“Mum, it’s raining cats and dogs, but you can’t see it from this angle” (copyright my 7 year old, 3 days ago).
I’ll start again. You can really see the cultural difference between the USA and the UK in America’s response to the imminent collapse of one of its biggest banks, Bear Sterns: within a day another bank, JP Morgan, had bought it up at a knock down price, with all the mortgage liability guaranteed by the Fed. In this way confidence in the banking system could be maintained more easily.
In the UK, by contrast, Northern Rock threatened to collapse last September, and the government moved quickly to guarantee people’s savings, but apart from that there has been a long saga, with no-one quite knowing what to do with Northern Rock, until a few weeks ago the government eventually nationalised it, with the intention of one day de-nationalising it.
I admire the American ability to respond fast and decisively. In World War II, it took them 90 days to get from a fighter plane blueprint to having it rolling off the production line. But I think this ability also has a human cost, and I'd rather live in laid-back Europe.
Cultural differences apart, all this is a manifestation of Pluto’s move into Capricorn: if you like, fundamental change (Pluto) in the banking system (Capricorn); or a new financial era (Pluto changing sign, and Pluto rules wealth) characterised by restraint and coming down to earth (Capricorn).
As Pluto moved into Capricorn in January, the markets went into turmoil; as Pluto has begun standing still (stationing) this month, ready to change direction, its influence has become stronger, the pressure for necessary change has become ever more intense, and a major US bank has collapsed. It has been like clockwork.
Because we are dealing with Pluto, it means the ‘problems’ have hardly started. Pluto does not tinker around, he wants full-scale change with nothing left over; no remnant of the old binge era of Pluto in Sag will remain by the time he has finished. What we are seeing now in the markets can only deepen until a new paradigm begins to emerge. Pluto’s coming retrograde motion will, I think, start to address these issues: but because Pluto also goes back into Sag, there may also be a lot of clinging to the old paradigm, an attempt to get back to the years of easy credit and reckless consumer borrowing, which have in fact ended for good.