Before the Neoliberalism virus took hold ‘ Finance ‘ wasn’t a subject at all . It was finance as the dictionary defined it : the management of money by government or business, or the funding of a person or a business . Simple. But beginning in the 1980’s the Neoliberalism virus with the assistance of politicians in the UK and US started to spread rapidly and aided and abetted by the computer infected those institutions that had developed over centuries to serve a useful purpose. The stock exchange was first, followed by the banks and building societies with the result that new forms of the disease emerged. Of all these new forms , derivatives and other esoteric financial ‘ innovations ‘ the one that almost everyone has heard of but no-one knows what it is, is the hedge-fund.
A hedge fund is a group of rich people getting together to look for opportunities to rape and pillage financially. They ‘ invest ‘ in anything : land, real estate, currencies, stocks ; the aim being to maximise profits and minimise risks. No potential opportunity to do this is beyond the pale for the worst of the worst of these bandits. Perhaps the very worst one saw an opportunity in recent years to buy up a poor country’s foreign debt for a fraction of its nominal value and then sue the country for the full value. Yes, you read that correctly, and worst still the law enabled the hedge-fund to do it. It’s not hard to imagine how this led to the further impoverishment of the country concerned. Remember what I said about the Neoliberalism virus being lethal. So maybe the Coronavirus will make us ask ourselves ‘ Do we need hedge-funds at all given that they exist only to make very rich people even richer and add nothing of value for everyone else ? ‘