982 onwards - official rate quoted as 1 Iraqi Dinar worth $3.22 USD (this value was pegged, including during the Iran Iraq War, which lasted between September 1980 to August 1988.

Iraqi Dinar currency printed before the first Gulf War (1991)was often called the Swiss dinar. It got its name from the Swiss printing technology that produced banknotes of a higher quality than those later produced under the economic sanctions imposed by the US.

Between October 15, 2003 and January 15, 2004, following the US invasion of Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority issued the new Iraqi dinar (printed by British company De La Rue). Defective quality (i.e. non-Swiss) dinars (i.e. those produced under the sanctions) were exchanged for new dinars at a one-to-one rate, while original (Swiss) dinars were exchanged at a rate of 150 new dinars for one Swiss dinar. Therefore the Iraqi Dinars produced under the crippling US led sanctions devalued the Iraqi currency to 1/150 or 0.67% of its previous value.

If a comparison is made with respect to the New Iraqi Dinar previous value, one must factor the 150:1 devaluation figure in. So the value of 1 New Iraqi (De La Rue) Dinar in dollars was (pre-war & embargo) =$3.22/150)=$0.021467.

The present value of 1 New Iraqi (De La Rue) Dinar is $1USD to 1216 New Iraqi (De La Rue) Dinar ie 1/1216=$.000822.

So the ratio of comparison of previous (pre-war & embargo) Iraqi Dinar to the current Iraqi Dinar is therefore $0.000822/$0.21467 = 0.38% of previous value.

Now the Iraq currency, with all that natural (oil) wealth is now worth 0.38% of its original value?

I believe that that Iraqi natural wealth has been capitulated to help prop up the US Dollar.

There is an essay that states that this oil currency mechanism was the real reason for the US invasion of Iraq, and as Iran has stated its intentions to drop the US Dollar for its oil sales, - this is again the real reason for the US aggravation towards Iran!

I’d be interested in others thoughts.

thanks

 
At 1/04/2008 8:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: Iraqi Dinars

It's good to be the king!

Did somebody at the table call for a shuffle? Or maybe a new deck?

I remember the talking head optimists gushing about twelve and twelve after the mission accomplished speech. Twelve dollar oil. Right, now all we have to do is 'fix' the dollar and make it so.

 
At 1/07/2008 2:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Right, now all we have to do is 'fix' the dollar and make it so.'

How does one fix the dollar??

Something that does need fixing is the US Public Debt, which currently stands at over 9 Trillion US Dollars. Each US citizen's share of this debt is over $30,000.

 
At 1/07/2008 7:18 PM, Blogger contrarian2day said...

Anon 2:23, Re.Your Comment:

How does one fix the dollar??

Bottom Line: We Can't! The Fed has already sacrificed the dollar in lieu of our financial system and it is FAR too late for any dollar fix.

Though Greenspan has won accolades around the Globe, HE is directly/personally responsible for this mess we're in and I truly believe when history is rewritten, many will see through the B/S charades and his name will be synonymous for Fed policy failure.

With that said, Bernanke is no different and he is catering to Paulson and the rest of the Wallstreet Rats, so I don't think we will ever see him grow the Cojones required to restore the dollar back to its prominance. It would take drastic actions such as those made by Paul Volker many years ago.

As for Public Debt: As long as our politicians are held unaccountable, nothing will change.

Thanks for posting up!

 
At 1/10/2008 4:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the beginning of the Iraq war, the UN entrusted $23bn of Iraqi money to the US-led coalition to redevelop the country. With the infrastructure of the country still in ruins, where has all that money gone? Callum Macrae and Ali Fadhil on one of the greatest financial scandals of all time

Monday March 20, 2006, The Guardian


In a dilapidated maternity and paediatric hospital in Diwaniyah, 100 miles south of Baghdad, Zahara and Abbas, premature twins just two days old, lie desperately ill. The hospital has neither the equipment nor the drugs that could save their lives. On the other side of the world, in a federal courthouse in Virginia, US, two men - one a former CIA agent and Republican candidate for Congress, the other a former army ranger - are found guilty of fraudulently obtaining $3m (£1.7m) intended for the reconstruction of Iraq. These two events have no direct link, but they are none the less products of the same thing: a financial scandal that in terms of sheer scale must rank as one of the greatest in history.
At the start of the Iraq war, around $23bn-worth of Iraqi money was placed in the trusteeship of the US-led coalition by the UN. The money, known as the Development Fund for Iraq and consisting of the proceeds of oil sales, frozen Iraqi bank accounts and seized Iraqi assets, was to be used in a "transparent manner", specified the UN, for "purposes benefiting the people of Iraq".

