The ecology of global Capital is in crisis, having fallen out of equilibrium with the recession. Currents of consumer credit have ebbed nigh unto stagnation, and the small fry of the world market have been disappearing at such a clip that the the big fish of the world’s economy, intransigent in their irrepressible appetites, have resorted to preying on each another.
The latest incident of oligarch-bites-oligarch comes to us from the oil-rich sands of Saudi Arabia, where two of that country’s most powerful families are locked in mortal combat, the UK Telegraph reports. Maan Al Sanea, boss-man of the Saad Group, stands accused of “embezzling $9.2bn from one of Saudi Arabia’s most powerful families, the Algosaibis, as part of a complicated and increasingly bitter legal legal row between the two dynasties.” Moody’s has made a move to withdraw their coverage of Saad, citing inadequate information. I guess adjustors at the famous insurance underwriter get the sense that there’s no telling when the boom is going to go bust.
Al Sanea claims he is being used as a scapegoat by the Algosaibis to cover losses sustained during the economic meltdown. Adding to the strife is that fact that the Saad Group currently finds itself short on funds, thanks to the Algosaibis. Via the Wall Street Job Report comes this Reuters story, which reports that “[a] Cayman Islands court has frozen $9.2 billion of assets belonging to Saad Group, the Saudi Arabian investment firm at the center of a financial storm, including some of its equity stakes outside the Gulf.” The asset freezing comes as a result of a complaint made by the Algosaibis, who, like Al Sanea, are in deep doo-doo with creditors. Offshore banking just isn’t what it used to be.
What Al Sanea alleges may very well be true, but what’s more remarkable is we’re beginning to see that without any multimillionaires to prey upon, billionaires are starting to plunder one another. The Telegraph reports that the case represents “a rare public rift in the normally tight family and financial relations in the Middle East.” This comes as no surprise to some, however: financial commentators Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert knew all along this would happen. Over at maxkeiser.com, Herbert comments, “Well, we did say it would be billionaire vs. millionaire. All the millionaires have been pretty much wiped out (though, most don’t realize it yet); that leaves the billionaires to defraud each other.”
Yes, indeed. Such Olympian rifts among the super-rich seem like they’ll become the new normal, giving the lie to the incredible esprit de coeur and sense of shared purpose writer David Rothkopf credits them with in his depressing, dispiriting paean to plutocracy, Superclass. It appears that those “differently sheltered” populating tent cities and Hoovervilles across this great nation, those who are otherwise occupied with stirring watery pots of squirrel soup over fires fueled by shredded 401K-earnings and Social Security statements, can look forward to a little old-fashioned skullduggery among the sheikhs of Araby.
And what happens when the billionaires have consumed one another, when they’ve drained their respective reserves with swindles and lawsuits and good ol’ fashioned backstabbing? Chances are a juicy new bubble will be well on its way to fat orbicularity by then, pregnant with another batch of downy, wide-eyed, overnight millionaires.
Despair not, hegemons, dinner’s right around the corner!