From the 1980s forward we have seen merger mania. Where virtually all areas of economic activity have gotten increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Along with the mergers, has been a growing wave of political support (both neo-conservative and neo-liberal) for unfettered capitalism has grown and (hopefully) crested. It is now clear that the unfettered capitalism is supported only to maximize the extraction of wealth (from people and nations) and that any losses will be "socialized" back onto those same victims.
Now the economic leviathan players are eating each other up, with an assist from that self-same "neo" government. JP Morgan gets an assist from the Fed (a private company backed by U.S. tax payers) to purchase Bear Stearns, The Fannie and Freddie are brought back under federal control. Then we have the sinking of Lehman, and Bank of America buying Merrill Lynch. Now American International Group (AIG) is receiving a massive bailout from the Treasury,
It is very interesting that the word "nationalize" (in the case of Freddie, Fannie, and AIG) is apparently prohibited. I guarantee you that if Chavez, Morales, or one of a hundred other presidents, took such moves they would be soundly decried by both the U.S. government and its lapdog media.
The question remains whose pockets Fannie, Freddie, and perhaps AIG, will ultimately end up in.
Meanwhile, those mega-financiers who remain standing when the economic tsunami has ultimately passed will definitely be even more concentrated than the current elites are. Of course, this means that it will be even more important to "protect their interests" in terms of profit-making, and ensure they will not fail (with common people's money). Now the plan is floating for the U.S. government to take over all of the "bad" debt. Thereby relieving the crooks of the burden of their actions.
People should be very glad that the Republicans were not able to privatize social security. As is clear from the collapse unfolding before our eyes, those savings would have gone up in smoke regardless of how savvy individual investors are. However, I would not be surprised to see the plan floated again as it would bring a massive cash infusion into Wall Street - a move that would light up the eyes of the financiers.
What we are seeing is the effects of unfettered capitalism. The mantra of the neo-conservatives and Friedmanites is to let "markets" run unchecked by oversight and limitations. The results of that is the unfettered expropriation of wealth and resources. When money and profit are the only consideration, then life (individual's and the planet's) is not even on the radar screen. This was indirectly reinforced by McCain's recent repetition of "the fundamental of the economy are strong." When he tried to elaborate on that, he said that the "fundamentals" he was referring to were the hard work and ingenuity of the U.S. workforce. What that translates into is that the workforce is still there for exploitation.