For the past few months we have been working on a Guardian Films investigation into what happened to that money. What we discovered was that a great deal of it has been wasted, stolen or frittered away. For the coalition, it has been a catastrophe of its own making. For the Iraqi people, it has been a tragedy. But it is also a financial and political scandal that runs right to the heart of the nightmare that is engulfing Iraq today.

Diwaniyah is a sprawling and neglected city with just one small state paediatric and maternity hospital to serve its one million people. Years of war, corruption under Saddam and western sanctions have reduced the hospital to penury, so when last year the Americans promised total refurbishment, the staff were elated. But the renovation has been partial and the work often shoddy, and where it really matters - funding frontline health care - there appears to have been little change at all.

In the corridor, an anxious father who has been told his son may have meningitis is berating the staff. "I want a good hospital, not a terrible hospital that makes my child worse," he says. But then he calms down. "I'm not blaming you, we are the same class. I'm talking about important people. Those controlling all those millions and the oil. They didn't come here to save us from Saddam, they came here for the oil, and so now the oil is stolen and we got nothing from it." Beside him another parent, a woman, agrees: "If the people who run the country are stealing the money, what can we do?" For these ordinary Iraqis, it is clear that the country's wealth is being managed in much the same way as it ever was. How did it all go so wrong?

When the coalition troops arrived in Iraq, they were received with remarkable goodwill by significant sections of the population. The coalition had control up to a point and, perhaps more importantly, it had the money to consolidate that goodwill by rebuilding Iraq, or at least make a significant start. Best of all for the US and its allies, the money came from the Iraqis themselves.

Because the Iraqi banking system was in tatters, the funds were placed in an account with the Federal Reserve in New York. From there, most of the money was flown in cash to Baghdad. Over the first 14 months of the occupation, 363 tonnes of new $100 bills were shipped in - $12bn, in cash. And that is where it all began to go wrong.

"Iraq was awash in cash - in dollar bills. Piles and piles of money," says Frank Willis, a former senior official with the governing Coalition Provisional Authority. "We played football with some of the bricks of $100 bills before delivery. It was a wild-west crazy atmosphere, the likes of which none of us had ever experienced."

The environment created by the coalition positively encouraged corruption. "American law was suspended, Iraqi law was suspended, and Iraq basically became a free fraud zone," says Alan Grayson, a Florida-based attorney who represents whistleblowers now trying to expose the corruption. "In a free fire zone you can shoot at anybody you want. In a free fraud zone you can steal anything you like. And that was what they did."

A good example was the the Iraqi currency exchange programme (Ice). An early priority was to devote enormous resources to replacing every single Iraqi dinar showing Saddam's face with new ones that didn't. The contract to help distribute the new currency was won by Custer Battles, a small American security company set up by Scott Custer and former Republican Congressional candidate Mike Battles. Under the terms of the contract, they would invoice the coalition for their costs and charge 25% on top as profit. But Custer Battles also set up fake companies to produce inflated invoices, which were then passed on to the Americans. They might have got away with it, had they not left a copy of an internal spreadsheet behind after a meeting with coalition officials.

The spreadsheet showed the company's actual costs in one column and their invoiced costs in another; it revealed, in one instance, that it had charged $176,000 to build a helipad that actually cost $96,000. In fact, there was no end to Custer Battles' ingenuity. For example, when the firm found abandoned Iraqi Airways fork-lifts sitting in Baghdad airport, it resprayed them and rented them to the coalition for thousands of dollars. In total, in return for $3m of actual expenditure, Custer Battles invoiced for $10m. Perhaps more remarkable is that the US government, once it knew about the scam, took no legal action to recover the money. It has been left to private individuals to pursue the case, the first stage of which concluded two weeks ago when Custer Battles was ordered to pay more than $10m in damages and penalties.

