Events usually come about through a complex of causes, and the current global financial crisis, which is tipping over into a full-blown recession, is no exception. But it’s still interesting to try and identify key causes, or even one big bad cause to point the finger at!
I was just listening to Robert Peston on BBC News, and his take is this: the problem was that in the West we borrowed too much, and the reason we did this was because of the big surpluses being made by countries in Asia and the Middle East, as well as Russia. We borrowed that money at low interest rates, and that fuelled for example a housing boom, and then people would borrow even more against the inflated value of their houses. And then there were the dodgy sub-prime loans and so on.
In George Bush’s pithier summation, “Wall St got drunk.”
Much of this occurred during the recent Saturn-Neptune opposition, which symbolically describes the phenomenon well. Loss (Neptune) of common sense (Saturn). Borrowing (Neptune) that is not financially sound (Saturn).
My opinion, if we are going to look for a fundamental cause rather than a complex causality, something to point the finger at, is free-market fundamentalism. The excessive borrowing came out of the blind refusal to regulate that this ideology led to. This is what the current Saturn-Uranus opposition is addressing. A reality check (Saturn) on ideology (Uranus). The opposition also works the other way round: the disruption (Uranus) of an outdated system (Saturn).
Any system or society needs regulating, and it kind of surprises me that our system was called ‘free-market’ given how much regulation and protectionism there was anyway. I suppose it’s a relative term. From the end of WWII until the early 70s there was more regulation than there is now, which had arisen partly as an attempt to avoid a repeat of the Great Depression of the 1930s. It worked, inasmuch as there was a worldwide boom for 30 years.
Cracks began to appear in this system in the late 60s (after the last Saturn-Uranus opposition: Uranus again disrupting an outdated system), and in the early 70s a global recession began under the last Saturn-Neptune opposition.
The increased emphasis on deregulation and free markets of the 1980s onwards was a response to these difficulties, and it worked for many years. Because it worked, it became an ideology, economists began to treat it as an absolute truth. This is also described by Pluto in Sagittarius.
I tend to think it’s easier to understand things by thinking pragmatically and disinterestedly, rather than in terms of theories and value-judgements. The economy is such a huge, complex and unpredictable beast that the small human brain can never hope to get it right. We just have to do what works for now. Sometimes more regulation will be needed, and sometimes less will be needed. That seems to be the cycle. Saturn and Uranus will tell us when. But if economists and politicians were able to be less ideological, less attached to their economic positions, the transition could be a lot less painful.
I suppose I am now starting to argue against human nature! Which is why we need Saturn-Uranus in all sorts of ways. We get into ways of doing things, ways of being, initially because they work for us (positive Saturn), but then they become entrenched habits and sources of security (negative Saturn) and we need Uranus to disrupt that. If you like, a fixed attitude (Saturn) contains the seeds of its own downfall because it is no longer able to adapt to changing conditions (Uranus).