But this is just one story among many. From one US controlled vault in a former Saddam palace, $750,000 was stolen. In another, a safe was left open. In one case, two American agents left Iraq without accounting for nearly $1.5m.

Perhaps most puzzling of all is what happened as the day approached for the handover of power (and the remaining funds) to the incoming Iraqi interim government. Instead of carefully conserving the Iraqi money for the new government, the Coalition Provisional Authority went on an extraordinary spending spree. Some $5bn was committed or spent in the last month alone, very little of it adequately accounted for.

One CPA official was given nearly $7m and told to spend it in seven days. "He told our auditors that he felt that there was more emphasis on the speed of spending the money than on the accountability for that money," says Ginger Cruz, the deputy inspector general for Iraqi reconstruction. Not all coalition officials were so honest. Last month Robert Stein Jr, employed as a CPA comptroller in south central Iraq, despite a previous conviction for fraud, pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal more than $2m and taking kickbacks in the form of cars, jewellery, cash and sexual favours. It seems certain he is only the tip of the iceberg. There are a further 50 criminal investigations under way.

Back in Diwaniyah it is a story about failure and incompetence, rather than fraud and corruption. Zahara and Abbas, born one and a half months premature, are suffering from respiratory distress syndrome and are desperately ill. The hospital has just 14 ancient incubators, held together by tape and wire.

Zahara is in a particularly bad way. She needs a ventilator and drugs to help her breathe, but the hospital has virtually nothing. Her father has gone into town to buy vitamin K on the black market, which he has been told his children will need. Zahara starts to deteriorate and in desperation the doctor holds a tube pumping unregulated oxygen against the child's nostrils. "This treatment is worse than primitive," he says. "It's not even medicine." Despite his efforts, the little girl dies; the next day her brother also dies. Yet with the right equipment and the right drugs, they could have survived.

How is it possible that after three years of occupation and billions of dollars of spending, hospitals are still short of basic supplies? Part of the cause is ideological tunnel-vision. For months before the war the US state department had been drawing up plans for the postwar reconstruction, but those plans were junked when the Pentagon took over.

To supervise the reconstruction of the Iraqi health service, the Pentagon appointed James Haveman, a former health administrator from Michigan. He was also a loyal Bush supporter, who had campaigned for Jeb Bush, and a committed evangelical Christian. But he had virtually no experience in international health work.

The coalition's health programme was by any standards a failure. Basic equipment and drugs should have been distributed within months - the coalition wouldn't even have had to pay for it. But they missed that chance, not just in health, but in every other area of life in Iraq. As disgruntled Iraqis will often point out, despite far greater devastation and crushing sanctions, Saddam did more to rebuild Iraq in six months after the first Gulf war than the coalition has managed in three years.

Kees Reitfield, a health professional with 20 years' experience in post-conflict health care from Kosovo to Somalia, was in Iraq from the very beginning of the war and looked on in astonishment at the US management in its aftermath. "Everybody in Iraq was ready for three months' chaos," he says. "They had water for three months, they had food for three months, they were ready to wait for three months. I said, we've got until early August to show an improvement, some drugs in the health centres, some improvement of electricity in the grid, some fuel prices going down. Failure to deliver will mean civil unrest." He was right.

Of course, no one can say that if the Americans had got the reconstruction right it would have been enough. There were too many other mistakes as well, such as a policy of crude "deBa'athification" that saw Iraqi expertise marginalised, the creation of a sectarian government and the Americans attempting to foster friendship with Iraqis who themselves had no friends among other Iraqis.

Another experienced health worker, Mary Patterson - who was eventually asked to leave Iraq by James Haveman - characterises the Coalition's approach thus: "I believe it had a lot to do with showing that the US was in control," she says. "I believe that it had to do with rewarding people that were politically loyal. So rather than being a technical agenda, I believe it was largely a politically motivated reward-and-punishment kind of agenda."

Which sounds like the way Saddam used to run the country. "If you were to interview Iraqis today about what they see day to day," she says, "I think they will tell you that they don't see a lot of difference".

 
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At 9/19/2015 12:03 AM, Blogger Ana Rica said...


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At 9/29/2015 8:25 AM, Blogger Andrea Marquez said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns, Company and Corporation Tax advice, Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy Services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money, reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services: http://vpassociates.com/

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At 9/29/2015 8:55 AM, Blogger Capital Gains Tax advice said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns, Company and Corporation Tax advice, Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy Services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money, reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services: http://vpassociates.com/

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At 9/29/2015 8:20 PM, Blogger Abbie Montrose said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns, Company and Corporation Tax advice, Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy Services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money, reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services: http://vpassociates.com/

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At 9/30/2015 9:10 AM, Blogger lichy mem said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns, Company and Corporation Tax advice, Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy Services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money, reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services: http://vpassociates.com/

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At 9/30/2015 9:44 AM, Blogger Alice Goodwin said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns, Company and Corporation Tax advice, Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy Services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money, reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services: http://vpassociates.com/

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At 9/30/2015 7:12 PM, Blogger Amy Reid said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns, Company and Corporation Tax advice, Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy Services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money, reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services: http://vpassociates.com/

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At 9/30/2015 10:04 PM, Blogger Accountants Redhill said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns, Company and Corporation Tax advice, Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy Services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money, reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services: http://vpassociates.com/

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At 10/01/2015 8:14 AM, Blogger Capital Gains Tax advice said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns, Company and Corporation Tax advice, Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy Services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money, reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services: http://vpassociates.com/

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At 10/01/2015 9:56 AM, Blogger Accountants Redhill said...

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At 10/01/2015 9:56 PM, Blogger lichy mem said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns,Company and Corporation Tax advice,Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money,reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services :http://vpassociates.com/
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At 10/02/2015 1:24 AM, Blogger Accountants Redhill said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns,Company and Corporation Tax advice,Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money,reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services :http://vpassociates.com/

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At 10/02/2015 10:15 AM, Blogger Amy Reid said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns,Company and Corporation Tax advice,Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money,reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services :http://vpassociates.com/

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At 10/02/2015 10:13 PM, Blogger Capital Gains Tax advice said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns, Company and Corporation Tax advice, Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy Services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money, reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services: http://vpassociates.com/

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At 10/03/2015 3:38 AM, Blogger lichy mem said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns, Company and Corporation Tax advice, Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy Services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money, reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services: http://vpassociates.com/

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At 10/03/2015 5:09 AM, Blogger Amy Reid said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns, Company and Corporation Tax advice, Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy Services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money, reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services: http://vpassociates.com/

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At 10/03/2015 8:05 AM, Blogger Accountants Redhill said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns, Company and Corporation Tax advice, Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy Services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money, reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services: http://vpassociates.com/

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At 10/03/2015 8:23 PM, Blogger Capital Gains Tax advice said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns, Company and Corporation Tax advice, Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy Services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money, reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services: http://vpassociates.com/

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At 10/04/2015 1:56 AM, Blogger lichy mem said...

V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors and Chartered Certified Accountants, represent an authoritative source on most aspects of tax and specialise in the following: Self-Assessment Tax advice, Self Employed Tax Returns, Company and Corporation Tax advice, Capital Gains Tax advice, Buy-To-Let Property Tax advice, Tax Planning and Tax Consultancy Services. With over 25 years of experience in the business of providing expert tax advice, V P Associates Chartered Tax Advisors offer valuable information to clients to help them save money, reduce and mitigate tax. V P Associates, Chartered Tax Advisors & Chartered Certified Accountants, are the first and foremost specialists in taxation matters. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of services: http://vpassociates.com/

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At 12/06/2015 7:04 AM, Blogger Beatrice Prochaszka said...

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At 12/06/2015 10:05 AM, Blogger Bianca Beauchamp said...

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At 6/16/2016 8:27 PM, Blogger Kushtia71 said...


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At 8/11/2016 8:42 PM, Blogger Bianca Beauchamp said...

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At 7/20/2017 8:04 AM, Blogger Tax Advisors said...

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